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#72264 - 08/29/06 05:20 PM My latest outing
Boacrow Offline

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 85
Well, I just got back from a three night excursion into the woods and I gotta say, I didn't enjoy it much. I tried to do the whole gear thing and I was amazingly miserable the whole time. Tents are not for me. Can't stand them. From now on I will be making my own shelter as I have always done. I found almost immediately that tents are not much more than sweat boxes and sand traps. They are also exceedingly noisy. This was my last night in a tent.
I tried to gear up for any possible need. This did not go well. I am not meant for civilized camping. I usually take a pack that mainly consists of food,a knife, some cordage, and that's about it. With that little bit I can handle almost anything. I can make a shelter that beats any tent I've ever seen, make meals, a nice privy, rooms for changing, bridges if need be (ok, I only had to do that once), cook all my meals, and generally just relax and take it easy. This was a nightmare of epic proportions. It was more like a move than a camping trip. Of course I learned some valuable lessons while out this time.
1. Tents are made by Satan
2. Sleeping bags are designed to suck all of the moisture out of the air in order to provide the user with the dampest sleeping experience possible
3. Those water shoes you can get (really cheap) are designed to fall apart upon first time use, and they have the convenience of becoming a cat litter box due to the natural attraction sand has for the insides of them.
4. Rescue is inevitable. There is no reason to fight it. As soon as I get settled in and start enjoying it, someone shows up to spoil it all for me. I now know that if I ever get lost, all I have to do is have some fun and someone will show up in short order to make sure I don't have too much fun. Next time I must remember to bring trip wires
5. During a hard rain, the best place to be is in it. Climbing in a tent ensures a good soaking by letting you roast in your own juices. At least outside there is a chance you can get under a tree and stay somewhat dry.
6. No matter what, one hornet will find out where you are and set up a perimeter. This hornet will man it's post day and night and foil all attempts to relocate it. I've found it's best to let it gaurd the area as killing it only brings reinforcements and they aren't very happy to be called in on their day off.
7. When breaking camp, I started to notice that the gear I brought somehow expanded and multiplied. It seemed to take up much more room on the way out than it occupied on the way in. Also I seemed to have had to make more trips back and forth during the loading up process than I did for the unloading.
during this whole trip, I found myself apprehensively looking over the camp site thinking to myself how much it was going to suck loading it all back up again. I couldn't enjoy the trip as much as I would have liked and I doubt I will be returning to that particular spot. While it is a nice spot, there are no trees handy enough to hang hammoks from, my usual shelter won't work for the same reason, and it seems to have more people wandering aimlessly through it than at a Led Zepplin concert.

#72265 - 08/29/06 06:08 PM Re: My latest outing
WalkingSavage Offline

Registered: 07/09/06
Posts: 12
Loc: Minnesota, USA
My first post. Please be kind.

I have a few gear questions for you. What hammock do you prefer? Is your hammock with or without mosquito netting? Does your hammock have a roof or do you use a separate rain cover(a tarp or the like). What do you usually use to sleep on/in when you cannot use your hammock? How do you keep yourself dry if you have to sleep on the ground in the rain (ground cloth, tarp, sleeping pad)?

I am just curious as you seem like the type of person who really prefers minimal equipment to full gear camping. I too prefer simplicity over too much extra stuff I may not need or ever use.

Thank you,

#72266 - 08/29/06 08:05 PM Re: My latest outing
thseng Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/24/06
Posts: 900
Loc: NW NJ
It sounds like you were stuck at an established campground. My condolences.

My worst time camping was at a large Boy Scout event at West Point. (We were there because my CAP squadron was also chartered as an Explorer post.) We were forced to camp our allotted 30x30 foot piece of a huge field. Being “military” our tents were set up with precise 2’ spacing between them. Never mind if your assigned spot had a gopher hole in the middle of it. It rained the whole time and the ground was saturated. It was so muddy that if you stood in one spot for too long you’d sink. The grass was trampled on by so many feet that the mud was squeezed up through it from below. It was cold. No fires allowed.

One night I dreamt how I would escape into the woods and build a lean-to with a huge reflector fire in front of it. I would dry off all my clothing and gear. Nice soft dry pine needles under my sleeping bag…

Then I woke up to the crinkle of a space blanket and resumed bailing water out of the floor of my tent with a canteen cup.

My best time camping was probably in a debris hut somewhere. Once, I spent the coldest night of the year in three feet of snow in a snow shelter. I’m sure I would have frozen to death in a tent.

Unfortunately, civilized people frown on your building a survival shelter in the middle of their nice organized campground.

