T Nation

Camping Equipment?

This is a thread where you will help me decide on a tent, sleeping bag, and anything else I would need for an upcoming camping trip I am planning.

My girl and I had to cancel our shore house last minute so we decided to go camping for a few days, with a day of whitewater rafting. I know there has to be some enthusiasts out there who can suggest some good, reasonably priced equipment, as well as other things I may need at the campsite as I am clueless on where to start. This isn’t any backcountry shit, just your standard campground/river combo on the delaware.

I have googled camping equipment etc, and tents alone can be anywhere from $50 to $300 for a 4 person, and sleeping bags can be equally as broad of a spectrum. What are your favorite brands, models etc? Any preferred links to equipment sites that wont break the bank etc? help your boy out…

No camping enthusiasts out there huh?..

As far as sites for gear go, www.campmor.com is great. They always have discounted gear that was from last season. Nothing is wrong with it, just marked down.


I can’t help you with brands or stores, I am on the other side of the ocean.

I would suggest that if this is your first camping trip together then don’t go overboard on gear until you decide you may want to do it again.

Unless you plan on hiking around and carrying your tent with you, you may as well get a relatively large one. Our first tent was small, yet too big to realy go hiking with, so in the end we bought a larger one.

Definitely buy a dome-style tent for compactness and the ability to withstand wind.

Check that it has adequate ventilation so you don’t melt.

Make sure that if there are any seams in the floor that they are waterproofed correctly. I learnt that the hard way.

As for pots, pans, utensils etc, take stuff from home in a box.

Get a good mattress. I use an inflatble one that has a foam core, so it self inflates, but also gives good support. Sllep much better this way, also your significant other is less likely to get a bruised backside during night-time activities.

hope that helps a little.

For tents, check out www.llbean.com
I bought a 3-4 man tent from them at a great price and it has been really durable. Since you said that you’re not doing any serious backcountry stuff, I think you’ll find their tents fit your needs.

Be sure to check out www.rei.com as well. Good luck.

Heya Frank,

Brother, what you want to do is buy GOOD gear.

But good gear is expensive, right?

Go to Ebay.

You can find some GREAT gear at very affordable prices on Ebay.

We bought a North Face 2.5 man tent (the .5 man will be taken up by our dog)… for like $80… And it is totally new looking, with all the pieces and everything.

It just isn’t worthwhile to buy a crap tent. It is there to keep the rain off of you, right? Well, cheap tents don’t keep the rain off… and if they do - they don’t do it for long.

What you want to do is look for a “camping list” online… just google it in quotes…

You will find lots of people with lists of what they bring when they camp.

Look down the list, and check off the items you feel you want to bring.

I suggest buying premium quality camping gear - even if you aren’t going back country for a month at a time.

You’ll be glad you did…and ebay makes it affordable.

I agree that you should definitely check Ebay out. Camping is one of those things, kind of like weight training equipment, that people just go crazy buying but then realize they only used it once in three years or so. So people tend to get rid of some real good stuff for cheap. Two other places to check out for camping gear are yard sales and the classifieds of your local paper.

My only tip is to just brings as many gallons of water you can. It’s cheap and you use it for washing hands, faces, cooking, etc…

Dunno about brands and stuff but Im a fairly experienced camper so here goes…

Army surplus stores are great for picking up camping kit such as mess tins, fire lighting stuff, torches etc.

Dunno what the climate is like where you are but I always take a really warm sleeping bag, usually you dont need the extra warmth and can lie in it without zipping it up or just lie on top of it. Its good to have the extra warmth if you need it. A good self-inflating mattress is an excellent idea, you’ll feel like youre wimping out but your quality of sleep makes up for it!! Id also recommend a dome tent but the ones with an outer porch area which is good for keeping wet stuff or muddy shoes etc to keep the inner tent clean. Also if it rains and you dont have a porch you have to zip up completely but with the porch you probably wont really need to.

And some waterproof tape, good for fixing leaks.

