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Old 08-29-12, 08:54 AM   #1
chefisaac
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Camping, another question

If you are on a tour and want to set up camp early and then ride into town, do you ever worry about stuff getting stollen? For example, if I was to camp at a state park or camp ground and wanted to go into town, do you all set up camp first and then explore or???
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Old 08-29-12, 09:03 AM   #2
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I've been car camping, backpacking, bike camping, etc. and I've never had anything stolen. Most of my experience in state and national parks has been fantastic and the people that are campers are absolutely wonderful. So yes, unload set up camp and grab your bike to head into town.
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Old 08-29-12, 09:10 AM   #3
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I mostly don't do that. When touring I emphasize the riding, I don't have a lot left at the end of the day. I would not leave much more than a tent up. And if I left for town, when I got there I could not for the most part leave my bike unattended. While touring the whole setup up is really pretty expensive. I do carry a shackle lock, and with an ultralite approach one could have so little gear it would be possible to do a tour where one took in a lot of sights without risk of loosing much.

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Old 08-29-12, 10:02 AM   #4
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I don't do a lot of sightseeing or whatnot at the end of the day, but do often ride to get groceries, eat dinner, or hit the library or post office. I sometimes leave my bike to walk and sometimes just leave the tent and camp stuff. In any case I typically don't worry about it. I can recall a couple cases where we stashed all of our stuff inside the tent, but both of those were when we were camping in a picnic area of a town park.

I have had stuff stolen 3 times on tour, but never from the campsite. I did have a pump go AWOL while I was in Walmart, a pair of Crocs and a biner while in a grocery store, and a phone left charging in the men's room of a private campground.
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Old 08-29-12, 11:10 AM   #5
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I've never had anything stolen from a campsite, nor on tour for that matter. I do leave my tent set up with belongings inside while making grocery runs or while hiking. That said, the vast majority of the time my stuff is with me or in my sight. I generally rely on my feel for the surroundings as to whether to leave my things unattended. This "vibe method" is [strike]probably[/strike] naive, but after 15,000 touring miles it's worked for me.

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Old 08-29-12, 11:57 AM   #6
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I wouldn't leave anything tempting to steal inside or near a tent if exploring into town. The tent, sleeping bag, clothes and such isn't tempting. Leaving a cell phone, ipad, wallet is something that would tempt people to steal. Take your valuables with you...
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Old 08-29-12, 12:11 PM   #7
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All electronics, wallet, and anything I consider valuable go with me. My handlebar bag usually has these items in it already. Sure, you could argue that a $300 tent is valuable, but others don't see it that way. I usually leave clothes, tent, sleeping bag and pad in the tent. Zip it up and don't worry about it. Cooking gear might stay in a pannier that sits near a picnic table or somewhere (depending on bear/wildlife risk).
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Old 08-29-12, 04:07 PM   #8
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Leaving a cell phone, ipad, wallet is something that would tempt people to steal. Take your valuables with you...
Good point. I didn't mention that assuming that it was a given, but I guess it does need to be said. If you have a decent camera it would be in that category as well.
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Old 08-29-12, 05:15 PM   #9
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I was gone from a state park for several hours. Gear in tent 'cept valuables mentioned. Returned to find a bag of sandwiches and a pint of chocolate milk at the tent. Had been left by a sweet little old lady for the 'homeless man.' Afraid it became food for homeless animals. I'm not real particular about what I eat, but this was just too strange, even for me.

Opposite of having something stolen, which I never have. Folks in state, national parks generally behave. The one's who might not, don't seem to be fond of nature.
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Old 08-29-12, 09:40 PM   #10
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After a few days of touring, your tent is going to look dirty, your sleeping bag will smell, and no one in their right mind will want to steal those.

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Sure, you could argue that a $300 tent is valuable
$300 tent?? Dang, that's more then I spend on my bicycles and gear combined.
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Old 08-29-12, 10:45 PM   #11
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Never assume anything. I was on a van supported tour and had a rider get off his bike near the entrance to Lassen Nat'l Park to snap a few pictures. This is in a remote mountainous area with no cities within 80 miles. An SUV pulled up next to his bike leaning on the guardrail, a woman passenger jumped out, and attempted to wrestle his bike into the SUV. The rider yelled and ran up, the bike was dropped, and the SUV sped off (no pictures snapped of it, unluckily.)

