Where Dech Ponders Getting Back to Nature, or Possibly Plans his Midlife Crisis


As those who have followed this site for a long time know I am very fond of outdoor activities. You also know I write about what is on my mind, not just about WoW. (which I’m not even playing at the moment)

Many years ago as a teenager I was into backpacking and canoe camping with my scout troop. I didn’t have to do much of the planning and I had my parents around to provide me with the gear. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Fast forward to my late 20’s and My wife and I would take our kids car camping at least once or twice a year. It was a lot of fun, and something we still enjoy.

As I got back into scouts as a scoutmaster I found that most of the camping done in our area is also car camping. Well, that’s fine, the families loved it, the scouts had the advantage of a big ‘ol trailer full of everything that you could think of.

One thing I have found that I miss is the feeling of camping with a small group, off the beaten path, with just what we carried in on our backs.

Well, my kids are grown now with my youngest being 18. I’m not getting any younger, but at 45 I’m still in good enough health to hit the backcountry a few more times.

So perhaps a year ago I started looking into what kinds of backpacking was available near me, and what kind of gear I would need to get back out on the trail.

Holy crap is there a lot of gear out there compared to what was available when I was a kid. There are also a lot of opinions on what to buy and what to avoid.

I have started making a plan and making a list.

As I go I’m planning to post more on what actual choices I’ve made and my reasoning behind them.

Getting Started

My challenge here is twofold. I need to have appropriate gear or the trip will be miserable at best, unsafe at worst. On the other hand, I don’t know if the rest of my family will be interested in going more than once, so I don’t want to invest a ton of money in gear.

Now, even if we never backpack again there are several things that could easily pull double duty when car camping. Lightweight sleeping bags are a good example. Those will work for camping whether from the trunk of the car or in the backcountry.

I figured the first things to pick up were what my old scoutmaster once called the “Big Three”. My pack, my shelter, and my sleeping system (sleeping bag and sleeping pad).

So here we have where I am now. Researching gear and planning purchases in such a way as to make the trip safe and enjoyable while not having to take out a second mortgage.

Seriously, A quick look online shows that there are some tents alone that go for several hundred dollars and only sleep one person. I could easily get a pack full of gear costing upwards of a thousand dollars per person. That’s simply not in my budget.

Next time I’ll get into my choices for the big three. If you have any ideas fire away, I’m all ears.

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