And whiskey. First rule of camping is to bring at least one bottle of whiskey!

I’m a camping expert but there is no way I am gonna spend hours writing out what you should do especially with such great advice already given.

But I will say this: take a seat.

If you are car-camping (not hiking) then something to sit on is damned nice. You can get tiny folding chairs with 3 legs etc… and they are just great. Otherwise a log will do.

Everything hinges around whether you are carrying all your gear, how far, what terrain, or using a car and walking about 20 yards.

eBay is in fact a good place to get stuff, I bought a pack there from China which is pretty damned good, after my many-hundred dollar expedition Macpac died (after years of canyon/caving/climbing/skiing/and in fact, swimming in the surf with it) … the new pack was just for backpack travelling and it is pretty damned good and was about $50.

om my lord I just realise the new Opera browser 9.0 can resize this box that I am typing my response in … wtf … that is impressive browsing. can your browser resize the box?

Advice wise, one of the tips I’d give is to bring charcoal briquets and lighter fluid.

They will make it far, far easier for you to get your fire started, and keep it started.

And if the wood isn’t dry, you’ll be glad for it, as it will burn well enough and long enough to dry ANY kindling you set over it…and if the wood is dry, it still makes getting the fire going a lot easier.

And if it’s pouring rain, you’ll have the bruquettes to cook your dinner on.

To do it, just pile your bruiqettes in a pyramid, pour the fluid on them, and pile your kindling in a teepee around the briquettes… then build a square logcabin like tower around the teepee of kindling. add some lighter fluid, and set it off.

(P.S. If you can’t “neanderthal” a fire… meaning, if you can’t do the “survival build a fire thing” already - you should take the time to learn how…this shortcut is great, but everyone should learn to make fire with a bow-and-block method using just a knife…)

[quote]comedypedro wrote:

And whiskey. First rule of camping is to bring at least one bottle of whiskey![/quote]

Isn’t it funny? When he says “Whiskey” in his country, it really means “Marijuana”.

Strange customs, but diversity, and all that…

As with most stuff, you get what you pay for. Since you won’t have to carry anything for a long distanceyou should be able to find things cheaper. Kelty, Mountain Hardware, Sierra Designs all make good gear. I would suggest renting the gear first. I know REI rents gear and I’m sure there are others. If you don’t have to carry it then I would say go for comfort. Large tent with bug screen, tarp, foldup table and something comofrtable to sit on.

If it is just the two of you, go over board on the romance - wine , cheese, fruit, chocolate, rost marsh mellows. If you are uncomfortable (bugs, heat/cold, wet, hungery), then you probably won’t go again. ther is no harm in over packing. Its better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it.

Me Solomon Grundy

Bravo gentlemen… This is exactly what I was looking for. I checked out rei.com as well as the others, and already had a fight with the old lady about buying a good tent as opposed to some shitty one. I told her if i have to listen to her complain about rain and shit cause we bought a shitty tent, shes getting left in the woods…

If you’re in bear country, make sure to buy some pepper spray…

Funny story:

I’m riding in my car with a friend from California, and we’re heading up to West Glacier National Park in Montana (where I live).

He sees the can of bear spray and tries to open it.


He insisted that he was, indeed, not crazy, but that he wanted to go ahead and spray the ‘repellent’ all over his skin to completely deter the bears.

It’s not bug spray, guys.


I did some camping in Poland, rather spend lots of time in a caravan. No hot water, shaving in Lemonade once, tough times. There were bears there, I only saw one. Bear spray would not give me as much confidence as a gun.

One important thing is a rucksack liner, or use a heavy duty refuse sack, if you are not near a vehicle, like your car / suv etc. Also footwear, first aid, GPS system, a good framed rucksack / bergen, spare map/compass and a good full tang knife.

REI gear is somewhat cheaper than name brands like North Face, and the quality is often times just as good.

I will also recommend a Therm-a-Rest mattress. I’ve had one for over 10 years that still works just as well as it did the day I bought it.

