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  1. #1
    MTB addict xkwox's Avatar
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    Long term camping [First timer], Would like tips

    When: From either September 15 to October 1st, or October 20th to November 3rd

    I am leaning towards November, As It will give me more time to prepare, and more money. I've had recent legal financial obligations come up in July.


    I will be camping on an island off of the coast of Maine.

    I've had some experience before camping, and contain the barbaric characteristics to easily adapt to a technology lacking world. I've never dealt with it this long. A few days hear and there at most.

    I need tips, suggestions, I also need to buy camping gear. I have none. I want to be set up for life, and be able to live in the woods at a monuments notice.

    So I am willing to go big and expensive on gear. I will be buying a 6-8 person tent. Just because, I buy it once, but it for life.

    I also want this gear to be capable of surviving out in Alaska. I plan on going there in late winter/early fall next year.
    I reside in Southeast, PA. I am always looking for riding buddies, If interested let me know!


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  2. #2
    Senior Member bgilchrist's Avatar
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    Are you sure you want to do a 6-8 person tent? I try to look for stuff that will fit in my pack! in colder temperatures, if you don't have 6-8 people in it, you'll be pretty cold. 3-4 two man tents are better in cooler temps than a 6-8 man.


    seriously....make sure your tent has aluminum poles - nothing worse than cracked fibreglass poles.

  3. #3
    Master Surfer of Curbs glenng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xkwox View Post
    When: From either September 15 to October 1st, or October 20th to November 3rd

    I am leaning towards November, As It will give me more time to prepare, and more money. I've had recent legal financial obligations come up in July.


    I will be camping on an island off of the coast of Maine.

    I've had some experience before camping, and contain the barbaric characteristics to easily adapt to a technology lacking world. I've never dealt with it this long. A few days hear and there at most.

    I need tips, suggestions, I also need to buy camping gear. I have none. I want to be set up for life, and be able to live in the woods at a monuments notice.

    So I am willing to go big and expensive on gear. I will be buying a 6-8 person tent. Just because, I buy it once, but it for life.

    I also want this gear to be capable of surviving out in Alaska. I plan on going there in late winter/early fall next year.

    Not sure if this post is a troll or not but you come off as completely whacked. Alaska in winter? Maine in November? A 6-8 person tent that lasts a lifetime? What about food? Heat? What is there to do in these places in the Fall/Winter ?

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    You definetly need a propane stove, wth those disposable bottles.

  5. #5
    Argyle Army Foot Soldier cnickgo's Avatar
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    You need to think first about food and water... are you planning to pack in 1/2 a month of foood or do you have another plan to get food?

    The best advice you can get is to pick up a book or go to a local outfitter. They would be more than happy for you to tell them you want to completly outfit yourself with top-end equipment.

    A basic list of equipment would be a tent, pack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, stove, cook kit, headlamp, boots, clothing + outerwear, water purifyer (unless you have access to well water)/ etc. This doesn't even include everything to go with the basics such as a ground cloth for your tent, rain cover for your pack.

    Also what is your goal with your equipment? Being ready to pack up and go the up coming weekend is dependant on what kind of camping you want to do. Buy whatever you want if your car is 30 ft away, but if you plan on packing in a couple miles your priorities change very quickly. Packing in requires consideration of weight and space saving designs. (shed those ounces!!).

  6. #6
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Buy an expensive tent and sleeping bag, these will be needed to keep you warm and dry, go to a high end backpacking store and spend $200 for each item, minimum. Also, buy the best rain gear you can, that is also something not to go cheap on.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  7. #7
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Are you serious?

    Quote Originally Posted by xkwox
    I've never dealt with it this long.
    Apart from food and water, it's just 4 half-week trips in a row. If you're serious, that is. You'll obviously be foraging and fishing as much as you can, and/or eating dried food. Maybe hunting too, if your laws allow that. Regarding water, boiling one's drinking water is enough around here, but that may not be the case over where you camp. You may have to consider water purification.

    Quote Originally Posted by xkwox
    I buy it once, but it for life.
    This is a good principle. But seriously, you will be lucky to get more than 15 years of real use out of a top-notch, big $$$ tent. And that's with you paying attention to its care and repairs with zeal most people would consider sick. Expect even less life from sleeping pads (especially air filled) and sleeping bags. Actually, the only thing that has a chance of outliving you is the fork/knife/spoon-combination.

    Quote Originally Posted by xkwox
    I will be buying a 6-8 person tent.
    Are you serious? Who's going to haul that thing to the woods and help you setting it up, the guy with the helicopter? Perhaps you already have a small tent, having had some experience in camping. Use it. Buy more smallish tents later, if needed. You will have more options to choose the tent from, you will be able to find camping spots more easily, you will be able to set up the tent(s) without outside help, you will avoid extra haulage for now, AND you will be able to distribute the load more evenly among the members of your tribe when/if that time comes.

