need some camping tips

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by BradK, Aug 2, 2003.

  1. BradK

    BradK Stunt Coordinator

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    Got a new tent and some camping gear, so the wife and I plus our four year old are going to start doing some weekend camping. I need lots of tips though from experienced campers. We still need to get sleeping bags and something to lay on though. What is the best thing to sleep ON for comfort? Air mattreses? If so what do you recommend?
    How about sleeping bags? We'll be camping through to fall and fall can get some pretty chilly nights in these parts. Will cheapo sleeping bags cut it? What would you recommend for nights down to low 30's? More advice the better. Thanks.
     
  2. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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    I'd definitely grab a mummy bag. Not sure if they still call them that because I have not bought camping stuff in years. But those are the ones that have a draw string so the only thing exposed to the air is your face. And definitely get a foam ground mat. Those keep you from freezing your butt off when sleeping. Other than that I never use blow up mattresses, they are too heavy. I only hike in, I never do the drive-the-car-and-camp-out-of-the-back-of-it thing. But with a 4 year old you can't do much more.

    Cheapo sleeping bags will cut it for the fall, but not for November-december. Unless you sleep in full sweats at the bottom of the thing.

    Comfort? Well I'm always pretty comfortable because when you hike all day you fall asleep fast. Sometimes I'll rake up a lot of pine-straw and leaves and put my tent on top of that, but that's as good as it gets.

    The only thing I can't stress enough is to always change every thing you have on to something new when you go to sleep at night. Even if you don't think you are sweating you still do, and you will freeze in the winter.
     
  3. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    I've never been camping but after seeing the movie Deliverance I'd be sure to pack a 9mm Glock just to be safe.


    Jeff
     
  4. JeffTodd

    JeffTodd Stunt Coordinator

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    It's been quite a while since I have been camping, but I will try to offer some advice.

    Sleeping bags - Visit a local camping/outdoors store. For example REI is a very good source of camping equipment here in Texas. Be sure and get a bag that is rated down to whatever the lowest temp you expect...or lower. First hand experience that a cheap bag in cold weather sucks!

    First Aid Kit - Just a good idea in any case.

    Other camping equipment: Lanterns, a way to cook food (coleman stove or camp fire), protection against weather, plenty of water if it is not supplied at the camp site.

    Hope that helps out.
     
  5. Tim Morton

    Tim Morton Stunt Coordinator

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    Depending on the size of your tent, and the amount of stuff you want to bring ( this will be determined mainly by how far from your car the tent site will be) But mainly we go camping in areas where we can park right at our site, and we camp close enough so bring 2 cars is not a problem. That being said I much prefer to bring foam mattress pads--good quality and 2 layers for the kids and 3 or 4 thickness for my ageing bones. Air mattresses take up far less room, but have 2 drawbacks...NOT comfortable and non insulating, so the air inside will get real cold in the middle of the night. Not a problem if you will not be camping in cold weather. When it comes to sleeping bags, i like the cloth fabric ones, as compared to the nylon ones, as they are quieter in the middle of the night, and I just think they are more comfortable. You need a good coleman stove....I have tried both propane and fuel stoves and they both work great...I feel more comfortable with the propane tanks, they will not spill onto your gear during travel. A lantern is a must if you like sitting up at night playing cards or reading. Good quality coolers will keep your food cold...packing the cooler is very critical,,,nothing worse than loose food swimming around in melted icewater and meat juices....oh, and the last thing....set your tent up at home first a couple times to get used to it, nothing ruins a camping trip faster than excess stress getting things set-up...and last but not least...plenty of cold beer is a must, and have that on ice ahead of time, makes the tent setting up go much better!!!
     
  6. BradK

    BradK Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok....great advice, thx all. When you say foam for mattresses, what kind ? The blue stuff that you see, or the yellow kind of foam that is in upholstery, cheap beds etc.? Once again, thanks for the tips.
     
  7. Tim Morton

    Tim Morton Stunt Coordinator

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    The kind of foam you see for sale in the bedding sextion of your local walmart...comes sold in sizes twin- thru king...wait for them to go on sale though.
     
  8. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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    Concerning REI, go there and find what you like, then buy it online somewhere. REI is very overpriced.
     
  9. Kevin-M

    Kevin-M Agent

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    Bring a tarp and some rope, you'll want something to cover your cooking and dining area in case of any sudden showers. Most campsites usually account for this and will have several trees surrounding a picnic table so a tarp can be strung up.

    Make sure to bring things like toilet paper as well. Even though most campsites have washroom facilities, don't count on there always being toilet paper there.

    And if you must bring a gun for personal safety from animals and what not(although I highly do not recommend it), bring something a little heftier than a 9mm. A bullet from that caliber of gun would simply bounce off a bear's skull and make it angrier.
     
  10. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Brad's in Canada so I don't know if he can bring protection with him. A inexpensive recommendation if he could would be the $89 'very good' condition Yugo Mauser http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/Y...e_Package.html . If you miss all 5 rounds you still have the bayonet while you reload.... [​IMG]

    Try www.sportsmansguide.com as they have lots of bargains. You may end up with Czech army cots or French army cook pots, but what the heck....

