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Camping Questions

Old 07-07-18, 12:06 PM
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Camping Questions

Iím the past few years Iíve done some multi-day rides from my house, and stayed at B&Bís and motels. I can afford the $100 or so for the infrequent times I do such rides. However, Iím drawn to the idea of bringing tent/bag/pad on these trips for a few reasons: new gear to obsess over ;-), I like the outdoors, and I like the idea of perhaps having more options at night for where to sleep...which is handy when other accommodations are unavailable (like when I decide on one of these rides last minute). Iím planning to do more of these rides in the future, so the investment may be worth it.

I havenít camped for years, have never camped alone, have never stealth camped, and Iíve never carried that additional weight on my bike (I have a 15L seatbag that holds spare clothes and toiletries with room to spare).

Questions:
- after a day of riding (alone), when you arrive at your camp and set up, what do you do? I can read,
listen to a podcast, but I sense I may get bored. And those small tents donít look comfortable to hang out in. And if outside is a mosquito frenzy I fear Iíll be frustrated. Keep in mind Iím riding within hours from home (Ontario Canada), and as such itís nit like touring new and exciting cities
- regarding strealth camping, if my only option, I assume itís best to pitch the tent on public / crown lands, avoiding trespassing on private property? Iím thinking forests not far from roads or rail trails, back corners of parks in rural towns...Iím sure Iím missing lots of options
- Iím using my cross bike and donít want to add racks and panniers; with the 15L I already have, what additional bags would I need for the camping gear? I realize there are lots of options, and Iíve watched plenty of videos, but havenít watched one that makes me think Ďthatís for meí
- Iím riding in areas with restaurants and such, so will not be cooking, however, I figure Iíll need extra snacks at night and mornings. Question is safety in storing these snacks (no bears where I will be riding, but there are raccoons and coyotes, mice, etc.), any issues with storing the food in the tent with me?

Pretty long note already so Iíll stop there. Thanks!
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Old 07-07-18, 12:15 PM
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I like to cook a nice dinner and then read after I set up. Or just relax and enjoy the view. if I am staying in a town, checking out any local watering hole is usually interesting. Never get bored.

Don't think you will have problems keeping food in your tent while you are in it. Wouldn't leave food in it unattended if there are critters around. I did that once when I went to visit a national historic site. When I got back, I found a squirrel had chewed through the mesh siding to get at a loaf of bread. I sometimes store food in the campground bathrooms if I am concerned about bears or other critters.
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Old 07-07-18, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
if I am staying in a town, checking out any local watering hole is usually interesting. Never get bored.
When I stay at B&Bís I often visit the local pub and have a long dinner and a couple beers. I guess I would do the same if camping.
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Old 07-07-18, 12:59 PM
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I almost always stay at parks or campgrounds. In parks there are often things to do or sights to see. And at the end of a long day, I find that I enjoy sleeping a few more hours than I usually would, I never find myself in the evening looking for things to keep from getting bored.

If you have not camped in years, you might consider doing your first camping trip in your back yard if you have one so that you know your stuff will work, etc. Or perhaps car camping at a nearby park. Trying too many things all at once can get a bit overwhelming.
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Old 07-07-18, 01:10 PM
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another option

Hostels can be less than B&B , but not Camping.. sleep inside has showers, etc..

Not as many in US/CDN, as in Europe though...
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Old 07-07-18, 02:29 PM
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Well, if you stayed in a hotel, what would you do after checking in?? Bask in the glow of a great ride done. Read an ongoing book. Write in your journal. Fall asleep if it was a hard ride. Go to the store to buy dinner. Cook dinner. Clean up from dinner. Take a shower (if at a campground). Ride or walk into town if its touristy. Talk to other campers. Be talked to by other campers. Clean the bike. Wash the shorts and shirt. Gee, I never had much of a complaint on after-ride boredom!
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Old 07-07-18, 04:06 PM
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I recommend the following from my first touring experience to a state park about 50 miles away (YMMV):

-Pack for EVERY eventuality, then double it (using a trailer is a must). Think you'll need a screw driver? Bring 2 (one might break)... One bicycle pump? HA! Bring a pump for the pump... Your tool bag should weigh anywhere from 20-35 pounds.
-Be MACHO! Tell your riding partner that you can "carry it all" and "of course bring a hair dryer!"
-Pillows. Bring ALL the pillows, regular pillows, queen size pillows, body pillows, neck pillows, what ever she wants.
-Arrive hours after your projected time to the park and in the dark if at all possible.
-Take control of the entire "set-up process". Be as methodical and fussy as you can here because "haste makes waste". It is ESPECIALLY important to put off resting and eating until every last detail is correct (IMPORTANT: refuse ALL help).
-Wet wood for fires. Trying to start a fire with wet wood builds character. NEVER buy "seasoned" or "kiln dried" wood.
-Be as grumpy as possible. Surly even.