- Tom S.

"Never trust and engineer who doesn't carry a pocketknife."

#72267 - 08/29/06 08:40 PM Re: My latest outing
Boacrow Offline

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 85
I don't really care for a specific type of hammock over any other. I have some from Wal-Mart out of the camping section and they do just fine. I don't use mosquito netting, roof, or tarp, instead I rely on my shelter to do the job. My shelter usually consists of a sloping roof that keeps the rain off but still allows for a nice breeze. I build the shelter in such a way that I can fit all my gear under it and have a central fire that everyone can gather around if the temps drop. I don't sleep on the ground at all. If I can't hang a hammock, I build a bed. It's not really hard to do it, it's just a bit involved. Almost everything I need I can make.
Where I was camping this time wasn't exactly a campground as such. It is private land that someone has put a small fire pit on. The proble is, the people that own it are a bit free with letting people go there. Even if someone is already there! I'm not fond of that. At any rate, as you said, I am a minimalist. I can and have gone camping with nothing more than what I had in my pockets at the time. I like it much better when I don't have to carry a bunch of gear. Sometimes even a BOB is too much. Suffice it to say, my camping experiences are always interesting. Always an adventure.

#72268 - 08/30/06 12:05 AM Re: My latest outing
Craig_phx Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 715
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I have had nothing but good experiences with tents. I use a Thermarest and a good sleeping bag. They are dry and comfortable.

Maybe you need less, but better equipment? <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Thermo-regulate, hydrate and communicate.

#72269 - 08/30/06 02:42 AM Re: My latest outing
Boacrow Offline

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 85
I guess I'm just not a tent type guy. I would think in bear country or something like that, a tent is just another way of saying "sack lunch". I prefer to sleep open air as it were. Get a nice breeze blowing through, gently rocking me to sleep. Now that's livin'! Got the fire nearby to keep warm on cold nights too. Plus, it's really hard to hang a hammock in a tent. I can understand the attraction to a tent, but for me, it's just more comfortable swinging to sleep. Especially after sleeping in that crock pot that passes for shelter.

#72270 - 08/30/06 03:27 AM Re: My latest outing
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
I would say that your tent and sleeping bags are either of subpar quality, or something failed on the user end. If quality, properly used equipment failed due to weather, then the primative techniques that people like to chest beat about wouldn't be much good either. Nothing personal.

Although the chest beating might keep you warm.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#72271 - 08/30/06 03:56 AM Re: My latest outing
Boacrow Offline

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 85
I don't know about the quality of the tent. I know it doesn't measure up to my usual shelters. I also know that it takes almost as long to put up. These things, combined with the fact that I can make a shelter any size I need it to be (so every one is built especially for the situation at hand) makes me think that tents are really not the way to go for me. I'm not saying that people that would rather have gear give up their tents. Quite the contrary in fact. Building a shelter from scratch isn't something that everyone knows how to do. It just happens that it's what I've always used and so I'm good at it. Some people don't have access to either the room, or the materials to build a quality shelter for long term habitation. I happen to have both, plus the knowledge needed to build them. I can have one 20' by 20' (or almost any size for that matter, the frame takes up the most time) up in about an hour, and I can have it as waterproof as it needs to be. I can have adjustable walls in case of rain or cold weather and I can add rooms to it. All in all, I prefer the versatility and comfort of a homemade shelter. Plus, I don't have to carry it out there or bring it back. When I'm done with it, if I don't intend to use it again, I can throw it on the fire. I usually use them again and again though. Mine usually last about a year with minor patching here and there.

#72272 - 08/30/06 04:16 AM Re: My latest outing
Fitzoid Offline

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 289
Loc: WI, MA, and NYC
This is one of the most amusing posts I've seen in a while.

As long as you don't object to my GPS, Gore-tex, and fancy Marmot gear, I've got no problem with you "I can light a fire by rubbing my beard stubble against a log" kind of guys... <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." Henny Youngman

#72273 - 08/30/06 04:36 AM Re: My latest outing
Angel Offline

Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 192
I have to agree with Boacrow. Some people have to take their whole house with them but I don't see a need when you don't have to. I enjoy camping more when I don't have to spend my time wagging a lot of stuff I don't need and sweltering in a tent, and I don't care what the quality of a tent is, when it's 102 degrees and raining, it's like being in an oven. I dont think of camping without a tent as primitive, it's just natural. And to all those that choose to look down your noses at those of us that prefer to camp naturally then I'm sure Motel 6 will leave the light on for you.

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