I used to take people camping for a living. Some pretty amazing sights you can’t see otherwise. I’ve slept out from 60 below (lowest ever) to 110 above (hottest ever). Camped in tents, cars, caves, huts in a number of different countries. Cross country skiing at 20 below and stopping briefly (briefly because otherwise your feet start to freeze) in the snow in NW Ontario you could hear your heart beat it was so quiet. Round a corner in a canoe and see an eagle or an alligator just sitting there is pretty neat. Coming back to the campsite to find a half grown bunny nestled on a sleeping bag under a tarp is pretty special. Seeing bears with their cubs, a lynx, a panther. moose… is something few see. Being in an area so dark that the night sky has more stars than you ever could imagine, or watching the northern lights… reminds you just how small our planet and universe are.
I learned how to start a fire in the pouring rain, guesstimate the compass bearing based on the sun and stars, set up a sail on rafted canoes so all you needed to do is steer, seeing pictographs and pueblo dwellings off the beaten where arrow heads and the pieces left over that have been sitting there for 2000 years is something few experience. Amazing views, feelings of accomplishment… are all part of the experience.
While the bugs and being wet, hot or cold… is a downside, in my opinion the the upsides far outweigh the negatives.
@Kidsandliz I agree, I am an Eagle Scout and an Adult leaders, and I still like the fact that I have some survival skills, and would have some idea of what to do if the World went really sideways.
Winter camping is more to have loved doing then actually doing at the moment, but realizing I can keep myself safe while doing it is a big confidence booster
You’re gonna want people like @kidsandliz when society breaks down.
@Oldelvis Winter camping - IF you have enough clothes, etc. - can be fun while doing it. Being cold is not fun. When I worked in NW Ontario and did dog sledding with folks (camping on the frozen lakes) if you didn’t have adequate stuff to stay warm it was hard. Because routinely it was 40 or so below at night 0 to 20 below during the day it meant two sleeping bags sleeping with one inside the other, sleeping with your boots inside the bag, sleeping either with your clothes under you or having them under your sleeping bag because it was just too miserable to put on cold clothes (not to mention your feet often didn’t warm up the boots very well). Do it for several weeks and you do get acclimated to it (just as you can get acclimated to the heat if you avoid A/C). Dressed right and acclimated it is much nicer. You do have to be careful about frostbite on exposed skin at times, but you aren’t fighting feeling cold.
I went home that christmas that year found that 5 above felt positively tropical. I was shoveling snow at my parent’s house wearing only one of the two jackets on I wore at the coldest up north, with my jacket unzipped, no hat (but did have ear muffs on) and was plenty warm. Similar to people thinking it is warm the first time it is 55 or 60 after a long cold winter… then later in the summer that feels cold.
What I missed more though was LIGHT!!! The short days, how dim kerosene lamps are (except Aladdin ones), the entire shower situation and washing clothes (and yes you can break the legs off of jeans if they are frozen - water sublimates off them at those temps so yes you do hang them outside - and make the mistake of banging them against a tree LOL), having to get up in the middle of the night to put wood on the fire in basecamp cabins while wearing boots as the cold coming through the floor, even with two pairs of thick wool socks on, was cold enough your feet felt like you were barefoot in the snow…oh yeah and outhouses then. We’d have to draw straws to see who would knock over the frozen pyramid in there (we kept the seat by the wood stove). The entire PITA of getting water… those things make me realize I also how much I appreciated electricity and hot and cold running water .
It was one of those things I was glad I did it once (it was a special winter), but perhaps wouldn’t do it twice.
Gave me a lot of respect for the Native Americans who lived there year round (generators usually don’t work below about 5 below either). You still boat between islands, etc. where many (at the time I worked there) still trap for a living. I was told in one village that the elders had lived the “summer camp winter camp pack it all up and move it” life style through the late 60’s - that would be 1960’s.
If you blow anticipating when everything would ice over you could be trapped on an island for several weeks at the start of winter. In November it was so windy for days that despite freezing and sub zero temperatures the lake didn’t freeze. Then one night the wind dropped. We woke up to about 3" of ice. At first it was clear and you could see under it. The we watched it do the jack frost thing and in about an hour it become opaque white. Was about 3" thick with some open water way out in the lake where the current of the river ran. Not safe enough to cross yet though since we didn’t know what was thick enough and what was not. If you were a Native Canadian and woke up to that you’d be stuck wherever you were for a while.