I'm an experienced camper but inexperienced with touring. My first tour was quite a wake-up call but I'm hooked! My next tour, in November, we'll be travelling MUCH lighter and sharing the load (though she doesn't know it yet ).

I enjoy the activity of camping itself and the hiking and exploring are icing on the cake. It CAN get boring, but that's what naps are for. Anyway, enjoy being away from the city and really try to find beauty in your surroundings. Not all parks are created equal but I always try to find parks that: allow camp fires, allow alcohol, have areas with and WITHOUT electrical hook ups, have either a river or hiking trails and are off the beaten path.

Bon Voyage!
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Old 07-07-18, 04:47 PM
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I did my first tours from hotel to hotel/ B&B and got back into camping after a 25+ year gap because I wanted to go further for less money.

Now, I think I love the camping as much as being on the bike!

I can't offer any advice on where you can camp, but my usual routine would be different if I'm in a campsite or wild camping.
Campsite routine is to set up camp, do chores - laundry, bike and cook dinner. Then relax.
If I'm wild camping I'll try to eat before I pitch my tent and pitch my tent as darkness is falling. Then it's read & sleep.... or just sleep.

If being bored is a genuine worry, then seriously consider a kindle! A great bit if electronics to have. Books, magazines, whatever you want to have on it. For longer tours I'll send important info & maps to it as a document/PDF file - great to have as a backup. But I can't recall ever being bored!

The one advantage of a tent strapped to your bike is that you have almost total freedom to go where you want when you want.
Happy Trails!
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Old 07-07-18, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo
Gee, I never had much of a complaint on after-ride boredom!
Yeah. If I were to get bored it would more likely happen when I staying in a hotel.
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Old 07-07-18, 06:39 PM
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One of the reasons I tour is so that I can do nothing at the end of the day.
When I tour solo I don't usually cook - too many chores - I just have sandwiches and fruit - cookies, too.
I am perfectly content to do a little walking up the stream and find a nice rock to sit on.
And I usually prefer not having any wifi signal so as not to be tempted.

PS - Raccoons can shred your tent trying to get to food - much more of a nuisance than bears.
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Old 07-07-18, 08:29 PM
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My recommendation would be to go to MEC, rent some gear, and spend a weekend camping. See if you like it. If the weekend ends and you can't wait to get home ... maybe it's not for you.

https://www.mec.ca/en/explore/gear-rentals
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Old 07-07-18, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
One of the reasons I tour is so that I can do nothing at the end of the day.
When I tour solo I don't usually cook - too many chores - I just have sandwiches and fruit - cookies, too.
I am perfectly content to do a little walking up the stream and find a nice rock to sit on.
And I usually prefer not having any wifi signal so as not to be tempted.

PS - Raccoons can shred your tent trying to get to food - much more of a nuisance than bears.
Oh yeah! Varmints! I'm usually up pretty late enjoying the night and campfire and I often see racoon and rats. Made the mistake of not "hiding" my trash a couple of times only to find it scattered around the site.

NEVER store your food in or around your tent or bedding or clothes. That is unless, of course, you don't mind some animal chewing and ripping it's way through to em!
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Old 07-07-18, 11:37 PM
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When I pull up for the night, Tent up, gear inside, radio playing, boiling a coffee, and cook my dinner and feed the dog. Spend time playing with him, trying to tire him out. Then later if it is comfortable outside, not to cold or buggy, will sit and ponder, the world away. Actually that is my favourite pastime, relaxing, thinking and listening to the wildlife. In the tent I read paperback, listen to radio, hit the sack almost by 10 each night. Up in the morning much the same as the last evening. It Is bloody enjoyable do touring that way for me.
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Old 07-08-18, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by DanBraden
I'm usually up pretty late enjoying the night and campfire and I often see racoon and rats. Made the mistake of not "hiding" my trash a couple of times only to find it scattered around the site.
Heh. Been there. Done that. A few years ago I awoke to a blonde skunk rummaging through the trash I forgot to hang from the lantern pole. During that same trip I caught a raccoon dragging away one of panniers in the middle of the night. It was empty, but during the day it had held a very aromatic everything bagel. My guess is that the smell had lingered. Even once had a feral cat get my garbage before I had a chance to dispose of it.

Then there were these guys last year. Heard some chattering in the trees while reading by the campfire so I turned on the headlamp. Clearly plotting evil.

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Old 07-08-18, 05:44 AM
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You seem to have things figured out regarding "stealth" camping, staying on public land. I do that a lot. I wait until late in the day to set up, just before sunset. Often I'll linger in an interesting place in the late afternoon, or in harsh weather it'll be an heated/cool/dry place. For longer periods in camp, I carry puzzles like crosswords and Sudoku, which seldom get touched. I spend some time with maps and a journal.

One issue with that kind of camping is the toilet. Be prepared to dig a "cat hole." I carry one aluminum snow tent stake for that purpose.