    Quote Originally Posted by xkwox
    I also want this gear to be capable of surviving out in Alaska.
    If you're serious, which I very much doubt by now, buy specific winter gear for those camps in Alaska, and lighter stuff for other seasons / locations. You will not get much sleep in summer, if your only sleeping bag is comfort rated at -30C, for example.

    --J the suspicious camper
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  8. #8
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shifty View Post
    Buy an expensive tent and sleeping bag, these will be needed to keep you warm and dry, go to a high end backpacking store and spend $200 for each item, minimum. Also, buy the best rain gear you can, that is also something not to go cheap on.
    Umm....$200 is low-end for a good tent and a good sleeping bag.

    P.S. To the OP....you don't "camp" in Alaska in the winter without A) plenty of backcountry experience, and B) gear, and knowing how to use it. If you don't even know what to buy, you certainly are not ready. Baby steps.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Um. Why you want your first long-term experience to be in such brutal conditions as off the farkin' coast of Maine in November? Is this for a reality show? <curious Vega look> Or do you have a temp job pullin' up lobster pots, and hope to save some money by camping?

    I have limited (short-term) camping experience, too. And would never dream of makin' my first long-termer under conditions worthy of a Jack London novel! Why not try this first under more temperate conditions, or at least at a more favorable time of year? <concerned and confused Vega look>

  10. #10
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Unless the OP edited his post, I'm not getting where he doesn't say he's not packing food or water- or am I missing something? Anyway:
    1. Determine what kinds of camping you actually want to do. I stress the plural of "kind" here because one size does not fit all types of camping. Equipment for backcountry is quite different than for camping in sites such as you find in state parks. Given your apparent lack of experience, I'd opt for the latter for a while until you break yourself in and get a better understanding of what more technical camping would be like. All that said:
    1. A 6-8 person tent for one or even four people is not what you want. Get a good (yes- expensive) two-person tent rated for 3-4 seasons. Look for good ventilation, ease of set-up, ease of packing, and good, sturdy material. A tent like this will run between $250 and $500 at most outfitters. As with bikes, don't waste your time in X-Marts.
    2. A good sleeping bag- again rated for 3-4 seasons. You can expect to spend about the same as you would for a good tent.
    3. Cooking gear- a propane stove is good for the kind of camping you should be doing. You'll also need a study compact mess kit, and probably several- a small one as well as a larger one that includes pots and pans of various sizes.
    4. Food- yes, you do have to eat out there, so where are you going to get it? Fishing? That depends on where you're camping. Hunting? Same thing. Living off the land? Ditto, and man, you better be very experienced at that. One poisonous mushroom can spoil your whole day. Think about packing in dehydrated meals as well as dried fruits, nuts, and if you're not backpacking for any long distance, canned goods. As to water, a purifying kit is essential.
    5. First aid- you'll need a really good kit for this. I'd strongly suggest that you take a first aid course at the local Red Cross.
    6. A GPS would be a good thing, but at least have maps and a good compass (assuming that you have the skills to use these- taking a frontiering course wouldn't be a bad idea, IMO).
    7. There are a jillion other little things you need to worry about- too many to list here, but this will get you started. I'd strongly recommend getting a basic camping skills book as well as books and other information about the area(s) you want to camp in.

    You're in Horsham, so you're not to far from the REI in Conshohocken or the EMS in Paoli or West Philly. I'd go there during off-hours (mid-day is good) and strike up a conversation with the staff. No- I don't work for either, but I've found that you can pick up lots of useful info from these folks, most of whom have had extensive camping and backcountry experience. It's like visiting your LBS before you buy a bike- sure they have product to sell, but that doesn't discount the value of the information you can obtain, in most cases.

    Good luck!

  11. #11
    Dude wheres my guads? skinnyone's Avatar
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    on the tent front, the smaller the tent, the better off you are as there is less air mass and surface area to steal and transport heat.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    I've done plenty of camping in brutal cold Michigan winter with scouts back when I did that and also hunting. It's not really a big deal if you have your food set up properly, and if you have a very good sleeping bag. It's not really complicated, you pack food that won't go bad because of the cold, and possibly hunt and fish. It's pretty easy to live on veggies you find on the ground, but only in the summer. One time me and my uncles decided to go deer hunting for a week, taking only deer bait with us. In the first 3 days, we ate only apples, sugar beets, and 2 squirells. Funny to think back on, but I'll tell ya, sucks to be out in the serious cold with almost no food. Careful planning is key, especially if you're new at cold weather camping.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member skiahh's Avatar
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    If you've got the REI nearby, go there, as suggested.

    Or, since you're going to ME, go a bit early and make a stop in Freeport at L.L. Bean. Their staff is extremely knowlegable and will steer you right, especially for camping in November in ME (not all that big a deal, actually, especially not for 2 weeks!).

