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#198470 - 06/14/17 08:55 AM A couple of question from someone new to camping
xMichaelx Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/14/17
Posts: 1
I never went camping as a child. I have discovered that I enjoy day hiking, though, and would like to give camping a try.

For various reason, I will be starting out "car camping." That is, driving to a campsite at a national park, and setting up a tent and so forth. Not hiking to a campsite, carrying a tent, sleeping bag, etc., in a pack.

The other day, I mentioned my interest in camping to my cousin. While he has absolutely zero interest in the outdoors, he did win (at work, there was some sort of contest last year) what online reviews suggest is a very nice tent. He's offered it to me, rather than letting it sit unused in his storage closet for the next thousand years.

Thing is, while the reviewers all praise the tent, it is 10' x 9' in size. So nominally, a 6 person tent. Sure, in practice it's more like a comfortable 3 or 4 person tent, but whatever.

Question #1: Am I going to immediately identify myself as a dufus for setting up this 90 sq. ft. tent, just for myself? Yeah, eventually I'd like to talk my girlfriend into going camping with me, but at least initially, I'll be doing this solo.

Is there some sort of unwritten rule, that if you're camping by yourself, and you put up a tent which could shelter a family, that you just don't get it?

Again, I'll be transporting my gear by car, so the weight of the tent isn't really a big issue. Naturally, if I had to carry it in via backpack, I'd never even consider taking the thing.

Question #2: I'm a tall guy. The tent's roomy enough, but not so tall that I can stand upright. I won't have to crawl around on my hands and knees, but I'll miss being able to stand up straight by nearly half a foot. Is this all that important?

I get that, ideally, it'd be nice to be able to stand up in my tent. Several tent reviews talk about how that's a real plus. But given my height, the only tents which are likely to permit me to do this are huge things. And going out and buying a tent larger than the average $2.4 million Manhattan condo just seems... wrong.

I'd appreciate your input.

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#198472 - 06/14/17 10:55 AM Re: A couple of question from someone new to camping [Re: xMichaelx]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Free is a great price, and for car camping size is no big deal. I car-camp solo in a rather roomy three-person tent.

If you eventually hope to get into backpacking, I wouldn't spend much money on heavier car-camping gear, but, as I say, free is the best price you can get.

If the tent has already been sitting around for a number of years, give it a good sniff. If it smells funny, the coating may be starting to deteriorate.

I've never had a tent I could stand up in. Most backpacking tents are 42" to 45" high. You get used to it and learn to dress lying down! I must admit that in my other hobby of Civil War reenacting, getting into corset and long skirts with hoops definitely did not work in my backpacking tent, which is why I bought the larger tent for car-camping. While I can't stand upright in it, I have to stoop only slightly.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#198474 - 06/14/17 11:16 AM Re: A couple of question from someone new to camping [Re: xMichaelx]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 848
Loc: Torrance, CA
I tend to think people go camping to get away from people...not to judge them. I certainly don't think there is an unwritten rule that you have to have a dinky tent if you are by yourself. If you were to rent a cabin just down the road from the campground it would be bigger than your 6-person tent. I have a 6-person tent that I can walk into (7'6" at the peak) that I use car camping with my family. It is nice! but not a deal breaker. I certainly wouldn't buy a different tent if I had a free one I couldn't walk into available.

Backpackers who want to be able to stand up buy a teepee style tent. Pretty simple design, but to get it in a weight suitable for backpacking they have an awful lot of expensive lightweight fabric. When I was looking for a backpacking tent for my family they were too expensive for me. Plus you only get the head room at the peak with very steep walls. I am not sure how beneficial that is.


Edited by BZH (06/14/17 11:18 AM)

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#198478 - 06/14/17 04:05 PM Re: A couple of question from someone new to camping [Re: xMichaelx]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1381
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I agree - grab the tent and use it. Right price, lots of room, you don't have to carry it.

As far as its size: no one (at least, no non-backpacker in the public campground) thinks the guy with the two block long RV with the crank-out side room and the roll down awning doesn't get it, so you've got nothing to worry about. If, in some remote possibility, someone does make a comment, explain it to them the same way you just explained it us - if you feel compelled to respond at all.

Sounds like you're taking a good, common sense approach to getting into backpacking. Once you find you like camping, try to buy backpacking gear (stove, mattress, sleeping bag, and such) instead of car camping versions - backpacking gear works just dandy for car camping, but not vice versa.

Good luck! (And enjoy all that room. If you run into some backpacker's, invite them into the pleasure palace for some cards - and pick their brains about getting started in backpacking.)

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#198486 - 06/16/17 10:25 PM Re: A couple of question from someone new to camping [Re: xMichaelx]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2861
Loc: Portland, OR
Am I going to immediately identify myself as a dufus for setting up this 90 sq. ft. tent, just for myself?

Nope. However, a tent that big may be quite awkward for one person to set up unassisted, so try setting it up somewhere (in your yard if you have one) before you arrive at a national park and discover you can't erect your tent. smile

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#198488 - 06/17/17 11:14 PM Re: A couple of question from someone new to camping [Re: aimless]
toddfw2003 Offline
member

Registered: 01/08/16
Posts: 326
Loc: Texas
i have a 4 person car camping Kelty tent. I am a pretty big guy too. I wouldnt worry about what people think. Go have fun. Get you a big ol air mattress too for 20 bucks at academy. Like oregon mouse states, I wouldnt invest a lot of money in expensive car camping gear. Most of it is the same. If you want to spends some money, get it into backpacking

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#198494 - 06/18/17 03:33 PM Re: A couple of question from someone new to camping [Re: toddfw2003]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Aimless has a good idea--do practice setting up that tent before going on a camping trip! Whether car camping or backpacking, you don't want to be trying to set up your tent for the first time on a dark and stormy night with instructions in one hand and a flashlight in the other!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#198518 - 06/21/17 07:00 AM Re: A couple of question from someone new to camping [Re: OregonMouse]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 677
I wouldn't hesitate to use a larger tent car camping. Bad weather that forces you into it, or when it's really buggy will make you glad for the space. I differentiate between what I carry in storage tubs and what I carry on my back. The propane two burner grill/ griddle weighs as much alone as what I normally carry on my back for a week. However, I usually don't have full blown bacon, egg and homefries for breakfast or grilled steaks on the trail. Having a good cooler is a luxury. Many times camping in state parks I feel more foolish with a tiny tent parked among the RV's and cabin tents. We use an expensive 4 person 4 season tent for car camping, but I can easily see going larger (especially taller) and probably will. The likelihood of getting your girlfriend to go is much better when comfort is achievable.
If she enjoys it and wants to get closer to nature, backpacking will be the next step. Some people cannot get use to sleeping on the ground, no matter how good the mattress. Cots will fit in that tent with ease. Have a great time!
_________________________
Charlie

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#198520 - 06/21/17 05:55 PM Re: A couple of question from someone new to camping [Re: OregonMouse]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1381
Loc: Southwest Ohio
... Wet instructions... smile

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#198605 - 06/29/17 03:23 AM Re: A couple of question from someone new to camping [Re: Glenn Roberts]
connor45 Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/22/17
Posts: 11
I vote to give that free tent a try either. I have no experience with that size and would like to know how hard it is to set up by 1 person?

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#199755 - 12/12/17 01:10 AM Re: A couple of question from someone new to camping [Re: connor45]
JasonBilly Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/05/17
Posts: 2
I have had a couple get crushed (possibly because they are inexpensive), so I meant for first wouldn't spend excessively. I have discovered that the tents tend to be a best adjust to low cost yet sufficiently solid to last a couple of celebrations seasons.

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