I also carry a 50' length of paracord for hanging food if I need to leave the site, even "for a sec." I once walked a few steps to a lake shore to watch a sunset, and returned to find my food scattered by ravens. Another time, during a walk to a creek to wash up a bit, an ermine dug into and destroyed the pack with the food in it.

Consider a small backpack for the extra gear. I can't do that, but a friend of mine does. Or a seatpost rack with a larger trunk bag and small panniers.

And keep the gear minimal! Look at single-wall silnylon shelters, like those made by Tarptent. And a backpacking quilt vs a bag, as made by enLightened Equipment. Four to six nights in a hotel may pay for both of those, and I've spent hundreds of nights in mine.

I'm a veteran stoveless camper. That keeps things simple and the pack smaller.
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Old 07-08-18, 06:57 AM
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- There's more chores camping, so that takes time, but otherwise I do pretty much the same stuff, including surfing the net (where there's signal) and taking a shower while wild camping. Wear a bug head net while outside, and my tent has neat bug-bailing thing so I don't need to zip through net doors, or remove shoes inside.
- Yes, I like public land where you are allowed to be at least during daylight hours. I travel unusually compact and light, and so can comfortably carry everything ~1/4 mile backpack-like. The deeper into the woods and off-trail I am, the early I can set-up, later I can take-down, and more I can relax and enjoy the camping experience.
- My incremental camping gear (double wall tent, down quilt, 2.5" mattress/pillow, stove/kitchen/bar) comes in at 5lbs/10L (to ~45F).... but for camping add another 5L for a day or two of food and extra water, so +15L - think you could do that on your gravel bike without a rack/panniers with a frame bag and handlebar bag, basically a bikepacking set-up. My capacity is 30L, I typically use 25L.
- I use an ALoksak Opsak (HD odorproof ziploc) to store food, and my garbage opsak is inside the food one (double bagged), it stays in the tent with me, never a problem.
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Old 07-08-18, 07:24 AM
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Who says you have to setup camp early. I generally search out the campsite and find a campsite during daylight but I never set up camp before 11PM. Generally by then the mosquitoes have went to bed for the night, not always and I don't have them to deal with when I set up camp/sleep. Search out the campsite and then head into town, Grab supper, ride under moonlight, whatever. Just hang out away from the campsite until your normal bedtime and then off to the campsite and setup camp and head straight to bed. That will help you kill plenty of time, keep you away from the bugs and boredom.
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Old 07-10-18, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by HobbesOnTour
If I'm wild camping I'll try to eat before I pitch my tent and pitch my tent as darkness is falling. Then it's read & sleep.... or just sleep.
I second this. If you're stealth camping, especially in a semi urban environment, it's best to hang around your campsite for a bit and see how much traffic there is, and only pitch your tent when it starts to get dark. I had success camping on baseball fields of a couple rural schools during the summer when no one was there. One even had a dugout with an outlet where I charged my phone . I also camped in a secluded community park once. It helps if you ask another cyclist or someone local for ideas about where you could just pitch a tent and sleep for a night. If you're lucky, they might even give you a place to stay.

Usually when I camp, I'll eat something, read or write in a journal, and go to bed whenever it gets dark. That way I'm up with the sun the next morning and I have some time to ride before it gets hot out. Depending on the area, sometimes I'll ride into town to get a bite to eat, or buy a beer at the grocery store and take it back to my tent. As far as food, I keep one front pannier for all my scented things (food, deodorant, etc) and hang it up on a tree with bungie cords. Bears are rare where I live, but they're still a concern, so better safe than sorry.
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Old 07-10-18, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Yeah. If I were to get bored it would more likely happen when I staying in a hotel.
That's why they put TVs in every motel room.
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Old 07-10-18, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
That's why they put TVs in every motel room.
So substitute brain dead for bored.
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Old 07-10-18, 11:48 AM
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Since everyone is hauling electronics around these days
you youngsters stare at your phone, as usual , I guess ..;/

I Brought a Pocket Mandolin, so looked for Pub Sessions to sit in at,
in western Ireland & Scotland..

For Months, as I went Along..
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Old 07-10-18, 11:56 AM
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Bob, it's funny you comment about kids staring at their phones when you have 34,151 posts on an internet forum
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Old 07-10-18, 12:05 PM
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Im at home, (land line) World Cup on TV.. bye..
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Old 07-10-18, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet
Bob, it's funny you comment about kids staring at their phones when you have 34,151 posts on an internet forum
While I get what he's saying about those personality destroying devices, this was a pretty good zinger!

Side note:: sometimes people are better off with their noses shoved into their phones than into my business! MAH BIDNESS!!!
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Old 07-11-18, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
PS - Raccoons can shred your tent trying to get to food - much more of a nuisance than bears.
You are from Wyoming...one of the last states to have grizzly bears. What are you doing storing any food in your tent? I've seen exactly one bear in my several decades of existence and consider them to be mythic beings like snipes but I would never take food into a tent. I'm careful to not take clothes I've worn while cooking into the tent. That's Camping 101 for people who live in bear country.
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