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Thread: Camping FAQ's

  1. #1
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  2. #2
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    Default Looking forward!

    Sounds like another valuable resource -- thanks to @DonnaR57!

  3. #3
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    Default

    May I suggest splitting to two different threads?

    Tent camping goes from backpack constraints to car load constraints.

    RV starts where car camping lets off and goes up to luxury homes on wheels.

    I can offer suggestions about tent camping but have very little RV experience to share.

  4. #4
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    Default Tent and rv camping – the basics

    TENT AND RV CAMPING – THE BASICS

    You've decided you want to try camping. That's wonderful! First, you need to figure out what makes you want to do that. There are some great reasons to camp, but it will help you make the best decision as far as equipment is concerned.

    The great outdoors is what pulls a lot of people into camping. The ability to sleep, eat, and play in our natural world calls to many. For some, this is what pulls them into traveling.

    Still others are thinking on this as a way to save money while traveling. After all, it is figured, you spend a lot of money on hotels and restaurants. Why not lighten up the pockets a little slower by camping? Well, maybe. We have an entire thread in the “Saving Money” forum, about RV's vs. Motels. Frankly, tenting is a lot cheaper than RV's (whether you purchase or rent said RV).

    My husband and I have tent-camped, owned a tent-trailer (pop up), and a fifth wheel trailer. While I was growing up, my parents owned three different travel trailers, then a motorhome and another trailer after I moved out. My parents also owned a KOA Kampground in the desert Southwest when I was a teen, so this thread information is learned from experience – sometimes, the hard way.

  5. #5
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    Default

    I would agree with nFoCB, while there is some overlap of thing that you could probably use in both, doing these as two separate threads might be easier to keep things organized.

    But beggers and choosers, I'd say anyone taking the time to do this has free reign to do it how they see fit!

  6. #6
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    Default So, how do i start? What should i think about?

    SO, HOW DO I START? WHAT SHOULD I THINK ABOUT?

    Do you want to sleep under the stars in a tent, cook outside on a fire or camp-stove, and sit on logs or stools by a campfire? Would you mind if it rains and all that's between you and wetness is a piece of cloth? Would you like to sleep on the ground with only a ground pad or air mattress, or on a camp cot that you can lug around? Then maybe a tent is for you.

    Or would you rather just have a bed in a hard sided unit that will keep you dry and snug if it rains? A real stove with home-type pots and eating utensils? Would you like to drive something either very long or very boxy? Then maybe a hard-sided unit is for you.

    If you are struggling with these issues and just don't know, perhaps you can borrow a tent and some equipment. There are few places to rent these things, call around locally and ask. (If you are military, check your local base Recreation Dept). Find a local state park or national forest campground (see lists on our Camping forum), and try it out for a weekend or two. Like it? Then you will know what kind of things you “need”, with that kind of experience. (This is what my husband and I did. We rented before deciding to buy tenting gear for ourselves.)

    Perhaps you can rent an RV from a local company for a weekend or two, and see how you like that. Of course, this is not very cheap, but neither is purchasing one only to find that you don't like it. Another thought is to tag along with a friend who has one, and see how you like it. It's a lifestyle; it isn't cheap. You'll also see what you might require in such a unit. Most places will only rent motorhomes. Trailers, or towables, are not easy to find for rent because most folks do not have the right type of tow vehicle, and (according to one local RV-rental place), the trailers can't take the type of abuse that many renters will give it. (How true that is, though, is hard to prove.) In some areas, a local company will bring a towable out to a given campground and set it up. Some campgrounds even have trailers for rent.

    Some campgrounds might rent you a cabin or a “tee pee” (Canada's oTENTIKs and KOA's kamping kabins come to mind). Those may give you a sense of what a hybrid (such as a hard sided tent trailer) might be like.
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 12-13-2019 at 11:22 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Ok, what are my costs going to be? (tenting)

    OK, WHAT ARE MY COSTS GOING TO BE? (TENTING)

    For tent camping, a basic outfit will include a tent, sleeping bag per person, and some sort of ground pad or air mattress (or cot). That's for sleeping. What you spend on those will depend on where you're planning to camp and how much you want to spend. Check your local big-box or sporting goods stores.

    For cooking, you'll probably want a basic two-burner stove with the propane tank, plus it's helpful to have a fry pan and a sauce pan. Don't forget the matches. Not too expensive! Can you count on cooking on a campfire or on a provided grill? No. In many areas, campfires are being banned, or the firewood strictly regulated. Provided grills are often filthy.

    For eating, a basic mess kit (per person) is helpful. Oh, and don't forget something with which to wash dishes – a tub, rag, towel, and a small bottle of dish soap are very handy. You'll want a cooler for your cold food, and some sort of containers to carry all this extra stuff. Of course, a few kitchen tools are helpful.

    All those things can be had pretty cheaply, once again at the big box or sporting goods store. Watch for sales. If you have a charity “thrift store” in your area, start watching for gear there, or at yard sales. Honestly, though, most folks think buying a used sleeping bag is not particularly healthy. Buy a new one.

    Think about a collapsible water jug, too. There are a number of forest service, corps of engineers and county/city parks that allow camping, but have no potable water available. You'll want to fill up somewhere. This was a lesson learned the hard way, by my husband and I, when we pulled into a forest service campground that had no water. We went into town but all we had was a 2-gallon thermos jug. Thank goodness we had one of those!

    Your needs may be more minimalist than ours were. If you are planning to tent from a motorcycle, you'll have to decide what are your priorities. Maybe a single burner stove and one small pot will be sufficient. Or maybe you'll just tent overnight and eat all your meals out.

    Your overnight costs for a tent will run anywhere from about $7 upward to $35, per night. It depends, once again, on where you want to camp. There are a few free campsites, but they are few and far between, often far from anywhere. No, you may not just pitch your tent wherever you want. Even the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Forest Service are fussy about where you camp – how close to a road and how close to moving water.

  8. #8
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    Default I'm coming from overseas and i want to tent camp, what do i do?

    I'M COMING FROM OVERSEAS AND I WANT TO TENT CAMP, WHAT DO I DO?

    Carry what you can in your luggage. Buy what you need in the US at a big-box or sporting goods store. When you're done and ready to return home, you can try to ship stuff home (tent and mess kit), or just drop it off at a charity thrift store in your departure city. Or give it to a friend here in the US to keep for you, for your next trip.

  9. #9
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    Default What do i pack for a tent camping road trip?

    WHAT DO I PACK FOR A TENT CAMPING ROAD TRIP?

    There are many packing lists available online, including one right here.

    Here's another one, that includes car camping gear.

    These are just basic lists. Your needs and desires, as well as the space in your vehicle, will make you pick and choose what's necessary and what is just a "nicety" that could be easily done without. Over the years, my husband and I tweaked our tent camping list, then completely rewrote it when we got our first trailer (that pop-up).

    Essentially, you'll pack what you usually do for a regular road trip. A tenter's list will have tent, sleeping bags and mats, cooking gear, dish gear, and a few other things added.

  10. #10
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    Default How is travel time affected? (tent camping)

    HOW IS TRAVEL TIME AFFECTED? (TENT CAMPING)

    If you're tent-camping, you need to allow for breaking down a campsite in the morning, and setting it up at a different place in the evening. Though generally, 500-550 miles per day is deemed plenty for the average hotel-stayer, I'd recommend 450-500 miles for a tent-camper, at the most! Less is usually better. If you're driving on two-lane roads, it's best to stick to 350-400 miles or so. It's best to depart after daylight and arrive before sundown, because that makes tear-down/set-up much easier, at least for beginners.

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