Frivolous Friday: Preparing For First Camp

Frivolous Fridays are the Orbit bloggers’ excuse to post about fun things we care about that may not have serious implications for atheism or social justice. Any day is a good day to write about whatever the heck we’re interested in (hey, we put “culture” in our tagline for a reason), but we sometimes have a hard time giving ourselves permission to do that. This is our way of encouraging each other to take a break from serious topics and have some fun. Enjoy!

I keep most of my camping gear stored for the winter in a different city than where I live most of the time, so when the season begins I need to go fetch gear from the garage. I love going in and sorting through my pile of stuff, imagining adventures of the past and future.

While I have a lot of gear, I’ve been moving towards simpler and simpler camp set-ups over time. I don’t want to be daunted by the idea of packing for camp and end up skipping it because things are too complicated. I don’t want set up to take a long time, nor teardown (the worst part of camping). This is the opposite of how most of my big poly family camps – my spouse doesn’t plan ahead as much as me, and preparing for camp tends to be frantically throwing 6 musical instruments, a box of granola bars, and bottle of wine in the car. This works surprisingly well for them! My boyfriend and his family have a big, luxurious camping set up that’s great fun to use with them, but a style I’d rather not do on my own. The full kit requires a full sized van and small trailer but creates an extremely comfortable home for a big group.

Since I have limited time to get out to the trails I want my kit to be simple, light, and able to be kept together most of the time so that I can simply toss socks and food into the kit and get out the door. On my own, simpler is better. As much as I love gear, I just don’t need that much, and I want to carry as little as I can get away with.

This time I pulled out basic lightweight gear only – none of my car camping gear like large tents or air mattresses or lanterns. I stuck with my sleep pad, frame pack, lighter sleeping bag, and an old rain fly from a now-dead tent that I hope to turn into a shelter tarp before heading out. I brought my backpacking tent as well, but my hope is to switch to using my hammock instead when I am on my own. The tent itself sleeps 2 people who really like each other and will keep me dry in nasty storms, but it weighs 6 pounds which is totally unnecessary weight when I’m on my own in good to moderate weather. I would recommend it, though, if it was still being made. Unfortunately the company isn’t in business anymore and my tent is about a decade old and obtained second hand.

I found a small walk-in campground near home to do my gear test. It should be very quiet there in April, so I’m looking forward to that. I’m going in two weeks, which gives me time to adapt the rain fly and plan my food! I’m definitely going to try something new if I can. Perhaps next week I’ll write about the menu once I figure it out.

Frivolous Friday: Preparing For First Camp

4 thoughts on “Frivolous Friday: Preparing For First Camp

  1. 1

    I’ve never been much of a camper; most of what I’ve done has been done in groups, which is never my best situation. (I was a geology student — we do class field trips.) It’s one thing to toss your sleeping bag under an inviting sagebrush when you’re alone, but it’s totally something else to have a dozen semi-strangers scattered around you, 10 of whom are attempting to get falling-down drunk. A comfy tent and pad provide some respite from the crowd.

    But, I am a carrier of purses/pocketbooks/backpacks/whatever. And I have found that targeting the pack to the errand makes life a whole lot easier. A quick run to the grocery store merits a wallet-holder. A long drive over inhospitable mountains works better when I have a first-aid kit. some lip balm, a good flashlight, extra water, etc., along as well. Various trips simply shouldn’t be done without a camera, and some of those can even be local. And so I’ve learned, travel as lightly as I can for the occasion… but no lighter!

    1. 1.1

      That’s a really good point about tent walls giving some privacy in busy campgrounds and in groups. When I camp in groups I’m used to sharing a tent (like with my big poly family – the tent is basically a house) which honestly is a very different feeling than having something to myself. I’m hoping the hammock and tarp will do the same thing for privacy as tent walls, but we’ll see – that’s why I need to test it out and see if it will work for me!

      I carry my life on my back every day – it’s a side effect of being a student and working full time without owning a car. I’m a public transit user with a very busy lifestyle, so I carry a big pack most of the time. I prefer military style rucks with lots of MOLLE webbing because of versatility. In fact, I will probably do a frivolous backpack discussion sometime soon. 🙂

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