If you have to leave cooking gear and bags in the tent, try and hide them with an unzipped sleeping bag....
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Old 08-30-12, 04:39 AM   #12
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Never had anything stolen from a campsite. I do have a tiny padlock on the zip, reasoning that this minimal precaution might deter lazy thieves
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Old 08-30-12, 05:38 AM   #13
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I was gone from a state park for several hours. Gear in tent 'cept valuables mentioned. Returned to find a bag of sandwiches and a pint of chocolate milk at the tent. Had been left by a sweet little old lady for the 'homeless man.' Afraid it became food for homeless animals. I'm not real particular about what I eat, but this was just too strange, even for me.

Opposite of having something stolen, which I never have. Folks in state, national parks generally behave. The one's who might not, don't seem to be fond of nature.
I would have eaten them, but maybe I am overly trusting after having been the recipient of much kindness on tour.

I have never had food left in the tent, but have quite a few times been given food or drink, and most often at times were we really could use it. One of my favorites was the ice cold unopened blue Powerade that was standing in the road as were rode the long hill into an Idaho campground of a scorching hot day. I figure that someone who rode by saw how hot and dry we were and stod it where we couldn't miss it. We still refer to it as "the blue Powerade from heaven". A Methodist minister who we rode with for a while said he was going to use our story in a sermon. I always wondered if he actually did.
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Old 08-30-12, 06:31 AM   #14
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I have never had a problem with theft at a State or National campground, but I also take anything tempting with me.

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Old 08-30-12, 06:31 AM   #15
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I would have eaten them, but maybe I am overly trusting after having been the recipient of much kindness on tour.
+1 One thing you learn while bicycle touring is: the vast majority of people in the world are good and kind.
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Old 08-30-12, 06:56 AM   #16
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I would have eaten them, but maybe I am overly trusting after having been the recipient of much kindness on tour.
If I had met the lady, I would certainly have eaten them. Someone at another camp site told me about the stranger stopping.
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Old 08-30-12, 07:51 AM   #17
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My touring style is such that I don't leave campsites unattended. I do my sight seeing and town visiting while still moving and tend to set up camp pretty late in the day. On a summer tour, especially this last summer, that was a good way to escape much of the heat.

I agree that campsites are typically a safe, secure environment. I generally don't worry about camping gear left behind, but definitely carry small valuables with me at all times, even for just a trip to the latrine. I do the same in restaurants--don't leave a bag of goodies and money on a table right by a door, for instance.

I think the bigger problem is ourselves. How often have you left something behind--a pair of cycling gloves, goggles, a map, your tent stakes, even a cell phone or camera? I even met a guy this year who left his helmet 30 miles back. If you're out for months, this is bound to happen, probably more likely than theft.

I think you should take precautions relative to the risk, and acknowledge that there's no way to secure your stuff every time you walk away from it. If losing your possessions is going to really change your life in a big way, then don't leave your stuff exposed. On my last tour, my approach was that if someone really wanted my 15 year-old steel bike and/or used camping gear, and were willing to cut an 1/8" cable to roll the bike away, they were going to get it. I would have been more upset about ending my tour than about the stuff.
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Old 08-30-12, 08:13 AM   #18
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If you are on a tour and want to set up camp early and then ride into town, do you ever worry about stuff getting stollen? For example, if I was to camp at a state park or camp ground and wanted to go into town, do you all set up camp first and then explore or???
1. Almost never.

2. I usually do when I am camping at a place near enough to a town I might like to explore.

If I am camping in a campground/area that's not easily visible and accessible to the general public, I don't think twice about theft. I have left my gear behind for many hours while doing out and back rides from camp. The only things I will take with me are some money, credit/ATM cards and ID, but I take those on just about any ride I do anyway. I don't think you are much at risk from fellow campers.

I did learn a lesson about the potential for non-camper theft while in WY. I was camping at a commerical campground on a large, open area that was right next to a dirt road that apparently led to some sort of housing/trailer park area. The only "security" was a short cattle-type fence between the camping area and the road. I was maybe a couple of hundred feet away from my tent reading outside the campground laundry room. I had left my camp stove out in plane veiw. Two teenagers drove down the roadand stopped. I got the sense they were eyeing up my stove. Sure enough one of the kids gets out of the car and walks to the fence. By then, I was walking most quickly towards my tent. The kid jumped back in the car and the two sped off. I created the perfect opportunity by leaving something valuable looking in plain site and within easy reach.
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Old 08-30-12, 10:25 AM   #19
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$300 tent?? Dang, that's more then I spend on my bicycles and gear combined.
That is great that you are frugal with your gear. While generally frugal in daily life, gear seems to be the thing I don't mind paying a bit more for if i know it will last.

