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  1. #1
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    First time camping ramble

    I started getting ready last night for a short tour this weekend. This will be our first time camping (The Historian and I) and I'm probably going to bring a bit too much stuff along.

    The tent - I opened it up on my porch and waterproofed it. I cut a tent mat out of a plastic tarp, and confirmed that the Thermarest fits insude the tent. (It's a one-person coffin-line tent and a large mattress.)

    I'm planning to ditch my trunk rack and use the top of the rack to tie down my camping stuff. I picked up a big stuff sack, and I can fit the tent, camping pillow and sleeping bag inside with room to spare.

    Food - I'll be bringing tuna, dried fruit, hard boiled eggs, salami, nuts, and veggies. (See the camping on Passover thread if interested in kosher-for-passover food questions.) And water, of course.

    Still to pack:

    Clothes
    tools
    Cleanup stuff (toothpaste, baby wipes, toilet paper, etc)
    Bags to hold garbage in
    First aid

    My friend is bringing the stove and cooking whatnot.
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  2. #2
    bicycle tourer Johnrs2117's Avatar
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    Check out this link about bike camping. It may give you some ideas that may help.

    http://www.bicycle-touring-guide.com...e-camping.html

  3. #3
    Senior Member ricohman's Avatar
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    Is this your 1st time bike camping or your 1st time camping?

  4. #4
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricohman View Post
    Is this your 1st time bike camping or your 1st time camping?
    Both.
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ricohman's Avatar
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    Wow. I have been camping since I was a toddler and basically just took what I learned in the early decades and applied it to bike touring.
    Here are some things you can count on.
    You will bring to much clothing and possibly food.
    You won't bring enough water, unless its available in the campground.
    It gets a lot colder than you think just at sunrise.
    Your equipment seems to "grow" and its not near as easy to pack it up the next day. This gets better though but leave extra room in your panniers.
    Morning dew can soak everything left uncovered and leave your food soggy.
    Sometimes its nice to stop for a mid-day break and lay the tent out to dry on the last day going home.
    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    Both.
    And a first time for both of us.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    If you plan on doing it again, bring a little notebook and write down your thoughts - what you should have brought, what you should have left at home, what you did that worked out well. I refine my checklist with each tour.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
    If you plan on doing it again, bring a little notebook and write down your thoughts - what you should have brought, what you should have left at home, what you did that worked out well. I refine my checklist with each tour.
    +1

  9. #9
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    And a first time for both of us.
    Have fun. Are you going to try the trailer on this trip?

  10. #10
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Have fun. Are you going to try the trailer on this trip?
    Yes. I've named the trailer the Wussy Wagon, in 'honor' of a slam a roadie made at me a month ago. Expect a full report on Monday, provided we make it back.

  11. #11
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Yes. I've named the trailer the Wussy Wagon.

  12. #12
    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
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    Have a good trip.
    Suntree, Fl.
    Burley Hudson (n+3)
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    crazyguyonabike.com/lighthorse

  13. #13
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    If you live in a loud urban area, you may get freaked out by the "quiet" when camping. Background/white noise may be helpfull to get a restfull sleep (ie an ipod/radio).
    mmmm coffeee!

    email: jfoneg (_"a t symbol thing"_) yahoo (_"period or dot"_) com

  14. #14
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Or depending on the area, it can get really **LOUD** while camping in a remote area. You be surprised how loud frogs, insects, birds, and other creatures can be.

  15. #15
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    Camping is like sitting down. I sit down at home, I sit down when I am away from home. Probably a whole technology could be developed (actually it has) for at home and away from home sitting.

    There is nothing to camping, you put up the tent, dump your mattress and sleeping bag in there and go to sleep. Sleeping is just a zen thing where you empty your mind of any crap that may be keeping you awake. You will notice different noises, but eventually you will fall asleep (or this won't even be an issue).

    Ditch the pillows, just ball up some of your extra clothes and gear. This is early season yet for many areas, double check your temp rating on your bag. You can sleep with various clothes etc... Be sure to bring a beanie it will ad a lot of warmth. On the other hand, some parts of the US are pretty warm right now.

    Have fun.

  16. #16
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel View Post
    If you live in a loud urban area, you may get freaked out by the "quiet" when camping. Background/white noise may be helpfull to get a restfull sleep (ie an ipod/radio).
    I live in the country. "NeilFein", however, is terribly urban. This trip could blow his mind. :-)

  17. #17
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
    If you plan on doing it again, bring a little notebook and write down your thoughts - what you should have brought, what you should have left at home, what you did that worked out well. I refine my checklist with each tour.
    Neil F. brought a personal tape recorder - I guess they don't use tape nowadays, but you know what I mean.

  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Route:

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/126863

    Trail we are taking:

    http://www.montcopa.org/parks/perkio.../Perkiomen.htm

    Destination:

    http://parks.montcopa.org/parks/cwp/view,A,1516,Q,26377,parksNav,|.asp

  19. #19
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Route:

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/126863

    Trail we are taking:

    http://www.montcopa.org/parks/perkio.../Perkiomen.htm

    Destination:

    http://parks.montcopa.org/parks/cwp/view,A,1516,Q,26377,parksNav,|.asp
    What worked:

    Trailer - an excellent idea, although it's gonna take time to get used to hauling it, and the tent, and the sleeping bag, and.....

