Welcome aboard, all . . .
Hello everyone. I just thought I'd start here with a quick post to let you all know that the first trip or the second (depending), will be a trip down by the Mississippi River. Any later than that in the season, the mosquitos become unbearable. I will have more details on that after I've had a little more time to talk with samcallahan. The other trip to get us rolling will most likely be a trip to either the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore or Starved Rock.
If anyone one the board has any ideas, feel free to contribute those here as well.
darkhunter3941 asked the other night about what he and white_rabbit_1 should bring, as he had not had a lot of experience camping. Therefore I just thought that I would put up a basic checklist of what to bring camping. If anyone out there sees any basic thing(s) I've missed, feel free to add them:
A Tent (you can get these starting in the $30 range at Walmart and Target, but they can easily go into a $600 range if you start looking at nicer ones in places like REI, Gander Mountain, or Outdoor World). If you are just starting out, and/or if cost is a concern, you can get a basic tent which will service you just fine in fair to moderate conditions, but you most likely will want to invest in a tube of seam sealer and seal the seams in that tent before you get out with it. There's nothing more unpleasant than being caught in a downpour, and having rain leaking through your seams. With an inexpensive tent, you are also more likely to get heavy condensation on the walls in the moring due to an adequate lack of ventilation.
Sleeping bags - On a nice night you may even opt to Meadow Crash (Sleep outside your tent). Sleeping bags, like tents, come in a wide range of prices from about $20- to about $300 (although I have seen a bag that costs $830. [no, I'm not kidding]). As we will be camping in the warmer months, you should not to need to expensive of a bag.
Air Mattress or Sleeping Pad - You can get a sleeping pad in the $30-100 Range, and an Air mattress in the range of about $30-60. Air mattresses give a little more cushioning, but it comes at a price: namely, cold air may circulate under you, leaving you shivering in the night. Sleeping pads aren't quite as cushiony, but will leave you a little warmer. You don't definiteively need one of these, I guess, but it can get real uncomfortable if you have a rocky ground stabbing you in the back all night.
Boots - If we go hiking, a good pair of boots can be your best friend, especially if the hike is fairly lengthy. Boots designed for hiking can range from about $90-$300, but keep in mind that the most important things are comfort, how well your feet are supported, and the traction the boots give you. You may also wish to look for something which has been made/treated with Goretex, which is an excellent weaterproofing solution.
Packs - In general we haven't done many weekend long hikes, so a day pack (anything that carries 2,000 cubic inches of space or less) should be just fine. These are good to carry snacks, first aid kits, water bottles, ipods, small tools and so forth, as well as rain ponchos, and perhaps a change of clothing.
A Mess Kit / Paper Plates and Plastic Utensils. You can get Mess Kits ranging from about $8 - $80 . . . or you can get paper plates, plastic utensils, and lug a (old) pot or two from home. The advantages of Mess kits are that they double as both pan/pot and plate, are designed to be thrown on a campfire, and are designed so that the pieces fit inside each other and take up as little rrom as possible in your gear. Paper plates can be burned in your campfir when you are done with them, but the plastic you either have to hold on to or throw out in a bag you have brough with you.
First Aid Kit - While in general there should be a larger communal one, you should really bring with a basic first aid kit with bandages, aspirin, ibuprofen, gause, burn cream (such as aloe vera gels), disinfectants, and so forth.
A Towel - As Douglas Adams suggested, on of the most neccessary items for traversing the universe is a towel. If you don't know the uses this can have, I'm not explaining.
A Hat - Keeps your head warm on cold days, and cooler (and the sun out of your eyes) on hot ones.
Sunglasses - On a hike, especially a longer one, the last thing you want is to be directly staring at the sun for any length of time.
Sunscreen - An ounce of prevention . . .
A Rain Poncho - Rain Happens.
A Tarp - for under your Tent, or to rig another layer of shelter against rain.
A Knife - A good knife can help you out in all sorts of ways; the Swiss Army Knife is best for camping, as it really has everything you need. It's even better if you can get one with a locking blade. A Leatherman is also a good choice.
Clothing - You may want to think about bringing some heavier clothing for at night when temperatures fall. You may also want to pack something like fleece which will dry relatively quickly if you are soaked, and still keep you warm.
Food - In addition to the regular meals which we often plan as a group, you may wish to bring snacks / trail mix, as well as tea, instant coffee, hot chocolate, instant hot cider, and powdered drinks or powdered Gatorade. Avoid Soft Drinks as they will dehydrate you.
Sundry other things - Lightweight Camp Chairs, waterproof playing cards or games (invaluable when you are stuck in your tent due to a deluge), ipods, harmonicas and the like may help you round out you camping experience, depending on what luxuries you feel you would like).
A Pillow - Or you can use some of your spare clothes, if you're okay with that.
Bug Repellant - Even with a fire, mosquitos can be murder
It sounds like a lot, but you probably already have most of these lying around, so really, your big investments are: your tent, your sleeping bag, your sleeping pad, a first aid kit (which you can put together yourself, if you are so inclined), and possibly a mess kit. That's the basics.
If anyone else feels like adding to this list, please do so. :)
Thanks! Current Mood: full