Follow by Email


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Long term Vs short term camping

My lovely wife and I just came back from a weekend of camping. That was a fun thing to do for a few days. We also have gone camping for months at at time. So how does packing for long term differ from short term packing?

Not as much as you'd think. Start off by packing as if you'd been gone for a week or so. Make sure you have enough clothes for that amount of time. Have enough cleaning supplies to be able do laundry and dishes. Pack about a week's worth of food.

When you start running low on clean clothes, go to a laundromat. When your food starts to get low, go shopping. It's not that hard. Repeat as needed.

The thing is, most of us aren't going on a remote expedition. Even if you are camping in the middle of a National Forest, there's usually at least a small town nearby where the basics are available. In fact, a lot of camping areas have camp stores that carry some essential items. The selection may be poor and prices higher, but if it saves you a trip into town to buy something like bug spray, it's worth it.

Long term expedition camping is something else entirely. Packing for such trips require a lot more planning. Every ounce and inch of storage matters. Those trips are special cases. Even long range hikers like those on the Appalachian Trail don't pack that way. These days hikers pack light and plan on regular town stops.

Things are easier now than we first started camping. This past trip my lovely wife discovered she hadn't bought enough reading materials. We like to read in bed before going to sleep. No problem, she just downloaded a book onto the smart phone. I had dozens of books on my Kindle reader, so I was already set.

Of course, there's a lot more to long term camping than the actual camping. It takes some planning to make sure things are set back home before leaving. Then there's the normal “paperwork” of modern life: bills, banking, and business communication. Fortunately, all that stuff can either be simplified and/or dealt with using an Internet connection. That's a whole different blog post.



  1. The whole idea of camping long term is the weather. Last winter we spent 150 days in our truck camper in the Southwest. The days' temps were in the mid 70's, but after 5pm the temperature dropped into the 50's and even into the 40's. That put us into the TC. This year I will be hauling our 5th wheel for a little more creature comfort. We are fortunate to have that luxury. Good luck in your winter getaway!

    1. We might not be "getting away" this winter. Our plans have been thrown out the window. However, we can hit the road on short notice, so we are keeping that in mind.

      We were comfortable enough in the van last winter, once I added a good 12 volt fan. However, the van isn't reliable anymore so we have transitioned back to car camping. It's a cheap alternative until we figure out what we really want to do.

      Going back to to the Southwest or heading to the Keys again?

    2. We are heading back to Davis/Monthan AFB in Tucson for a couple of months and in mid Jan shifting over to Earp, CA on the Colorado River. Waterfront site on the river. $ and that is with full hookups!

  2. How do you handle holding on to your camp site ? Assuming the location does not have alloted sites.

    Years ago, summer 1980, my cousin, brother and I went on 'An Adventure', teenagers on a camping trip for a week to Yosemite. Only Yosemite was filled up, so we elected to drive on to another forest near Mono Lake, but still in California side.

    We were there about 3 days, when another camping party drove by, asking when we were leaving. "Oh, not sure, why do you ask ?" "Well, we always use this spot." "Well, we are using it now." Three of us vs. five of them, but we weren't about to back down - first come, first served. We had a tarp stretched out over the back of my cousin's '76 Datsun pickup and slept in there. Yeah, the three of us - we were skinnier back then, lol.

    It was awesome. When we packed up, we went to lake one more time to visit, then turned around and went out, noting the people had already moved in. Boy - they REALLY wanted that spot.

    1. Last winter we were camping out of our van. To hold our place we set up a cheap $25 tent to hold our spot.

    2. Ah, simple but smart solution. Thank you for answering that.

  3. I slept out in the mountains with only the clothes that I had on my back and some beverage to drink. That was fun, but I was a lot younger back then, now I like my big diesel pusher.

    1. Heck, I've slept in snow caves -but don't care to do that again either!