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Blackberry's avatar

Do you have any books to recommend or advice to give to people that want to start amateur camping?

Asked by Blackberry (29644 points ) June 25th, 2014

I’m just talking about going out for 1–2 nights for one to two people. Very light and very easy.
Pretend I’m a sheltered kid with the money to buy supplies but having no experience at all. Well except for that one time when you were a kid but you don’t really remember.

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24 Answers

Dan_Lyons's avatar

If you get an air mattress upon which to sleep, be sure to get a foot pump or battery operated pump.
Do bring a pillow. If rainy season, an extra tarp tied down over the tent (staked to ground) will keep things bone dry inside.
Also, if raining, don’t touch the sides of the tent from the inside of the tent.
And, Scotch Guard works wonders (treat new tent before going camping)
Set up all your gear at home 1st, so you know what you are doing at your campsite.
Bring flashlight(s).

El_Cadejo's avatar

Great advice from @Dan_Lyons one quick thing I’d add is, if you’re going to be camping in an area with bears, make sure you put all your food up in a tree and don’t leave any of it laying around the camp site.

I’ll come back and add some more later.

GloPro's avatar

I suggest car camping in an area that supplies a bear box for your first few excursions. Buy firewood at the location grocery as opposed to hauling it from home, as bringing in wood also runs the risk of bringing in non-native insects like bark beetles.
Car camping is cushy. A lot of campgrounds provide showers and bathrooms. It is beyond rude to do dishes in those sinks. Bring biodegradable soap and a 5 gallon jug of water.
One of my favorite moments is waking up, getting your fire going, and making coffee with a French press while most of the campground is quiet and sleeping.
Don’t forget a portable music method, a head lamp, and extra batteries for both.
If you bring your dog set up a dog run by stringing laundry line between two trees and attaching his leash to the line. He’ll have way more fun that way, and you won’t have to constantly monitor him.

If your plan is to eventually get away from car camping and hike in to a spot, buy your sleeping bag, mat, and tent with that goal in mind. Choose gear based on the number of seasons it is built for and the weight. Lighter weight, high quality gear will be more expensive, but in the end it is completely worth it – IF you intend on hiking. Otherwise you can get big, bulky, comfortable cheap camping gear from Walmart and it will do just great.

Finally, as a safety tip: bring a whistle and wear it at night.

Camping is great. Have fun!

ragingloli's avatar

Buy a book that lists all the mushrooms, edible and poisonous, with pictures.

CWMcCall's avatar

Avoid using air mattresses as the air space can create an area that will allow cold to radiate underneath you. Get a good quality foam pad and enjoy the feeling of sleeping on the ground. Get a sleeping bag that is rated for at least 10 degrees colder than the coldest the night could get. You also want a good LED flashlight and LED Lantern. Of course bug spray. You want at least a 3 person tent to have room for 2 campers and gear and get one that has a large rain fly that has a canopy to shelter you and your shoes in case of rain,

Even if you are not in bear country DO NOT have food in your tent including candy. I have seen raccoons climbing on bunk beds to get at kids cheetos.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t have any books in mind, but the main things would be look at the drainage if it rains, bring beer, fishing gear and bait, and a frying pan. There is nothing better than a beer around a campfire, or fresh fish in the morning for breakfast.

Seek's avatar

I also recommend putting a tarp under your tent, on the ground. The dampness of the ground can creep through that tent floor, and it’s a little extra cushion for the roots and rocks.

majorrich's avatar

Probably some of the best, most available books would be Boy Scouting manuals, notably the Fieldbook and Camping Merit Badge. The general handbook has good information too!

majorrich's avatar

The “Master Work” on camping is a book written about turn of the last century by Horace Kephart “Camping and Woodcraft” it is in public domain and lots of the book are not in keeping with low impact camping, but it has many good fundamentals of truly primitive camping and wood lore. It also is a neat look at how much things have changed in a century since the book came out. An original book of this title is considered a collectors item and they are sought after.

rojo's avatar

This is a must-have for anyone new to camping!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@majorrich You kicked in an idea for me. There is a long series of books put out by a school in Appalachia that tell how to do things the old fashioned way, without much technology. Everything from building stuff to ways to get food. Except I’m drawing a blank on the name. Anyone help me out? Something Press I think. Some of those might help.

rojo's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Is that the “Foxfire” series?

rojo's avatar

This is an offer of the first six volumes in PDF form. NOTE I have not downloaded them myself yet and cannot verify they are virus-free. There seem to be many sited offering them so it is probably ok, just beware.
This is the official Foxfire site with stuff for sale.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Yes, That’s it!

zenvelo's avatar

Here’s a good magazine article just out today!

RocketGuy's avatar

@zenveto – good find. Esp. good that they are talking about car camping and the use of camping stoves instead of backpacking stoves. They should have added 2.5 gallon jugs of water. You will need 1 gal per person per day if the campsite has no water. Did they mention baby wipes?

I would forgo the music. You should enjoy the sounds of nature. If you can’t, definitely do not blast music. Most other people are there to enjoy the sounds of nature.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@ragingloli Unno, I’d advise staying away from mushrooms, even if you have a book. Mushrooms can be really tricky with some very minor differences. Some you can eat and be totally fine and then die a week later from liver failure.

rojo's avatar

Start easy. Go to one of our national parks. They have both campgrounds with toilets and water and back-country campsites where you bring whatever you think you may need. You can work your way from one to the other and, for the most part, be close to folks who can help you out if you get in a jamb. Park folk are good folk and the rangers are knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna.

ragingloli's avatar

@El_Cadejo
Life is a series of calculated risks.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@ragingloli I agree, but IMO the calculated odds of some bad shit happening when eating wild mushrooms just isn’t worth it to me.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Are you talking about sleeping in a camper, drive up tent camping or something real like backpacking?

Stay the fuck away from mushrooms unless you have been trained by a person who really knows them. A book will get you sick or killed.

rojo's avatar

Many years ago I used to have a pack called “Backpacking the Kelty Way” (or something along those lines) which was full of useful information. It has long since fell by the wayside but “back in the day” I used it as a reference guide frequently.
I am sure there are newer, more up to date books but this is a good basic guide.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

If the mushrooms are growing on a pile of horse or cow dung, the odds are very good that they be magic mushrooms.

rojo's avatar

Actually (and most folks probably figured this out) it was a “book” called Backpacking the Kelty Way, not a “pack”.

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