Author Topic: this camping malarky...  (Read 4472 times)

velosam

  • '.....you used to be an apple on a stick.'
this camping malarky...
« on: 17 June, 2021, 02:25:05 pm »
I would like to try it but have no idea as to even how to get going. I have watched the youtube videos etc, but do I just have to suck it up and see how it goes?

It does not help that I have no kit either, so any hints etc appreciated.

Also, is it best I just jump in and go wild camping or should I try a few campsites in the car first?

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #1 on: 17 June, 2021, 04:07:26 pm »
Best approach is probably to go with experienced camper(s), borrowing some of their n+1 kit.

Not sure about the car.  I find that the beauty of cycle-camping is that it enables you to bring enough kit for decent comfort, while avoiding carrying so much stuff that it just gives you more work to do (if you have masses of crockery/cutlery, you end up with a bowl full of washing-up, for example).

On the other hand, car camping means you can bring heavy/bulky items (cheap synthetic sleeping bags that are actually warm, tents you can stand up in, real pillows, steel pegs and mallets, decent chairs, kitchen roll) that aren't practical by bike.


quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #2 on: 17 June, 2021, 04:09:25 pm »

What ever you do, don't get a pop up tent, Fucking horrible things. Right pain in the arse.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #3 on: 17 June, 2021, 04:12:53 pm »
What ever you do, don't get a pop up tent, Fucking horrible things. Right pain in the arse.

Pop-up tents are absolutely brilliant[1] when you need something to keep the sun/rain away from your trackside babbage-engine (lest the jam go all runny and leak out, interfering with the acquisition of race results) that can be quickly erected by people who aren't familiar with the tent, and sorted out with mooncup-style contortions in the car park afterwards.

I wouldn't want to camp in one.



[1] This will be why nobody seems to make them in big-enough-to-stand-up-in sizes any more.  They've pretty much consolidated on the disposable-tat-for-festivals market.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #4 on: 17 June, 2021, 04:15:39 pm »
I would definitely go campsite first, save wild camping for when you know what you're doing. If you've never camped before, you won't know what bits of kit you really need, and what you can leave at home, so you'll probably end up taking more than you need but still find yourself missing essentials. Going to a well-appointed site means you're less likely to need much in the way of special kit - and there will probably be a shop on site where you can buy bits and pieces you do need. Camping kit is best acquired piecemeal over a number of years, as you learn what you need. Also helps to peruse the site and see what kit other people have for inspiration.

Fully agree with QG on pop-up tents. They go up easily enough but take forever to fold away!

Also, whatever tent you do take, practise setting it up and putting it away in your garden (or even a local park if you don't have a garden) before you go away. Not least because you don't know what conditions will be like when you have to do it for real (I once memorably had to pitch a family-size tent in the dark, in a howling gale and driving rain in Fort William while my wife and son sat in the car watching me and laughing).
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #5 on: 17 June, 2021, 04:19:41 pm »
Absolutely.  Wild camping is exactly the sort of thing that done badly can make you hate camping.

A fully-featured commercial site may be a bit bland, and full of noisy young people / stuffy caravanists (delete according to prejudice), but it's a great way to try out kit, and those sort of things are easier to discount, compared to the misery of toilet issues, running out of water or an encounter with a grumpy land-owner.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #6 on: 17 June, 2021, 04:21:57 pm »
What ever you do, don't get a pop up tent, Fucking horrible things. Right pain in the arse.

Pop-up tents are absolutely brilliant[1] when you need something to keep the sun/rain away from your trackside babbage-engine (lest the jam go all runny and leak out, interfering with the acquisition of race results) that can be quickly erected by people who aren't familiar with the tent, and sorted out with mooncup-style contortions in the car park afterwards.

I wouldn't want to camp in one.



[1] This will be why nobody seems to make them in big-enough-to-stand-up-in sizes any more.  They've pretty much consolidated on the disposable-tat-for-festivals market.

As long as you want to wander round with a 1 m diameter circle of doom, that is usually strapped to the back of things and forgotten about and used as a way of wreeking havoc on a central station crowd due to complete stupidity.

I have raced a friend with a pop up tent, vs my Vaude Hogan. I could get my tent up and pegged our faster than they could get their popup tent up and pegged out...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #7 on: 17 June, 2021, 04:24:21 pm »
The circle of doom isn't a problem when it's going in a van with a load of RFID aerials and cables and flags and stuff.

