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Surly official camping and backpacking thread


Chuychanga

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awesome.  i stopped at navajo bridge.  enjoyed it there but no condors.   we had a vrbo in fredonia that worked out fantastically for doing everything we wanted to do.  it snowed like a sonofabitch so that was something to work around, and the cold, but really the only misses were condors and north rim.

There is definitely a bit of a waiting game to be played at Navajo Bridge.

I stayed in Page for two nights just hoping to get Condor shots. The first evening it was too windy and there was only one hanging out and I got pretty unusable pics. The second night was when it all came together. I was gonna try and stay in these cabins/lodge nearby, but I was too late in booking and there were none left. Would’ve made the 45 minute drive from Page into about 6. Maybe next time.
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Anyone into truck camping?  I’ve been on YouTube and stumbled across some videos.   I think it started as travel trailer videos which led to teardrops which led to people building out the back of their pickup caps.  It also led to videos about people full on living in their cars but I just watch those as a curiosity. 
The pickup setup seems like a neat way to go but it’s really a one or two person deal and I have kids so prob not something I’ll get into.  

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11 hours ago, Lhorn said:

Anyone into truck camping?  I’ve been on YouTube and stumbled across some videos.   I think it started as travel trailer videos which led to teardrops which led to people building out the back of their pickup caps.  It also led to videos about people full on living in their cars but I just watch those as a curiosity. 
The pickup setup seems like a neat way to go but it’s really a one or two person deal and I have kids so prob not something I’ll get into.  

I did several trips in my tacoma before I sold it earlier this year. Bed platform and memory foam mattress made it nice. But yeah, two people tops.

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Posted (edited)

I sleep on a platform in the back of my LX.  Got a roof top tent on the way, probably next month.  Doubt I'll use it until the fall though.  It's that time of year when I just won't camp in the heat.  Headed to Idaho to raft the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in July, but flying in so no truck camping there. 

This is the one I bought.  Not my vehicle.

iTTUy0N.jpg

Edited by Your Mom
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My daughter (nopics) send me this last week saying she wanted to get a camper top for her Tacoma and build out a sleeping platform similar to the one below.  If she decides to go forward I'll post up some pics with what she does.

 

unnamed.jpg.7b4b2629b60c8b6db7818d0d7b38e202.jpg

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I built a sleeping platform for our van for our month long trip last summer. I set it up so that it would convert into two benches with a table in between. I used an electric filet knife to cut up a memory foam mattress into four pieces and then made covers for each piece out of heavy canvas. We ended up mainly using the table outside the van, but it was definitely a plus to have. The platform was set up so that we could slide milk crates underneath it and pack most everything into them. Each adult got one for clothes, the kids shared one, there was one for kitchen stuff, one for general camping stuff, one for shoes, etc. We were able to get a full size bed with room to spare in the back of the van, and we also had a rooftop tent that was bigger than a king size bed on the top for options.

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Seems like a cool way to go for 1-2 people. It’s got to be super comfortable sleeping if you get a decent mattress.  Not too interested in sleeping on the hard ground anymore and had too many inflatable mattresses leak down in the middle of the night.  Only issue I see is that I’d want to make the platform easily removable so you can use the truck for other stuff.  Even then, it’s be a pain storing the platform, drawers and such and I’ve got too much shit in my garage as it is.  Simple version might be really nice cot and plastic storage bins to go underneath. 
 

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37 minutes ago, Your Mom said:

  Headed to Idaho to raft the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in July, but flying in so no truck camping there. 

Just got back from Idaho yesterday.  Freakin heaven. Looked like a million awesome fishing spots with very little fishing pressure. Definitely bringing the fly rod next time. 

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5 minutes ago, NotActuallyALonghorn said:

I built a sleeping platform for our van for our month long trip last summer.

Saw your posts about that. Looked like a really nice set up.  Bigger vans (bigger than a minivan at least) seem like a great platforms for this kinda stuff.  I dont think my family is as interested as I am in truck/van camping. I think they are thinking more like class A motor home. 

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A rooftop tent mounted to a low rack would be better than building out a platform in the bed IMO. The low rack doesn't mess too much with the aerodynamics, and you have all that space unde it in the bed for gear. Plus you have a larger area to sleep in since it folds out and doubles in size.

