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Old 04-08-2017, 08:27 PM   #1
montcalm
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Camping Philosophy

I've been Jonesing to get out and do a trip, spring fever I guess, and I got to thinking about my evolution of camping over the years.

Most people seem to be all about carrying as little as they can, going as far and as fast and they can and spending as little time as possible with the actual "living" of tripping. I guess some people seem to go the other way and bring everything but the kitchen sink.

My philosophy for the past few years has been to carry as little as possible, but focus on bringing food I enjoy and spending a good deal of time cooking and processing wood. I'm not UL by any means, and I still use some dehydrated foods, but I do most all my cooking over a fire and eat stuff I want to eat.

I found that I spend a lot of time processing wood and cooking, and thus less time actually going somewhere, but I've found the entire experience entirely more enjoyable. I love cooking with wood and taking an hour or two to prepare a meal. It always tastes amazing. It also keeps me busy around camp. In my younger years I used to eat simple and always cook with a stove. Now I carry a very simple one, but rarely use it but to boil some water for tea while I'm getting a fire going. Anyway, I know of people who don't even cook on trips because they don't want to spend the time doing "living" chores and spend more time moving... What I found is that when I used to go like that, I never enjoyed everything as much. I always felt like I was eager to get to the next stage. Something as simple as planning extra time for cooking and eating made me slow down and enjoy my surroundings more.
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Old 04-09-2017, 08:24 AM   #2
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I've been Jonesing to get out and do a trip, spring fever I guess, and I got to thinking about my evolution of camping over the years.

Most people seem to be all about carrying as little as they can, going as far and as fast and they can and spending as little time as possible with the actual "living" of tripping. I guess some people seem to go the other way and bring everything but the kitchen sink.

My philosophy for the past few years has been to carry as little as possible, but focus on bringing food I enjoy and spending a good deal of time cooking and processing wood. I'm not UL by any means, and I still use some dehydrated foods, but I do most all my cooking over a fire and eat stuff I want to eat.

I found that I spend a lot of time processing wood and cooking, and thus less time actually going somewhere, but I've found the entire experience entirely more enjoyable. I love cooking with wood and taking an hour or two to prepare a meal. It always tastes amazing. It also keeps me busy around camp. In my younger years I used to eat simple and always cook with a stove. Now I carry a very simple one, but rarely use it but to boil some water for tea while I'm getting a fire going. Anyway, I know of people who don't even cook on trips because they don't want to spend the time doing "living" chores and spend more time moving... What I found is that when I used to go like that, I never enjoyed everything as much. I always felt like I was eager to get to the next stage. Something as simple as planning extra time for cooking and eating made me slow down and enjoy my surroundings more.
You must be old. So am I.
In younger days I would be a peak bagger and scene searcher and still am on a rare occasion.
I have been blessed with having the Adirondack Park within a half hour driving distance from my home. So within a couple hours I can be well into the woods, at some lonely spot, setting up camp, learning to enjoy the woods from a different perspective.
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Old 04-09-2017, 09:53 AM   #3
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I am not sure I would agree with "most people" in your second paragraph. I do agree that there are some, but I do not think they are a majority, I would doubt they are even a plurality. I do not know if data even exists for this. I do agree with the idea there is a continuum, and is likely not one dimensional. For myself. I do all types of trips. From day hikes to multi-day long distance with minimal gear, from plop camping to pulk camping focusing on food and camp fun, from multi-day base camp to mobile camp. From lowland lakes and ponds to peaks and cliffs. And I haven't even begun to include the variety which uses a canoe.