As I say, there are niche applications.  Cycle-camping/backpacking isn't one, unless you're planning to abandon it at your destination.

Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #8 on: 17 June, 2021, 04:32:25 pm »
You need to speak to that Torslanda chappie.  He never camped at least half a dozen times now and really doesn't enjoy it.  Honestly.

Hopefully folk will provide pictoral evidence of Torslanda not camping shortly ...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #9 on: 17 June, 2021, 04:33:22 pm »
I would definitely go campsite first, save wild camping for when you know what you're doing. If you've never camped before, you won't know what bits of kit you really need, and what you can leave at home, so you'll probably end up taking more than you need but still find yourself missing essentials. Going to a well-appointed site means you're less likely to need much in the way of special kit - and there will probably be a shop on site where you can buy bits and pieces you do need. Camping kit is best acquired piecemeal over a number of years, as you learn what you need. Also helps to peruse the site and see what kit other people have for inspiration.

Agreed, and you can always borrow things from neighbours, I've often borrowed a mallet when on a campsite. Or a squirt of washing up liquid when at the sinks. Etc...

Quote
Fully agree with QG on pop-up tents. They go up easily enough but take forever to fold away!

Also, whatever tent you do take, practise setting it up and putting it away in your garden (or even a local park if you don't have a garden) before you go away. Not least because you don't know what conditions will be like when you have to do it for real (I once memorably had to pitch a family-size tent in the dark, in a howling gale and driving rain in Fort William while my wife and son sat in the car watching me and laughing).

Agreed.

Some notes on choosing tents:

98% of all tent designs suck. Big time.

They look lovely and everything, until you have to put them up, in the rain, and in the wind. Any tent that requires you to feed a narrow pole through a sleeve was designed by someone who hasn't heard of wind. Any tent that is pitched inner first, and then an outer over the top, has never heard of rain. An inner first pitching tent is a place of misery when you put it up only to find your shelter is soaking wet before you've even climbed into it...

The problem is this basically rules out nearly every tent any of us can afford. The Vaude Hogan (original), and the Vaude Mark models (various sizes, various prices, hard to google for), are excellent in this regard. But you pay the price in it being a bit heavier. They are also not cheap.

I have a Luxe Sil Hexpeak, it's light weight, has room for two people (you need to buy a different inner for 2 people, but worth having). Stands up to storms very well, and it's outer first pitching. If you want to save a bit, then they do a non silnylon version for a bit less (at a higher weight). If you want to have more people, they also do other sizes. backpackinglight.co.uk are the uk stockist I believe. The nice thing about a Luxe Hex peak, is it will serve you just fine on a campsite in Kent, as it will on the way to Cape Wrath in Scotland. It is not cheap, but assuming you don't destroy it, it will last, and have good resale value.

I am a tent snob. It's worth noting that if you go to the sort of middle class folk music festivals where people have on idea how to use a tent, you can drink for free for a weekend by offering to put peoples tents up for them, in exchange for a beer. A friend and I did that at a festival in the west country... An hour of tentage, and a weekend of free drinks...

The circle of doom isn't a problem when it's going in a van with a load of RFID aerials and cables and flags and stuff.

As I say, there are niche applications.  Cycle-camping/backpacking isn't one, unless you're planning to abandon it at your destination.

Until you need to also fit a human in the back of that car too... We picked up a Slovakian friend on the way to an event, we could fit him, or his luggage, or his tent, choose upto 2.

If you need shelter for your babbage engine, there's much better options, and it's best you put them up advance.

I *REALLY* hate pop up tents.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #10 on: 17 June, 2021, 04:43:58 pm »
Outer-first tents - very good point!

Our current family tent has many flaws but this is not one of them.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #11 on: 17 June, 2021, 04:45:59 pm »
If you need shelter for your babbage engine, there's much better options, and it's best you put them up advance.

Open to suggestions, for the situation where we have a track booked for a few hours, and time spent waiting for the tent to go up is time spent not setting up the timing system, which is time not spent racing.  Typically we can't erect the tent when someone else is has booked time on the track.

Current arrangement is a non-pop-up event shelter, which involves a several of Faffers working out what to do with a great many poles.  Previous solution of a now-unobtainium large pop-up tent (alas, stolen along with the van it was in at the time) worked very well.  As does parking a van at the trackside, on the few sites that allow vehicle access.