    If you are going "car camping" get a 5 gallon propane tank and a "tree adaptor" www.sportsmansguide.com/cb/cb.asp?a=70357 so you can run your stove and lantern from it. You may already have a 5 gallon propane tank if you have a gas barbeque. Be careful with the thing and transport it upright, but they are a lot less hassle and cost than those little non-refillable propane bottles.

    What kind of vehicle are you planning to use?
     
  11. Tom McDonald

    Tom McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    Rain Gear, Never fails to rain on one of our outings. Bug Spray, no matter what you do they will be there. 2 coolers, one for food, one for all the cold beer. Hatch and shovel, come in handy when tending the fire. Keep your site clean and the critters will go over to your neighbors.
     
  12. JayV

    JayV Supporting Actor

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    Look into a Sweetie Pie bag doubler.

    -j
     
  13. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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    Or you can go ghetto style and zip two cheapies together.
     
  14. Ray Gutnick

    Ray Gutnick Stunt Coordinator

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    Don't leave your propane lantern on in your tent unless you want to sufficate!
     
  15. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    First trip don’t be surprised if your 4 yr. old has a blast all day, then come bedtime, wants to GO HOME to MY BED. (we had one that did this) Bring a couple of favorite nighttime something’s! Be very careful with the 4 yr. old jabbing the ‘stick’ incessantly in the fire. Which we oversaw but could not stop once started, and then of course he picked up the ‘fire’ end of the stick once on the ground, - and burnt his hand quite badly.
    (Those were our worse experiences with little ones).

    Cut you a piece of plastic to the size of the base of your tent. Roll it and keep it forever as part of your basic equipment. If it rains in Canada [​IMG] this will be pertinent. (keeps a gully washer from permeating the bottom of your tent) no pegging needed, just lay it on the ground under the tent each time you set up.
    When you pack it helps if out for several days to put each days clothing from socks on up in one baggy in your backpack. (if your next to your car no need for all this but helps keep tent housekeeping more tidy) Don’t forget to beat two sticks together in front of you, where-ever you roam. [​IMG]
     
  16. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    A Thermarest (tm) is very important, more for insulation than say evening out the rocks. A thicker air filled thermarest is going to be warmer and have a larger R value than a thinner one. The difference between the price of different thermarests is typically the length and thickness (and therefore weight) but be careful when skimping on air filled mattresses, the mattress should be durable as to last awhile so check out the quality of the material and such. 3/4 length or full length is kind of personal, depending on how you sleep but in fall/winter, but if you're only car camping or in fall/winter, go for the full length.

    Nobody has mentioned the sleeping bag thing, synthetic or down. Do a search, I believe there has been some discussions in AH about this. Down is lighter, warmer but more expensive and as a material itself, not as warm when wet. However, all the down bags I see today from name brand companies include some kind of waterproof material, such as Pertex that keeps the down dry in most any conditions except for perhaps some run on through the seams. A down bag that is properly maintained will last longer than a synthetic and many people claim that is cheaper in the long run than synthetic. However, these people would most likely be using the bag more often and more carefully than the average car camper. I know when I'm car camping, I tend to abuse stuff as the consequences aren't as harsh as if you're 40 miles into the backcountry in Denali National Park.

    I'd recommend a nice inexpensive on-sale bag from Sierratradingpost as they always have a ton of bags that are decent and around $50-$80 and rated to 20°F. Anything more expensive and you're talking lighter weight which in car camping, is moot.

    Jay
     
  17. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Like Jay H, I'm a long time camper, but my camping is usually very gear limited because I'm either backpacking or on my motorcycle, and both of those environments severely limit what I can bring with me.

    Forget any foam or blow-up air mattress.

    You need a purpose built camping matte for sleeping or you WILL NOT GET ANY SLEEP.

    You will be comfortable and warm on a Therm-a-rest Ridge Rest which is extremely inexpensive.

    You will be almost as comfortable as in your bed at home on a Therm-a-rest, no kidding.

    If you get anything less than that you will be up all night tossing and turning, and will get no sleep at all. You will hate camping and your gear will sit in your garage unused for years. Seriusly, being able to sleep is absolutely make-or-break in camping.

    Shop for sleeping bags that are rated to 30 degrees (or better yet 15 degrees) at Sierra Trading Post or Campmor.

    Once again, sleeping is the single most important "activity" when in the woods. If you can't sleep you will have a miserable time, guaranteed.

    Get a good heavy tarp for underneath your tent or you will get really wet and dewey in there. This is absolutely critical.

    Have fun! [​IMG]
     
  18. BradK

    BradK Stunt Coordinator

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  19. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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    And like all long time campers do, build a small moat around your tent to keep bears and racoons out. Shouldn't take more than 5-6 hours, only needs to be about 12 feet deep and 10 feet wide, so do not go overboard with it.
     
  20. BradK

    BradK Stunt Coordinator

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    But bears and raccoons can swim can't they??
     

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