There are so many variations that each one exists on a continuum, so what we have is an n-dimensional space where each point is a model to describe the n-attributes of any given type of trip.
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Old 04-09-2017, 03:22 PM   #4
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Camping and hiking are two distinctly different activities.
We hike or climb to accomplish goals.
We camp or paddle to enjoy nature at a slower pace.
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Old 04-09-2017, 05:05 PM   #5
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I paddle to accomplish goals sometimes, or at least to try to accomplish them. On the first few of my annual visits to the Adirondacks by bicycle I would try to see and do too many things sometimes, and get pretty worn out. Now I try to plan some busy days and some restful ones. The first and last days are always the hardest because of the pressure to keep up the pace while riding in order to get where I'm going before dark. I like to take time to eat slowly when I'm camping, but I don't eat right in my campsite unless it's raining or it's late and the mosquitoes are out and I want to be in the tent. I usually camp near water and I prefer to take my food bag and eat somewhere with a view to look at while I chew, and preferably something like a log or a rock to sit on, or a beach to sit on with a rock to lean against. I don't cook anything when I camp, or take any dishes or utensils other than a butterknife. Not having to cook or wash dishes for a week is a nice break, and it's much easier to cook at home. One of my favorite places to eat supper or breakfast is on top of Chimney Mountain, either by the chimney or on the true summit. It's very quiet and peaceful up there when everyone else has left and the views during sunrise and sunset are really lovely.
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Old 04-09-2017, 07:17 PM   #6
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Wow montcalm, when I read your post I thought I was having a senior moment thinking "did I write this? "
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Old 04-09-2017, 08:23 PM   #7
montcalm
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I'm old enough to have a shred of wisdom, but young enough to still do stuff

There is no right or wrong way, didn't mean to generalize except for comparison. I still eat dried foods when I go for long periods of time where other foods would be too heavy to carry or spoil.


I'm not a hunter or angler, but I've often thought based on how much I enjoy "living" outside, that adding that would add another depth of dimension. Unfortunately my philosophy of preservation of the Adirondacks dictates I don't take anything. In another time with less people, my thoughts might be different... or perhaps in another place.

Last edited by montcalm; 04-10-2017 at 10:54 AM..
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Old 04-09-2017, 08:27 PM   #8
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To each their own.
My philosophy.... Have fun, enjoy, keep it clean, and don't be an @$$hole.
I enjoy year-round camping in the Adirondacks, but I don't get the chance to do many multi-day trips & am usually restricted to 1 night 2 tops, and have never been known to carry a light pack load.
One change that I've noticed in my own camping habits over the past several years is that I've found myself backpacking much less during the hot & buggy months, and spending more time in the canoe out on the open water fishing, floating, & swimming with a small cooler with a few icy cold refreshments.
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Old 04-10-2017, 10:56 AM   #9
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I like a small cooler with a canoe if I don't have long carries.

I mostly eat potatoes and vegetables though, and they really don't need to be kept cold. Beer OTOH
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Old 04-10-2017, 05:46 PM   #10
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When on the water, the size of my cooler is determined by the size of the vessel.
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Old 04-11-2017, 04:24 PM   #11
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As we age, and you all will. (I'm pushing 80.) Things slow down. You may not be needing to take the largest buck, or the biggest fish, or climb the 46's in the shortest time.
It's the time to recollect all the things that mean the most.
Jim
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Old 04-11-2017, 06:53 PM   #12
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As we age, and you all will. (I'm pushing 80.) Things slow down. You may not be needing to take the largest buck, or the biggest fish, or climb the 46's in the shortest time.
It's the time to recollect all the things that mean the most.
Jim
80? God bless you and keep on trucking!
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:26 AM   #13
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I don't cook anything when I camp, or take any dishes or utensils other than a butterknife. Not having to cook or wash dishes for a week is a nice break, and it's much easier to cook at home. One of my favorite places to eat supper or breakfast is on top of Chimney Mountain, either by the chimney or on the true summit. It's very quiet and peaceful up there when everyone else has left and the views during sunrise and sunset are really lovely.
Zach
So I gotta ask -- what do you eat? And why a butter knife?
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:17 AM   #14
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so i gotta ask -- what do you eat? And why a butter knife?
pb&j?
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:34 AM   #15
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I don't have a philosophy but I do have goals, which are to enjoy the experience and find it fulfilling. The methodology can be extremely variable throughout multiple dimensions.
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Old 04-12-2017, 01:13 PM   #16
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Like others (I'm guessing) how I travel is based on what's going on. When I'm with my students we are a bit heavier with gear and food but that's because they seem to enjoy it and so do I. When alone, I will admit to going more UL so I don't have to carry quite so much weight. Not the elder statesman as Hard Scrabble ( I just turned 64 this past Monday) but I am working on a replaced knee that may need replacing again. Be it a paddling adventure, backpacking, winter camping, etc., I'll do what I can to simplify my life so as not to have to carry a lot of weight. That being said, other than an extended backpacking trip, I've never been worried about losing weight due to a lack of food