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6 minutes ago, Lhorn said:

Seems like a cool way to go for 1-2 people. It’s got to be super comfortable sleeping if you get a decent mattress.  Not too interested in sleeping on the hard ground anymore and had too many inflatable mattresses leak down in the middle of the night.  Only issue I see is that I’d want to make the platform easily removable so you can use the truck for other stuff.  Even then, it’s be a pain storing the platform, drawers and such and I’ve got too much shit in my garage as it is.  Simple version might be really nice cot and plastic storage bins to go underneath. 
 

So mine was literally just a platform. 2 Two by sixes as crosmembers and piece of plywood cut into two pieces and trimmed for the bed. All carpeted. Could put it in and take it out in under a minute and took up no space in the garage. Used under bed plastic storage containers as my "drawers". Way easier and cheaper, but not as nice.

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4 hours ago, NotActuallyALonghorn said:

Pulled in to Sam's Throne (northern Arkansas) just after midnight. The campground isn't even half full. No amenities other than vault toilets, but a pretty nice little spot and free. We drove by a couple of different campgrounds along the Buffalo River, and every single one of them was full.

 

4 hours ago, NotActuallyALonghorn said:

I could probably put some camping furniture in another site if anybody wants to make an impromptu camping trip. They are the best kind. This is probably one of the best free camping spots in the state of Arkansas.

I tried to hit the Buffalo River a few years ago on Memorial Day weekend. Lol, not even close. Got there at 8am on Friday morning because the first come first serve sites supposedly opened up at noon. Little did I know that people had been camping out there for a week beforehand to get those spots. 
 

Honestly, I don’t understand how anyone gets first come first serve spots. Who has the ability to take that risk?  Do people just drive home if there’s nothing available?  Does everyone live close by?  Someone explain how first come first serve is a feasible option for camping. Please. 

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I tried to hit the Buffalo River a few years ago on Memorial Day weekend. Lol, not even close. Got there at 8am on Friday morning because the first come first serve sites supposedly opened up at noon. Little did I know that people had been camping out there for a week beforehand to get those spots. 
 
Honestly, I don’t understand how anyone gets first come first serve spots. Who has the ability to take that risk?  Do people just drive home if there’s nothing available?  Does everyone live close by?  Someone explain how first come first serve is a feasible option for camping. Please. 

It’s possible in the west in some spots, but I’m still too “afraid” to go on a trip without reservations. I prefer to know where I am going to stay!
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1 hour ago, Anton Chigurh said:


It’s possible in the west in some spots, but I’m still too “afraid” to go on a trip without reservations. I prefer to know where I am going to stay!

Yeah, I think that dispersed (sp?) camping on BLM lands is more realistic.  Of course, living in Texas, I haven't gotten a chance to really try that yet.  There's an app called Outly that shows you BLM sites using your GPS coordinates.  Seems pretty cool, though I haven't tested it yet.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Leaving on Monday for a 12-day trek with a crew from my son's BSA troop at Philmont.  We've been doing shakedown hikes for months at the few spots with any elevation gain here in Dallas (Cedar Ridge, etc.), and early-morning stair climbing sessions with full packs the past few weeks at a local parking garage.  We also did 5 days in Taos last week for a family event, and got in a couple more hikes there with packs to practice at altitude (Devisadero Loop and Williams Lake).

As for pack (a 70L Gregory), I've done several rounds of packing/evaluating/repacking, and have a fitting today at REI just to make sure both our packs are good to go.  Been reading Reddit threads for tips as well, so I feel as prepared as I can be without having been before.    

Having said all that, any last-minute tips from folks who've been?

Edited by sasquatch69
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I did two treks with my son. Adult advisor on the first and on vacation for the second.  Other that the standard, remember you are on vacation and let the youths lead, my biggest tip would be to make sure you are packed up and ready to go before the yutes.  On our first trek, we had a sister crew from the troop and one of the adults was the last to get ready almost every morning.  From what I understand, everyone else would be standing around waiting while he doctored his feet, fussed with his pack, etc.  It took several talks from the adult advisor and the youth crew leader to get the adult to better manage his time in addition to getting called out during Roses, Buds and Thorns.

Is your step off date on Tuesday?  It won't help this time but it might be something to think about for future crew treks.  We selected treks that started on Tuesday, but we left Houston on Saturday morning.  We stayed a night in Amarillo at the Kwahadi Museum and then 2 nights at the NRA Whittington Center in cabins.  We used all that extra time to do hikes at elevation around the Capulin Volcano crater rim and in the WhC back country. On that Monday, we did about 13 miles at the WhC with full packs  and did a meal cook using similar items in the PSR meal kits as a final shake down.  