It is amazing to me that anyone (anyone alive when that was the way you lived, end of story) accomplished as much as they did as it takes time, a lot of time, just to get the basics done like enough water for the week, enough aged wood for the fire (let alone having to thaw it before you put it in the wood stove or you put it out; aged because otherwise you’d have a creosote still going at any stove pipe bend - and we did at outside bends due to the temp difference anyway, along with enough chimney fires we kept a ladder against one cabin and a tray on the roof to put over the chimney to help smoother it), just dealing with food and basic sanitation when you have to dig through 8 feet of ice (oops our first hole wasn’t far enough out on the lake and eventually the lake water froze to the bottom of the lake) to get water and then keep the hole open…
But when you are outside and hear the quiet, or hear sound of ice shifting (sounds like blowing across a glass pop bottle only deeper and it zips along the cracks in the ice), see animal tracks (mostly moose and sometimes caribou), the incredible northern lights, travel along (and on) the frozen and snow covered lakes and rivers it is a really special experience.
Sleeping on the ground sucks. Insects suck. Getting wet from the rain and not being able to get dry because you also can’t start a fire because it’s raining sucks. Camping during wintertime on top of 2 feet of snow and you can’t get warm even though you are wearing long underwear, 2 pairs of thermal socks, and a snowsuit sucks. I was in boy scouts and they successfully turned me off camping (at least in a tent). Anything else is not really camping.
@jmoor783 I made it as far as Webelos. One night spent camping outside, waking up soaked from the dew was enough to make me realize I hated it. At this point, glamping or the Holiday Inn Express is as low as I’d go.
It’s pretty boring. You just sit there, waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. Then there’s a few moments of excitement, followed by disappointment, followed by more waiting. Yeah, you can play on your phone or hundreds of other little distractions, but really, in your heart of hearts, you are just wanting it to end.
Sometimes there’s some pretty sweet loot at the end to make it all worthwhile though, so I guess I give it a 7/10.
@Pony When I used to take adjudicated youth canoeing across the state of FL (which also meant paddling up the St. Mary’s River, through the Okefenokee swamp and down the Suwannee River to the Gulf) there were a couple of places people had their pickups parked/stalled in the Suwannee River on the shoals fishing from their trucks.
When I’d have a group of girls as we’d get near the trucks they’d perk up, slide their bathing suit straps down, start to wiggle and jiggle. The men would whistle and comment as we’d canoe by. All I’d say is “jail bait” over and over as we’d pass… Then out the other side a switch would be flipped and the kids would be back to non prostitute behavior (many were in for that)
Big Shoals usually had 5 or 6 trucks in the river and I think there was a state park there (we didn’t camp around parks as these kids would run). Likely there were hotels also near that. Perhaps you could fish at a park (if you were anywhere near this park even doing it from the bed of a pickup if you have one) cook your fish at a day site but go back to a hotel for the night?
I love being outside, surrounded by trees, preferably with a body of water nearby for swimming! Cooking over a fire is one of my favorite things and makes for some very tasty food. All you need is a tent, some good friends, food, and a guitar and you got yourself a great evening!
Summer camping near a lake is best when the days are warm and the nights are cool. Now, though, you have to book online at least a few weeks ahead to get a decent spot, so it’s harder to know what the weather is going to be. Got a great week this year by chance.
Any place other than a lake, fall camping is best.
I don’t like the choices, but I don’t want to reduce my poll participation count unnecessarily. I think camping can be great fun, and also a little irritating at times. My parents didn’t/don’t like it, so we didn’t do it growing up, but I’ve enjoyed what little I’ve done as an adult. I like being outdoors, as long as I can keep bugs at bay.
Its one of the few times where I can escape everything. Camping by fishable waters is a must. I like teaching my kids camping/cooking/survival things. Luckily I have another family with similar aged kids that we camp with.
When we were young, we decided we would never stay in a hotel room we could afford after the first time. (I swear there was urine on the ceiling). After that first trip we bought a 2 man backpacking tent. Some nice closed cell pads (really thin but soft to sleep on) and sleeping bags. The bathrooms in campgrounds were OK. We weren’t really camping, just sleeping there and we could make coffee. We had 4 weeks vacation when we got out of college (2 weeks overtime and 2 weeks vacation and I worked part-time.) We traveled the entire east coast from Maine to Key West to the border of TX, over the years! Never could have afforded it if we were staying in hotels.
Continue from above post…BUT in Key West in the summer we ended up in a hotel! The best hotel we will ever stay in! Why? No bugs and it was air conditioned! The bugs were small enough to get through the very fine netting on the tent and they would bite.