    Tent - the Columbia Lost Lake, a two person tent, was enough room for me, my gear, and enough space to prevent claustrophobia.

    Camping - I've never camped before, but I didn't find the process too difficult.

    What didn't work:

    Sunscreen - I forgot to apply it today, and despite the cloud cover above I have sunburned ears.

    Sleeping pad - My foam pad didn't do much to make me comfortable. Perhaps an air mattress is the next step.

    Panniers - I used them with the trailer the first day. Bad idea. The bike became unstable, and I wobbled all over the place. When I used the trailer alone, I became much more stable. However, then I was carrying heavy panniers in the trailer.

    Interpersonal relationships - things became strained between Neil F. and I during much of the tour. He rode alone during half of the final day. Although we have reconciled since then, this may have been our last joint tour.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
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    Sleeping pad - My foam pad didn't do much to make me comfortable. Perhaps an air mattress is the next step.
    Try a Thermarest or similar inflatable pad for backpacking, not a car-camping air mattress that requires a lot of blowing up.

    Panniers - I used them with the trailer the first day. Bad idea. The bike became unstable, and I wobbled all over the place. When I used the trailer alone, I became much more stable. However, then I was carrying heavy panniers in the trailer.
    Front or back? with a trailer, the panniers should probably be in front, to prevent overly light steering - but you probably don't need that much storage, anyway.

    Interpersonal relationships - things became strained between Neil F. and I during much of the tour. He rode alone during half of the final day. Although we have reconciled since then, this may have been our last joint tour.
    Well, that's a toughie, sorry to hear it. It's really hard to tour with other people, even your friends. Maybe you can talk about what happened, and you might be able to find a solution. If not, better to keep the friendship and tour separately. Also, even if you do tour together, you don't have to do everything together - if one person is an earlier riser, he can get going first and you can meet up later - same with faster/slower speeds on the road, amount of stopping desired, etc. You can even separate for a few days at a time and then get back together. I found that a lot of problems can be solved by examining the assumptions you are both making, and then reality-checking them.

    Also, kudos for you for not sharing the details, you guys can work it out between you without a whole bunch of strangers muddying the waters.

    Good luck, and don't give up!

    Peace.
    ...

  21. #21
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Try a Thermarest or similar inflatable pad for backpacking, not a car-camping air mattress that requires a lot of blowing up.
    Note that the key with these is figuring out how much air they need. Too little and you bottom out, too much and they are hard. A little practice and you can get them just right.

  22. #22
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Front or back? with a trailer, the panniers should probably be in front, to prevent overly light steering - but you probably don't need that much storage, anyway.

    Well, that's a toughie, sorry to hear it. It's really hard to tour with other people, even your friends. Maybe you can talk about what happened, and you might be able to find a solution. If not, better to keep the friendship and tour separately. Also, even if you do tour together, you don't have to do everything together - if one person is an earlier riser, he can get going first and you can meet up later - same with faster/slower speeds on the road, amount of stopping desired, etc. You can even separate for a few days at a time and then get back together. I found that a lot of problems can be solved by examining the assumptions you are both making, and then reality-checking them.

    Also, kudos for you for not sharing the details, you guys can work it out between you without a whole bunch of strangers muddying the waters.

    Good luck, and don't give up!

    Peace.
    The bike is a Trek 7.5 fx. According to John Schubert in the latest Adventure Cycling, it's unsuited to touring because it has a carbon fork, and hence no place for a front rack. One reason I was so tired the first day was balancing such a misloaded bike for 36 miles.

    The problems seemed to stem from my partner's inexperience camping. He didn't have a good time in his bivy sack style tent, he didn't sleep well, and he had no coffee. Once we reconciled we discussed possible future tours, with the idea that, just as you propose, we would keep individual paces and perhaps separate for a few days. That would spare us the tedium of visiting a historic site that only one of us wants to see - the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, for instance, was an enjoyable stop for me on this trip, but only climbing for Neil F.

  23. #23
    Has opinion, will express
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    Oops. There goes the kudos out the window.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  24. #24
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Oops. There goes the kudos out the window.
    I hardly consider those excessive details. Besides, it's potentially an interesting discussion for the forum. At least more so than another "I Love My LHT" thread.

  25. #25
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    True. Sorry, I couldn't resist. The dynamics of joint bicycle touring are interesting, and can tear apart what was previously a healthy relationship. But as always, there are two sides and to be fair to Neil, we really do need to hear his if we are to discuss it further.

    On any tour, there are compromises that *have* to be made, and I think there was a recent thread that discussed some ideas of how the ways can be smoothed. valygrl's comments on establishing expectations beforehand are very soundly based. A key element definitely is patience, followed by an acceptance of each other's foibles.

    I don't know how far you guys went with this beforehand. I do know Neil's excitement was palpable, judging from his most recent pre-tour posts. Simple things can be missed or forgotten when setting out on what really seemed to be a major adventure for him.

    The worst thing that can happen is to play the blame game.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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