Something inflatable might work nicely, but would blow the budget.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #12 on: 17 June, 2021, 05:13:15 pm »
If you need shelter for your babbage engine, there's much better options, and it's best you put them up advance.

Open to suggestions, for the situation where we have a track booked for a few hours, and time spent waiting for the tent to go up is time spent not setting up the timing system, which is time not spent racing.  Typically we can't erect the tent when someone else is has booked time on the track.

https://amzn.to/3cOZ6Ta

Coleman event shelter. They go up in about a minute with a couple of competent adults... Come in various sizes.

Quote
Current arrangement is a non-pop-up event shelter, which involves a several of Faffers working out what to do with a great many poles.  Previous solution of a now-unobtainium large pop-up tent (alas, stolen along with the van it was in at the time) worked very well.  As does parking a van at the trackside, on the few sites that allow vehicle access.

Something inflatable might work nicely, but would blow the budget.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #13 on: 17 June, 2021, 05:27:03 pm »
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #14 on: 17 June, 2021, 05:29:17 pm »
If you need shelter for your babbage engine, there's much better options, and it's best you put them up advance.

Open to suggestions, for the situation where we have a track booked for a few hours, and time spent waiting for the tent to go up is time spent not setting up the timing system, which is time not spent racing.  Typically we can't erect the tent when someone else is has booked time on the track.

https://amzn.to/3cOZ6Ta

Coleman event shelter. They go up in about a minute with a couple of competent adults... Come in various sizes.

The ALC have one of those, which we use to good effect as a social space for lightweight camping meets.  It's functionally similar to (though much larger and somewhat less tatty than) the one the BHPC are using at the moment (which is technically an event shelter rather than a tent, as we're reminded whenever the rain blows through the gap between the wall and the groundsheet.)


Anyway, this is OT.

Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #15 on: 17 June, 2021, 05:46:08 pm »
Once you have your basics of tent , mat, sleeping bag or duvet.  You can  practice putting your tent up and sleeping in it , in your garden.   Admittedly something I did when a child. But nothing stopping you doing it as an adult. If you don’t have a garden you can at least practice putting it up (and taking down and repacking) in a quiet local park, but best not to sleep there.

As to cooking. You don’t need to get cooking gear to start. If you choose a suitable site near pub for evening meal and café for breakfast. You can skip the cooking bit. See how it feels sleeping in a tent on a site etc.  If you decide you do like it then you can see what others on the site have fir cooking setup.

velosam

  • '.....you used to be an apple on a stick.'
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #16 on: 17 June, 2021, 05:46:48 pm »
thanks all, lots of food for thought.

I think I have convinced someone to go for one night, but he has a huge bell tent!

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #17 on: 17 June, 2021, 05:47:58 pm »
That's okay, it's summer.

(All else being equal, big tents tend to be cold.  Classic rookie mistake is using a big tent for family camping off-season on the basis that there's room to do things inside it if it rains.)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #18 on: 17 June, 2021, 05:53:13 pm »
Once you have your basics of tent , mat, sleeping bag or duvet.  You can  practice putting your tent up and sleeping in it , in your garden.   Admittedly something I did when a child. But nothing stopping you doing it as an adult.

If you don’t have a garden you can at least practice putting it up in a quiet local park, but best not to sleep there.

As to cooking. You don’t need to get cooking gear to start. If you choose a suitable site near pub for evening meal and café for breakfast. You can skip the cooking bit. See how it feels sleeping in a tent on a site etc.  If you decide you do like it then you can see what others on the site have fir cooking setup.

Oh come, let's play the tape to the end.

OP: "What cooking stove should I get?"

Kim: Trangia! Trangia! Trangia! they are bullet proof and easy to use!

Me: Well... you could get a trangia... but they are heavy... and awkward... and the fuel is not always easy to find... I am a fan of multi fuel stoves, an MSR Whisperlite is an excellent choice, esp the one that burns both petrol and gas. Avoid anything that uses camping gaz blue things. They are from the same school of devilry that produce pop up tents. Do not trust you can get the right gas everywhere. Petrol you can get pretty much everywhere (or use coleman fuel from your local blacks/decathlon/katmandu). If you do buy a gas stove, then the MSR Isopro cans are best, as they have a neat marking on the side for how much gas they have left. Personally I use a Primus Omnilite Ti. It's lovely.

Someone else: But what about a £10 screw on gas stove from china?