If you’re backpacking, don’t get anything bigger than a 2-person tent. If you’re car camping, get anything you want.

[quote]wires wrote:
comedypedro wrote:

And whiskey. First rule of camping is to bring at least one bottle of whiskey!

Isn’t it funny? When he says “Whiskey” in his country, it really means “Marijuana”.

Strange customs, but diversity, and all that…


LOL!! Insightful indeed my friend. And when I say water I really mean whiskey!!

I’m assuming that you’re just car-camping, and not hiking with all your gear. If so:

First, a little story:

When I was in the military, 5 of us went on a camping trip, with our girlfriends. It was 2 nights, with 2 days of whitewater rafting, so park the car and camp close to the river, and raft during the days.

The 5 of us had a lot of very good, high-dollar, but utilitarian gear. (North Face tents, gortex, nice sleeping bags, etc…) 4 of us packed the way we would if we were hiking in; all good-quality stuff, but sparse on the luxuries.

The first night, the temperature drops an extra 15-25 degrees over predictions, so it got a little chilly. No problem, we thought, we rolled an extra poncho liner in the sleeping bags and dealt with it; no drama, we were fine.

The next morning, we could see 4 of the girls in a corner, looking over at us, then talking among themselves, look, talk, glare, talk, glare harder, talk faster, etc. It seems that what we considered ‘fine’ was NOT. They were not used to sleeping on hard ground, what we thought was a little chilly was bitter cold, etc…

Bottom line, we went rafting, but that night, we all had to fork out for cabin rooms, because they unanimously decided that they were not freezing their asses off again because we were hardcore. End of camping trip fun…

I did mention that 4 of us packed hardcore. The 5th guy pulled up his truck and unpacked his tent. He then started pulling stuff we couldn’t believe out of his truck. He had a giant airmattress, an electric pump, A DOWN COMFORTER!!, sheets, pillows, little shower kits, and God knows what else.

That night, we around the campfire laughing at him adn calling him a puss. He just smiled. The next morning, he was cooking tea on his stove, and she woke up all chipper.

Bottom line: he was definitely the smartest man.

Now I’m older, and I’ve learned my lesson. You don’t take a beginnner on an all 1RM workout on their first day, and you don’t start off by camping lite. i assume you’ll have the basics (tent, bags, cooler full of food/drink, flashlights, fire-starters, etc.), IMO, if I had less than $100 extra to make the trip twice as fun, I would throw in these items:

Air mattress - $19.99 Wal-mart (will work for 4-5 camping trips before it develops a hole)

Pump - electric is nice, can save youif you’ll use again ($19.99, cheaper for foot-pump). Be sure to charge the batteries! if it’s rechargeable, but this is really budget-dependent.

Pillows- bring them from home, makes a huge difference for someone not used to the field

Sheets - from home, no extra expense, but will make the air mat feel more comfortable to lay around on (especially if it’s hot). You want her to feel comfortable laying down on the mat…

Camp chairs (19.99 for 2 - probably cheaper) - lay on the logs by the fire if you like, but give her the option to sit in a regular chair…

Lantern - (less than $20). You can go cheap batttery-powered, or a stronger, white-gas powered one. Turns out some women like being able to just hit a button adn turn it on, instead of priming, messing with fuel, lighter, etc… I never would have thought anyone would prefer a battery-powered lantern, but there it is; ease of use over horsepower. Now she can walk around and not feel like it’s always dark, especially if she’s used to city life; she’ll end up walking to the bathroom, tent, etc. using a simple lantern. Also, she can get stuff in the tent without having to point a flashlight around, read a book, etc… A nice comfort-item.

Bottom line, I would vote that for your first trip, approach the trip as a wuss. These small comfort items will make the actual ‘camping’ portion of the trip much more enjoyable for people not accustomed to ‘roughing it.’

[quote]climber4 wrote:

lots of good stuff


You have confirmed my suspicions. It is you sir, who are the man.