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29 minutes ago, davidg said:

I did two treks with my son. Adult advisor on the first and on vacation for the second.  Other that the standard, remember you are on vacation and let the youths lead, my biggest tip would be to make sure you are packed up and ready to go before the yutes.  On our first trek, we had a sister crew from the troop and one of the adults was the last to get ready almost every morning.  From what I understand, everyone else would be standing around waiting while he doctored his feet, fussed with his pack, etc.  It took several talks from the adult advisor and the youth crew leader to get the adult to better manage his time in addition to getting called out during Roses, Buds and Thorns.

Is your step off date on Tuesday?  It won't help this time but it might be something to think about for future crew treks.  We selected treks that started on Tuesday, but we left Houston on Saturday morning.  We stayed a night in Amarillo at the Kwahadi Museum and then 2 nights at the NRA Whittington Center in cabins.  We used all that extra time to do hikes at elevation around the Capulin Volcano crater rim and in the WhC back country. On that Monday, we did about 13 miles at the WhC with full packs  and did a meal cook using similar items in the PSR meal kits as a final shake down.  

Thanks, helpful tips.  Day 1 of trek is Tuesday; we're driving up Monday and staying in Raton.  We did a full weekend campout/hike at Caprock Canyon a few months back to get used to backpack camping/meals/etc, and had some good takeaways from that.

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2 hours ago, sasquatch69 said:

Leaving on Monday for a 12-day trek with a crew from my son's BSA troop at Philmont.  Having said all that, any last-minute tips from folks who've been?

Just got back from Philmont on Monday. It rained on us most of each day. Trails were like walking through four inches of peanut butter. Missed out on our chance to climb Baldy because it was 28-degrees and snowing on the 27th. We lost the trail above the tree-line and had to turn back. Polar opposite from my first trek there in 2019. If you have any questions, DM me.

1 hour ago, davidg said:

make sure you are packed up and ready to go before the yutes.  

This. Always. I set my alarm 45-mts before wake-up just so I could offer to help pack others quickly.

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@Saint Tacky That sucks about not making Baldy.  

 

@sasquatch69 There is a meadow at https://www.google.com/maps/@36.6070234,-105.1464125,358m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en that has a great view of Baldy.  We had just left Miranda and one of the crew saw a little sign that said scenic view and wanted to look.  We went and ended up staying for an hour just hanging out, throwing the frisbee and relaxing.  If your trek is going between Miranda/Maxwell and Baldy Skyline/Head of Dean you will pass right by it.   We passed by it on our way to Miranda and didn't even see the side trail.   Also, bring a small Tx flag for one of the crew to put on their backpacks (using the XXL safety pins that everyone put on their packs for drying socks, bandanas, etc).  You will get a US flag from PSR but we flew the Tx flag as well.

 

 

 

 

 

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Baldy Scenic View meadow.JPG

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/4/2021 at 7:20 PM, NTVTXN said:

Absolutely NOT A dumb question. 
And in my opinion, you’ve “talked” your way into the answer. 
Just as with proper weight training...think back squats (or even front squats!); you want the load “high”/up on your shoulders across the traps. 

This keeps it centered and thus forces you to tighten the core, thereby taking load off your lower back. 
 

image.thumb.jpeg.c301d794dad147973d0632764beee815.jpeg

and I hope Broskie has on some SPF! I have a similar “hair style” and have already had to have some spots removed and two MOHS procedures.  
#theforestislosingitscanopy

#grassdontgrowonabusystreet

 

As I read your question, it was do you want to pack a pack like this for a trip.  And the answer, unless something has changed, is no.

Here, you're trying to strain your core and back muscles for the workout, and, but for the grade, even terrain is expected.

On the trail you wouldn't want to do that.  You want the weight in the pack pretty evenly distributed, with heavier stuff toward the bottom.  On the trail, you want a low center of gravity and the weight pretty evenly distributed so the pack clings to your back instead of pulling away.  That is, you want most of the weight borne by the hip belt, not the shoulder straps, and if the weight is too extreme to one end or the other, it won't do that.

Edited by TwiceHorn
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