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How Often Do You Go Camping?


indianahiker
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I have been camping since I was born. Growing up I did most of my camping trips in a travel trailer. As I got older and married my wife and I began our family we started camping in a tent and have not upgraded beyond that. We would go car camping a couple of times a summer, but I always had an itch to go.

In addition to camping I also did a lot of hiking growing up but stopped as a teen and it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I start getting back into day hiking again. The hiking again was a hit miss thing for several years and most of it was when I visited my parents in Maryville TN again this hit/miss hiking began another itch to be out in the wilderness more often. I also slowly began purchasing equipment for camping in the back country but had never done it; this all changed a couple of years ago.

In April of 2013 a friend and I decided that we would venture on our first back country camping trip. We didn’t go far into the back country since I was unsure if my equipment would be sufficient enough so we decided to camp within a mile of our vehicle but it felt like the car was 100 miles from us. I survived that first night and we made a pact that from that point forward that we would go camping at least once a month. It did not matter if we would go together for these trips and neither did location, type of camping, and number of nights but what did matter was that at least once a month we would be out camping. I am happy to say that he and I both have maintained this pact, even through the “Polar Vortexes” of last winter.

On some occasions we would go with our families and car camp vs together in the back country and on other occasions we would get a new piece of equipment that we needed to try so we would camp in a local state forest close to the vehicles to test that equipment, we did this a lot last winter when temps fell to single digits at night and wind chills would be around -20F. There were other times due to our schedules that we just couldn’t get the time to go period but I would venture into the woods behind my home just to get that night in, this also allowed me to backyard camp with my kids which they love to do.

He and I have since ventured well beyond the vehicles and into the back country. We have been at this monthly camping trip for almost two years and have no plan to stop anytime soon. In some instances people would get burnt out on doing something too often but for us we can’t get enough of the outdoors. We are constantly trying to go even more often than that one time a month. I begin thinking of the next trip before I get home from the trip I just completed. There is so much to do and see; I can’t get enough of it. This leads me to pose a question to the Trail Groove community; how often do you go camping?

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I have been camping since I was born. Growing up I did most of my camping trips in a travel trailer. As I got older and married my wife and I began our family we started camping in a tent and have not upgraded beyond that. We would go car camping a couple of times a summer, but I always had an itch to go.

In addition to camping I also did a lot of hiking growing up but stopped as a teen and it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I start getting back into day hiking again. The hiking again was a hit miss thing for several years and most of it was when I visited my parents in Maryville TN again this hit/miss hiking began another itch to be out in the wilderness more often. I also slowly began purchasing equipment for camping in the back country but had never done it; this all changed a couple of years ago.

In April of 2013 a friend and I decided that we would venture on our first back country camping trip. We didn’t go far into the back country since I was unsure if my equipment would be sufficient enough so we decided to camp within a mile of our vehicle but it felt like the car was 100 miles from us. I survived that first night and we made a pact that from that point forward that we would go camping at least once a month. It did not matter if we would go together for these trips and neither did location, type of camping, and number of nights but what did matter was that at least once a month we would be out camping. I am happy to say that he and I both have maintained this pact, even through the “Polar Vortexes” of last winter.

On some occasions we would go with our families and car camp vs together in the back country and on other occasions we would get a new piece of equipment that we needed to try so we would camp in a local state forest close to the vehicles to test that equipment, we did this a lot last winter when temps fell to single digits at night and wind chills would be around -20F. There were other times due to our schedules that we just couldn’t get the time to go period but I would venture into the woods behind my home just to get that night in, this also allowed me to backyard camp with my kids which they love to do.

He and I have since ventured well beyond the vehicles and into the back country. We have been at this monthly camping trip for almost two years and have no plan to stop anytime soon. In some instances people would get burnt out on doing something too often but for us we can’t get enough of the outdoors. We are constantly trying to go even more often than that one time a month. I begin thinking of the next trip before I get home from the trip I just completed. There is so much to do and see; I can’t get enough of it. This leads me to pose a question to the Trail Groove community; how often do you go camping?

I was like you and about 12 years ago went camping every single month for a two year period, sometimes at really remote locations and other times just locally. Just the discipline of planning, prepping, packing, etc every month was a great learning experience. Had a lot of fun camping and got to do things I had never tried before. For instance, it was the first time I had camped through out the winter months. Previously, I had many backpacking trips, but always in the spring, summer, or fall. I'm still not much of a winter guy, but I know I can do it if I want to.