    One thought on the tent: there's some good advice in this thread but I haven't seen this compromise. I've got a Bean Vector Dome #4. Huge for one person, very comfy for 2. I'm not sure I'd take it to Alaska in the dead of winter, but it's a great tent and I'd camp pretty much year-round in ME with it.

    REI or Bean are great places to go for advice if you're not sure how to outfit yourself. Bean may be the better choice if you're going to be spending time in ME and they've outfitted several expeditions to Alaska, too.

    [edit]Disclaimer: I don't work for L.L. Bean... but I did once upon a time!
    Last edited by skiahh; 08-09-07 at 09:55 AM.
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  14. #14
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    +1 re: Bean (we don't haver an outlet in SE PA but it would be worth it for the OP to drive up to Freeport for a chat, IMO!)

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgilchrist View Post
    Are you sure you want to do a 6-8 person tent? I try to look for stuff that will fit in my pack! in colder temperatures, if you don't have 6-8 people in it, you'll be pretty cold. 3-4 two man tents are better in cooler temps than a 6-8 man.


    seriously....make sure your tent has aluminum poles - nothing worse than cracked fibreglass poles.
    Not to mention that many camping areas are not set up for that large a tent. No place level place to put it.

  16. #16
    MTB addict xkwox's Avatar
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    Well. I will be alone, with my dog. I don't need that big of a tent. I think I will stick with a 4 person.
    I reside in Southeast, PA. I am always looking for riding buddies, If interested let me know!


    I am pro nature, I also toke with nature.

  17. #17
    Laugh it up Fuzzball.
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    With you and a dog I would stick to a 2 person tent. The closer the quarters the more comfortable you will be. Also, if you are packing in the weight difference will be very important.

  18. #18
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Just to reiterate- it's very important to know what kind of camping you want to do, and then outfit for that. It's pretty much like it is with bikes- you wouldn't want a 30lb MTB for a double century, right?

  19. #19
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBLover View Post
    J It's pretty much like it is with bikes- you wouldn't want a 30lb MTB for a double century, right?
    I almost pulled one off back when the Wolverines did the 24 hour ride around Bell Isle. At 183 miles I really started to lose it mentally and decided I'd better stop and sleep. On the other hand there was one guy in his 70's that did 300 miles on his Klein Pulse.

    About outfitters, if there is a gander mountain near by, or better still a Cabelas, I would highly reccomend going there. Compared to REI, they have a lot less useless and overpriced trash they're happy to sell you such as Nalgene bottles. Whatever you do, don't go to the appropriately named Dick's Sporting Goods.
    Last edited by Michigander; 08-09-07 at 11:04 PM.
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  20. #20
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    I was just thinking Cabela's. There's one in Hamburg, PA it's what an hour, hour and a half from Horsham.

  21. #21
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Damn- I forgot about Cabela's- yes, you're right Stacey and Mich- that's the best place. And OP, while you're up there, you should plan on spending the day hiking to The Pinnacle if you've never done it. A totally awesome, breathless view from the top. Last time we did it we were looking down from Pulpit Rock on a couple of red-tailed hawks doing their thing. Wear good hiking shoes, though- the trail can be demanding in places. Very much worth the trip!

    Stacey- you ever do this hike?

  22. #22
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Get a sleeping bag for the dog too then, if you're actually serious.

    BTW, you do know that you're going to be bored out of your mind, especially in the colder weather, right?
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  23. #23
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarWizard View Post
    Get a sleeping bag for the dog too then, if you're actually serious.

    BTW, you do know that you're going to be bored out of your mind, especially in the colder weather, right?
    Why bored? Theres nothing to stop hiking/snowshoeing, snowmobiling, bike riding if the snow isn't too bad, hunting, ice fishing, ya know, regular camping stuff. Just gotta dress warm.
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  24. #24
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarWizard View Post
    Get a sleeping bag for the dog too then, if you're actually serious.

    BTW, you do know that you're going to be bored out of your mind, especially in the colder weather, right?
    +1 for the dog bag, and re: boredom. There's always blow-up dolls, I guess- one could double as an air mattress.

    BTW- OP- now that I think about it, maybe the Pinnacle isn't a bad place to get some cold weather camping experience. It won't be as cold as Alaska or Maine, but it gets plenty frigid up there. Plus, the AT runs through it, and you might meet some company along the way.

  25. #25
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michigander View Post
    Why bored? Theres nothing to stop hiking/snowshoeing, snowmobiling, bike riding if the snow isn't too bad, hunting, ice fishing, ya know, regular camping stuff. Just gotta dress warm.
    I agree with ya- I loved cold-weather camping when I was in the Scouts, but that was with a bunch of people and we always had activities like you described (in addition to the usual merit badge skills stuff we needed to do). I get the sense that the OP is going to be pretty lonely out there (some of us like that kind of thing, but I'm not sure he knows whether he does or not- just sayin').

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