Me: Sure, but they suck in the wind, and some of them are a death trap, and you can't get gas everywhere?

Someone else: I never had issues with gas.

Me: <stories (plural), of friends unable to get the right gas>

Yet another person: ESBIT!

Me: Bushcraft forum is over there ---> :p

OP: So, about that campsite near a pub suggestion.

(Have we done this before on yacf? sure, what gave that away?)

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #19 on: 17 June, 2021, 05:54:27 pm »


https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=107532.0

Here's the latest stove thread. Where everyone is wrong :p

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #20 on: 17 June, 2021, 06:07:03 pm »

Yet another person: ESBIT!

Me: Bushcraft forum is over there ---> :p

OP: So, about that campsite near a pub suggestion.

(Have we done this before on yacf? sure, what gave that away?)

J

The modern EBITs, combined with a windscreen, are quite good.  Not stinky, you can use part-tabs, even use the gel stuff for sanitizing hands.

I found that one tab would cook a full meal for one. A half tab would boil water for a drink.

Was skeptical until I tried one.

<i>Marmite slave</i>

Zed43

  • prefers UK hills over Dutch mountains
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #21 on: 17 June, 2021, 07:46:33 pm »
Borrow as much equipment from friends as you can. It gets expensive quickly, and you don't know yet if it's a one-off, or what qualities to look for. Buy used, or from vendors like decathlon and alpkit which have good price-performance/quality.

When using your bicycle the volume of all the stuff you take is often more a problem / challenge than the weight. If you're lucky you can borrow someone's Ortlieb (or equivalent) waterproof panniers. Don't pack your bags to the brim when you leave, you probably need some space for some food (I usually buy at the end of the day when I'm near the campsite).

Definitely start with campsites, I'm sure that with a little research you'll find ones that are cozy for tents. Bring earplugs (also applies when staying in hotels, b&b's etc). For a first trip I'd say do 2 - 3 nights out; easy mileage so you arrive late afternoon without the need to rush (everything takes more time while camping).

Don't cook inside a tent (think CarbonMonoxide...)

But think twice before you set off, you may be going down the rabbit hole  :)

Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #22 on: 17 June, 2021, 08:19:02 pm »
Any tent advertised as sleeping n people will actually sleep n-1.

Keep everything as dry as possible. The only thing worse than packing wet gear is unpacking it for the next night.

Store any food in the porch, not in the sleeping area. Small furry animals are known to go after the food, and you don't want one nibbling its way through the tent.

Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #23 on: 17 June, 2021, 10:48:55 pm »
Any tent that is pitched inner first, and then an outer over the top, has never heard of rain. An inner first pitching tent is a place of misery when you put it up only to find your shelter is soaking wet before you've even climbed into it...
I've heard of rain, camped in plenty of it and still have a preference for inner first pitching.  When packing away it's easier to keep a wet fly and dry inner separate, and when pitching you don't have to crawl around inside trying to attach it, the worst is packing them away together which will transfer more wet than a bit of rain.  Take a bit of care and the inner is exposed for half a minute at most, and many modern inners have enough DWR to to deal with it. Even if they get a bit wet, the fabric is so light it'll dry in no time. I've had my current tent 17 years and it's not once been a problem.  On the plus side, it's likely to be a more rigid structure, crossed poles, less unsupported fabric, which means less flapping and less reliance on guys and free standing enough to fit in awkward spots.

But the OP doesn't need to know any of this stuff.  Camping kit is and isn't as important as bike kit.  Just needs warmth, shelter and something not to hard to sleep on. Some really basic kit will offer that, probably find it hard to find kit that didn't. Then they'll know if they like camping in the same way as you can find out if you like cycling by riding a cheap bike.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Моя планета голубая, я люблю тебя и обнимаю
Re: this camping malarky...
« Reply #24 on: 18 June, 2021, 08:56:03 am »
I'd start with a campsite and borrowed, someone else's or just cheapish gear. Definitely practice putting the tent up in the garden or park first, or make sure your friend has done so. Check the weather forecast and go for one night or a weekend. Eat in the pub but it is nice to be able to make hot drinks (well, it depends on your attitude to tea and coffee). Car camping probably easier on grounds of making it possible to use cheap rectangular sleeping bags, which are heavy, bulky and warm, cozy mats and stuff, and take lots of food with you if you want – although I've never actually car camped so might be 101% wrong on this.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.