tips for rookie campers and intermitit campers

Old 09-26-05, 10:36 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: central il
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tips for rookie campers and intermitit campers


I have been camping most of my life. I am not a exstreme camper. However I have been camping in the wilderness a few times.

And thought maybe some tips and hints would be helpfull to a newbie or mild camper.

I always like to read alot just before I get in the mood to go camping. even if you are camping for a weekend or a week. Books and mags on camping, give great info and a refresher on skills or things you long forgot about.

So lets start -

TENTS - Unless you plan on camping in severe weather or winter. a cheap tent from wal-mart will do you find. Most tents come today already with a water repellant on them. So no need to add it to a new tent. Only if you're tent is more than 2 or 3 years old.

Easy to was test a older tent. set it up, get the hose out, spray it. if it dont bead up, then it is likely due for a spray.

Seamsealer - if the tent is less than a year old and you are not gonna be in exstreme weather, dont worry about it.

Always good tho, to take a bar of soap and rub it on the zippers, so they zip and un zip easier, just do it lighty.

Some tents have the plastic bottom other do not, if you have the plastic bottom, I myself dont put down a plastic sheet down before setting up the tent. If It does not have a plastic bottom, then I do.

However, I have seen alot of people put plastic down and not lay it down flat and it can hold water and cause water to come into your tent.

Staking, make sure you put into the ground at a angle. not strait up and down. I always bring extra steaks and string. The MFG, just supply you with the bare minuim.

Sleeping -

I like to make sure I put the tent on a flat, level place. I then lay a blanket down on the inside of the tent.

Now - Sleeping bags, Don't need a zero degree sleeping bag if you are camping in 90% weather. You will only be hot.

I always suggest, try the sleeping bag out at home before trying out camping, nothing like having one that is 2 small for you. Esp if you are a tall person. Same goes for the tent.

Seen plenty of new campers, opening up everything for the first time at the camp site.


old pine needles work great for starting that fire.

Leave the scented perfume and soap and deodarnt at home. mosquitos just love that stuff. can only say DEET !

Don't leave food out or in the tent, coons just love to make a mess, if you can't keep in your car, keep in a tree, use a bag or a pillow case. rope it up and hang from tree.

KNow the area, dont be affraid to ask questions, if first time there and it's a big place, make sure you know the following -

hours the store is open or is there one close buy, trails - get a map and know how to read one.

Walkie talkies are good for camping.


Are you having a big meal or small ones, cooking for how many ? keep this in mind.

You will find a car full of gear before you know it, and alot you wont need, but once you get there you will find something that you do need.

a camping list is a plus

I prefer plastic spoons and forks and a few metal spoons and forks and knifes, paper plates, and plastic cups.

I have a picnic basket that I keep all the basic's in.

Kids are the hardest, they get bored easily,

Flashlights, the kids love to drain them dead fast, So i get glow sticks for them. frisbee, football, ball and gloves. fishing, puzzles.

Rain gear is good to have.

The key to a good camping, isn't about what you forget or did wrong, Its communication. If more than just 2 are going, ask them what they exspect or want to do during camping, Asking the kids is a plus.

I've camped when it has rained hard, ruined the tent, 80 mph winds , caught in a storm. That small radio and group yacking came in handy. We took a thick plastic tarp along, and we made a rain shelter, so we did not have to stay in the tent all day.


Depending on what type of camping you are doing, I'll pass along a story of my father. Who broke 3 rips due to wearing the wrong shoes.

We went to voyageurs national park in minnesota, to took along hard soled hikers, great for rocks, but not moss and slipperly ground. Softer soled shoes is what you want for moist, slippery ground, not hard.

Unless you are in shape, dont plan a huge trip, or trials if you're body is not use to it. hiking a trail with 30 to 40 pounds of gear on a meduim trail, is not easy if you are not ready for it.

Camping is not about style, clothing, its about comfort and functioning.

ANd if you dont know what that weed is, make sure you aint walking in it. Nothing worse than a case of poison oak or ivy to ruin your trip. Watch the kids they love to go yank on vines off of the trees.

Water - if you cant bring your own, i recommend boiling it or filtering it. Nothing worse than a case of gardia.

Ive seen local camp grounds, where people dump there dirty dish water down the drain right next to the well pump.

No rambos here, you dont need a huge knife, My favorite knife is a swiss army knife.

I take a fold up portable saw, I have even seen them at wal-mart and k-mart for $21.00. I got mine from campor.

I can write a book but no matter what i write here, Im sure i left something out. there is alot of ways to camp.

I always say, think first act later, stay calm, have a well plan and you cant go wrong.

Old 09-27-05, 06:52 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: central il
Posts: 154
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I know is alot of reading 2 do, and I am sorry, Im not typically a know all person.

But I was thinking to add some tips for back country camping.

If you know there is gonna be bears in the area.

I recommend bear mace, I carry it, never had to use it.

When i camp in the back counrty, Black bears is the commone problem i have, i have had where they try and come into the tent at night.

Even tho my gear is stored in either a bear locker or in the tree.

They still come into the site, Well I have used a few times, portable motion sensors.

It helps scare them off, but also can alert you, to be awake, in case you need to be awake.

I feel with kids, better to be safe than sorry.

The old story of women if they are bleeding can sometimes create a problem with bears, From my readings from packbacker mag is true.

Also if you are on a trail in a known bear area, make sure that you make a little noise, this helps in not startling a bear if one is near buy.

We would hike 2 miles, ona trial to fish, and then hike backl with the fish. But one day on the trail, We could smell something foul and it seemed to be just in the bushes along along the way of us.

I cant say for certain it was a bear, but we felt it was. I gathered it was the smell of the fish.

My friend had it in his pack, I recommended for him to take it out and carry, that case if there was a problem, he could easily drop the fish. Much harder if it in youre pack.

Alot of national parks, you check in at the ranger station, some people do not, but i recommend it, ask them questions-

any bear sitings ? any bear problems or bears in certain areas, they usually know.

I try to avoid those areas. It is unlikely that you will ever be hurt ot attacked buy a bear, but smart to avoid where they are at.

I have known a few people who had gone on a hike to come back and find there gear torn up. And return home short of there full trip.

My uncle rented his gear and the bear or bears, tore up the gear and they had to pay for the gear.

Ask about ticks, some parts of the season have tick flair ups.

Now one time camping, We call got ticks all over us from hiking, even tho we did our best with wearing the clothing, the way they recommend you do for trying to prevent it.

But one of the people with us, did not get a single one, and each day he used dry baby powder all himself.

I dont know if it's a proven to work, but it stood out to me to work at least on him anyhow.


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