My tent has made it through countless nights over the past 4 years, thunderstorms and hail, on bike tours and backpacking, and it is still going strong. It has paid for itself many times over if you consider the money saved by camping instead of sleeping in motels or otherwise.
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Old 08-30-12, 12:48 PM   #20
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In God I trust.......the rest of mankind has to earn it........I love you all but........I trust you as far as I can throw you.

I never really had any major problem over the years,missing fuel bottle,stupid stuff......Hell I might of got drunk and drank it.........All in all,I trust most campers,most of them will give you the shirt off their back if you need it,but I'm not leaving all my stuff anywhere while I go to town.

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Old 08-30-12, 04:34 PM   #21
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I've left my camp unattended fairly often. I've never had a problem, but I've met people who've been victims of petty theft. It all depends on the situation.

Put the rainfly on your tent so a potential thief has to worry about the possibility that someone is inside of it. Most people like to justify theft - "I only steal from walmart", "that guy probably wasn't using it anyway", ect. If you leave any gear, keep it stacked up and tidy so some kid can't tell himself he 'just found it'. When I leave my bike, I keep it loaded up. Stealing a bike is one thing, stealing a bike that someone is obviously living off of is a whole 'nother level of heartlessness.

All in all, I'd not worry about it too much. Just be sensible.
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Old 08-30-12, 04:39 PM   #22
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I was gone from a state park for several hours. Gear in tent 'cept valuables mentioned. Returned to find a bag of sandwiches and a pint of chocolate milk at the tent. Had been left by a sweet little old lady for the 'homeless man.' Afraid it became food for homeless animals. I'm not real particular about what I eat, but this was just too strange, even for me.

Opposite of having something stolen, which I never have. Folks in state, national parks generally behave. The one's who might not, don't seem to be fond of nature.

Hah, I've had that happen... A big jug of water once, and a plate of cookies, grapes, and snicker bars another time... The water was way out in the desert, made me laugh that someone actually found my spot. I also had someone close my rainfly for me when I left camp to get some food and it started raining before I got back.
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Old 08-30-12, 06:55 PM   #23
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When shopping, I bring the bike right into Wallyworld or super market. While sightseeing, I look for a family camping nearby to watch my site. Valuables go with me and panniers are in tent. Food bag gets hung if a family is watching the site. They'll notice a stranger going for it.
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Old 08-30-12, 09:37 PM   #24
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When I was a kid we went into some camper's tent and rummaged through their stuff. The camper saw us and chased us away.
That's the kind of stuff that would more likely happen. If I'm going to leave my camp I put it up where others can see it rather than in some secluded spot. I think it's less likely to be messed with if it's out in the open.
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Old 09-01-12, 01:11 PM   #25
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I'm currently on break from what is a 3 stage tour. Stage 1 to Ohio, visit with family and go to a separate event up in MI. Stage 2 roundtrip to St. Louis, MO. Stage 3 back up to NH.

I have been camping all but one night, that one due to heavy rainfall that started just before sunset and I didn't feel like setting up the tent in the pouring rain so I bailed into a hotel instead. I have always waited to set up camp until the last thing of the day before I go to bed. Quite often I'm not even getting to my campsite(stealth every night) until around sunset. The last two nights out on stage 2 I was getting into town right at/after sunset.

I look as I'm getting into town for places where their are few houses around(no one to report my camping to the police) and then someplace that might be a bit tucked away from the rest of society, church, cemetary, truck stop, gravel yard, etc. I will go on and eat, shop, etc and then after dark go back out and set up camp. The last two nights of stage 2 I didn't even start to set up camp until 9PM. The next to last night I didn't even know for sure where I was going to camp until minutes before I set up camp. It was the wildest location of all the locations I've chosen for a campsite thus far. I was 100 yards from the front door of McDonalds and 200 yards from the front door of Walmart. I was only 2 feet from a corn field. Sure it wasn't a quite location but I had no trouble sleeping there.

By waiting until late you don't have to worry about anybody stealing anything unless they steal it while you are in eating, etc. I generally toss just about everything but the backpack and bike in the tent with me when their are people around.

Learn to use Google Earth to find campsites. The night I camped, at a ballpark, in Auburn, IL I used to Google Earth to find the ballpark while I was still in Springfield, IL. Learn what to look for in a decent campsite, mentioned above, and then use Google Earth to find the locations that meet that criteria. You will be surprised at how easy it is to find locations before you ever leave home.
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