Gary M

Olathe, Kansas

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In my youth, I used to do winter camping-always on skis-but I was a lot tougher then. These days, it's out at least every other weekend from June through September and if the weather holds, into October. Almost all of those trips are backpacking-I don't like camping near vehicle access. You actually don't need to be too far from a road to get a real backcountry experience. A mile is usually sufficient. My wife and I have two week long trips already planed for the coming summer, along with several 3 dayers.

I still go for a hike every day. Yesterday was about 6 miles and 2000'. Pretty lucky I can do that out the back door.

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Started camping as a minion, then the parents decided the family lake house was easier and we only camped a few times over 7 years or so. When I turned 18 the dad rented the lake house out and I've never been able to go back (grrrrr).

About that time the mom and I moved to Seattle and I got a pretty good job and had some good outgoing friends so I invested in some camping gear. "Dude, $480 for a tent?" in 1988 was a common laugh, only I still have and use that Eureka! tent today. I picked up a good bit of basic gear and car-camped/motorcycle camped on average 10-15 weekends (mostly 3-day) a year until moving to Tampa Bay. That was 7 years where the camping was crap so I did other things but still had the gear. In '02 I moved to Knoxville, TN (the first time in my life I got to pick where I wanted to move instead of having circumstances dictate). Right off the bat my camping gear came back out and I spent the first holiday weekend camping out on a lake that I found in one of my numerous travels here. Well, to be honest, it wasn't by choice though I had a blast. Apparently moving in on July 4th weekend wasn't a good idea, especially when the apartment wasn't ready and my life was held in 2 U-haul trucks. Thankfully the camping gear was within reach so off I went.

A couple years ago I started to refine the gear that I had since '88 and started camping a lot more. Since around 2010 I average easily 25-30 weekends camping. Kayak camping, backpacking, car camping, motorcycle camping (dual-sports exploring out on trails until we just find a great spot then stop and camp). The world has really opened up with better gear and when situations changed again I invested quite a bit into the higher-end stuff that I knew would last me until I probably couldn't camp anymore. Along the way I branched things out even further to keep them fresh by getting into Hammock Camping as well as tent camping though with our myriad of bugs I tend to want at least some sort of screen/net around me (so far no tarp-only or cowboy camping). Out of easily hundreds of nights outdoors there might be a handful that I regretted and in all of them it was a lack of proper gear and unexpected weather changes that killed them. Even those often led to funny stories not that I wanted to repeat them.

Over the years I have introduced the sport to several friends, my (now ex) wife, a few current hiking/camping buddies, etc. Most of them went on to invest in their own gear and have taken to the sport even if it isn't quite on my scale. At this point even the sister says I need to just find a way to turn my love of the outdoors into a profession and with 18 years of sales experience maybe she's onto something. I just have no idea where to start. <grin>

If there was one thing I could change it would be to add a few fresh faces every couple of camping adventures. People who knew the spots I didn't, people I could learn more from as I've always become the defacto leader. There is so much out there that I don't know, so many places to see and things to do and stories to hear so yes, if there was one thing I would gladly change is to find more like-minded adventurers.

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Not often enough is my answer! :)

Excellent answer! Goes along with "What's the perfect number of motorcycles?" Answer? Always one more!

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Opi - I think it is awesome you have bagged 25 nights and want 30 this year. Good Luck! However, and no disrespect intended, I do believe the backyard counts when you are not even within sight of any buildings and particularly doing this with your children and their friends (quality family time). I have a rather decent size woods behind my house that I utilize for these "backyard" camp outs and my kids love it. I have one child that is going to start backpacking with me in the near future (this Spring) but as for the others they are not sold on this idea yet. Edited by indianahiker
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AdventureMyk - I feel your pain about being the defacto leader a lot of the time, at least that's how it feels at the time of the trip, but if I am honest I am the go to guy to plan the trip as to when and where we go, another friend of mine is the go to for gear and equipment and my third buddy that goes is the bushcraft one and good entertainment.

My first back country trip was done in a hammock vs a tent (which I already had) and have pretty much stuck with this 99% of the time. Only twice in the last two years have I used a tent; first time because of the single digit temps (not sure how warm I would stay in the hammock) and the second time was because I could. Both times I did not sleep as well as I do in my hammock, but if I go someplace where there may not be any trees for a good hammock hang I can go to the ground, I just have to know this potential before the trip; planning, planning, planning...

My parents just moved back to Indiana from your neck of the woods (Maryville, TN) and I have had mountain withdraws ever since. I do intend on getting down in that region and doing some backpacking trips but getting the like minded people to commit to it is a little difficult; plus if I go to S.E. TN without my children I think they may kick me out of the house if not worse, it is one of their favorite places to visit.

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