CAMPING FOR BEGINNERS

Overnight Camping Trip – Keeping it Simple

I headed out on an overnight camping trip this weekend and tried to rise to the challenge of traveling as light as possible. I’m new at this whole backpacking thing, so my knowledge and experience didn’t allow me to go ultra lightweight. Overall, I kept things very simple, though. I brought a down jacket, some light gloves, a light, car keys, a knife, tent, a fruit drink (why? I’m not sure.) water, and some minimal food.

Of course you’re probably laughing at me now because you know I brought my fair share of camera gear too. All my gear combined (including food and water) weighed in around 7 pounds. Then I had my DSLR which weighs 6 pounds. I’m glad I brought it though because all the footage from my GoPro was lost due to a memory card error ๐Ÿ™ That’s why you never heard the update on how my night was. So here it is:

I was very comfortable except for my feet. My feet were freezing. It was sprinkling rain/sleet for a good portion of the evening and the wind was really whipping (I had some pretty funny footage of me trying to set up my tent in the strong wind. I thought I had a pretty protected spot, but halfway through tent setup, I was doubting my choice). The conditions combined with the great ventilation in my tent let a lot of cool air in. I put my shoes back on and that helped a little, but my feet were far from comfortable the whole night. I ended up wearing the down jacket, which kept my upper body at a very comfortable temperature. I used my backpack as a sleeping pad/pillow, which was perfect with the foam on the back of the backpack. It also insulated me well from the ground.

If I had to do it again (which I will) I’d bring an empty water bottle and fill it as needed and purify the water with the SteriPen water purifier I have. It would be much lighter that way. I was looking at the satellite view of the area before I left and didn’t see any small ponds, but once I was hiking around, there were plenty. I’d ditch the fruit drink, and bring dried cranberries or something like that for breakfast. I also cheated a little (I feel like) because it was only an overnight trip. I went roughly 11 miles total. I think it was a good distance for me based on the forecast and my experience, but the true lightweight challenge comes on a longer trip. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time from work to enjoy a longer trip. There will be longer trips in the future, though.

Lastly, I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts. I certainly made several mistakes on this trip. It wouldn’t be nearly as much fun or as rewarding if I didn’t learn something new while I was out there. Time outside is time well spent, and that’s why I do it. I’m sure I’ll continue to learn from you as well……..or at least that’s my hope ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy trails!

Chris Martin

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