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

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Old 04-12-2017, 01:24 PM   #17
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So I gotta ask -- what do you eat? And why a butter knife?
Montcalm is right in one about the butterknife. I also have one of those very small Swiss Army penknives for emergencies. I use it occasionally on packages that are too tough for me. This is probably more than you wanted to know, but here it is. My camping diet evolved over time. The main requirements are not requiring refrigeration and not being easily squashed, or being still pleasantly edible if squashed. The latter part was a condition imposed by carrying all of my camping supplies, backpack etc on the back and front carriers of my bicycle, held down with bungee cords. This is not a friendly environment for many foods, as I found. Most years I make some breakfast cookies with rolled oats, apples, raisins, cheese and such, and take enough to have two each day. For the rest of breakfast I eat a couple of bagels or PB&J sandwiches, or more recently I have been putting peanut butter and jelly in a tortilla and adding some raw rolled oats, which give it some crunch. Lunch is more of the same except the cookies, plus raw green beans if I have been able to get some. They are the best bicycling vegetable of the ones I have tried and can survive a lot. I don't eat supper till I'm at least mostly stopped for the day, and it usually is a couple of bagel sandwiches with cheese and pepperoni slices, and sometimes oyster mushrooms if I'm lucky enough to find some. I also usually have raisins or other dried fruit, and I have found that oranges and grapefruit both travel quite well, probably due to the thick peel. I like bananas but I only buy a couple at a time since they are quite prone to bruising and get nasty more quickly if they are bruised and the weather is warm. I will buy a bag of chips sometimes in town, and it'll last me for 3 days or so of suppers. Now that I am pulling the canoe behind the bike there is less risk to the food while I'm on the road, but it still gets bounced around a lot when I hit bumps. I like all of the things I eat, and though I eat a more varied and healthier diet at home I figure that eating this kind of thing for a week each year should be fine.
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Old 04-12-2017, 04:10 PM   #18
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80? God bless you and keep on trucking!
Thanks GG,
I intend to do the same.
Jim
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:48 PM   #19
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I'm more towards the peak bagging and ultralight end of the spectrum, though that sounds to goal oriented really I just like hiking and enjoying my time on the trail. I pack light just to make the load hauling less of a distraction, and I love the views and the experience whether its at the peak or the glimpses here and there or the waterfalls and stream crossings. I'm not fast, especially barefoot, and I stop all the time to break out the big and heavy dSLR equipment. So not necessarily a weight weenie ultra distance hiker either. I'm usually solo, and camping areas often crowded with folks so I'm generally quick and minimal back at camp (did I mention I was a bit of a shy introvert lol). Often loops take me all day anyhow, since I'm not too fast, I usually am cooking with a headlamp. And most places I camp open fires not allowed. It's only a few times a year so the dehydrated stuff has yet to get old. I actually look forward to it.

Now if I was hiking with someone and actually wanted to enjoy some conversation and good food together, then sure I'd do more like you do (montcalm). Still searching for that special gal that wants to hike! Think I'll just have to wait the few years until I move back to NY (if I ever do), Ohio isn't exactly a great place to meet hikers!
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Old 05-08-2017, 09:29 PM   #20
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If any of you recall I was always looking for people to backpack and canoe camp with...and most of the few trips I was invited on I politely turned down because they wanted to do major mileage and go go go. That's not my thing. Especially not going as heavy and "luxuriously" as I usually go!

My backpacking and canoe camping style is to try to get to an amazing place in the backcountry and just chill and live back in there for 2 or 3 days!

And I eat WELL on canoe camping trips and pretty good on backpacking trips.
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