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fgoodwin

So its finally come down to this . . .

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One part of the article impressed me. Shenandoah Nat'l Park giving seminars and training to new campers on the various skills needed for being in the outdoors. We as Scouts and Scouters (hopefully) know all this but for many this is all new to them. Also the the preset sites are good to introduce the novice without all the upfront costs. Just like the first time one goes skiing, he doesn't buy all the gear, he rents it. If he likes the sport enough, then he buys his own.

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If it gets people camping so what?

 

 

On the other hand, when I camp I try to keep it as unlike home as possible. When my wife and I started dating she would only camp if there was flush toilets and showers with a place to plug in her hair dryer. That drove me nuts, but I gave in, then our "camping" equipment grew to a tent that was too big for the two of us, and all kinds of cool gear. It got to the point that we would fill the back of an S-10 pickup with gear for the weekend.

 

Now that we have three kids much of the extra gear is left home due to lack of room, but she still wants a site close to the bathroom and showers.

 

If there was a pre-set campsite, she would probably want to book it. As long as I can hear the birds chirping and see the mist come over the mountains when I wake up, I probably wouldn't care.

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These things are great. How many people out there say "I would go camping but I don't know anything about it and I wouldn't know where to start"? You can bet that the folks at SNP are going to teach good LNT practices as well. Sounds like it will give people a good start.

 

People are going back to the woods, Boy Scouts should be leading the way! An interesting project for scout troops/districts/councils would be to organize family learn to camp weekends. These could be held at council camps off season. Each family could have a pair uniformed scouts to help them get set up. Scouts could teach sessions on cooking and other camp skills.

 

Bet a lot of the families are going to have younger children who will be scout age in a few years. This could be a powerful recruiting tool and great PR as well as a good turn for the community.

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Skeptic,

 

You're going to either love or hate the "new" line from Thermarest (I say "new" only because it seems it's been quite a long time since you've been shopping for one). They still sell the classic orange Thermarest, and the lightweight folding Thermarest - but they've expanded into the car camping culture too.

 

My Thermarest (bought 2 years ago) is full size and much wider. Also thicker, with a fleece top. Still self inflates, and you can still hyperinflate to bring it to the comfort level you want - I've never slept better on the ground and it fits my sleeping style perfectly (side sleeper, using sleeping bag as blanket). It also takes up most of the room in my REI 1/2 dome. It's not small or light - it's at least as heavy as my tent. But I wouldn't go anywhere without it.

 

Thermarest also has a super-duper set-up - seems enough people were using a Thermarest self-inflator with a thick closed cell pad that Thermarest created a combo - eseentially a closed cell pad in one sleeve pocket and a large self inflator in another sleeve pocket. They even have them in "Extra Large". Makes the Big Agnes look downright cheap in comparison.

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Yeah, the Big Agnes ain't cheap and it requires you blow it up.

But here's where it leaves the Thermarest in the dust. It packs real small. Its super light. It gives at least 1 inch more padding so you can truly sleep on your side. And I'm usually huffing and puffing when I arrive at camp so I put my heavy breathing to good use to blow up the BA first, before setting up the tent.

 

But here is the real benefit. Its part of the BA sleep system. BA bags don't have any insulation on the bottom. They have a sleeve you slide your inflated BA pad into. So now you have a sleeping bag with a built in pad. You never slide off your pad again. And if you toss and turn, the bag stays put as you spin inside it. Never again do you get all twisted up in your bag unable to get to the zipper because its under your butt.

 

But for the price of one night at a luxury hotel, you too can have the complete Big Agnes sleep system for thousands of nights under the stars in supreme comfort.

 

This is not a paid endorsement of Big Agnes or Big Agnes sleep systems, although it should be.

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The BA sounds intriguing. I'm no old goat (yet), but my Thermarest just doesn't cut it anymore. And it's not because I'm whiny, but a car accident a decade ago messed me up just enough to be picky about how I sleep and what I sleep on.

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My wife thinks she's insulting me when she tells everyone that "he'd be happy sleeping in a ditch." She's pretty much right. I can sleep almost anytime, anyplace (especially during sermons and 20-minute prayers). I just pack whatever is the lightest pad that keeps me warm.

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Well, now I have a real dilemma. I gave my Thermarest ProLite to out Interpreter at NT (she needed it worse than I did), so I was about to go out and buy a new one. Now, I need to decide between the BA and the new ProLite Plus.

 

Reading the reviews on REI, the only concern on the BA is in cold weather. Some reviewers think the R value is too high, and they get cold on it. Any comments from users?

 

Comparing the two:

 

BA

20" x 72" x 2.5" mummy brwn/blk 15 21oz R-Value 4.1 $79.95

 

Thermarest ProLite Plus

72 x 20 x 1.5 inches 24 ounces R-Value 3.8 $99.95(This message has been edited by BrentAllen)

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Brent, I have both the BA 15 degree pad and the uninsulated version, which is lighter and packs smaller. I use it for summer.

The 15 pad is fine in the coldest conditions, but I augment it with a closed cell blue pad when sleeping on ice or snow. But I would do that with my old thermorest pad too.

Do yourself a favor Brent, go try the BA and the REI knockoff of it before dropping more money on another Therm.

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Almost there...

 

Little Bennett Regional Park, Clarksburg , MD

 

(Quote from the website)http://www.montgomeryparks.org/enterprise/park_facilities/little_bennett/little_bennett_campground.shtm#camper_ready

 

Camper Ready Camping

Come enjoy the great outdoors without making a huge investment in gear! If you're thinking about camping, but don't want to make the investment in equipment to try it, then we have just what you need. Camper Ready Equipment is now available at Little Bennett Campground. For $25 per night (two night minimum) plus the site fee, your campsite will come pre-set with a four-person tent, two camp chairs, a propane stove, and a lantern. Bring your own bedding, cooking gear, and food supplies, and your campsite will be waiting for you to enjoy sleeping under the stars. One week advance notice is required. Call 301-528-3430 for more information.

 

Bring it on, Big Agnes....

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Brent,

 

I have two ThermaRests and two Big Agnes Air Cores-uninsulated. One of our other leaders has the insulated BA

 

Thermarest goes for some car camping trips or winter camp-with a foam pad too just for convenience.

 

BA goes along on anything backcountry-light weight-takes about 5 minutes to inflate.

 

BA also makes a stuff sack that you can open up, trap air and roll it up, pushing the air into the pad.

 

BA is slighly more comfortable than the TR pad.

 

TR doesn't really self inflate when it is real cold out.

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I have an EXped.

In mine the pump is actually in the pad, but also has two manual inflation /deflation valves for you heavy breathers - Gern :) .

I haven't had any issue with being cold using it - so far, down to 20 degrees F air temp. On Tent on groundsheet on bare soil(no leaves :( ).

edit : Oh, and it's held up for more than a year to Missouri and Arkansas rough stone, thorns and brambles.

Very comfy, I consider it an adjunct to my Sleep number bed at home.(This message has been edited by Gunny2862)(This message has been edited by Gunny2862)

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That is funny. I can see where it is a gateway to the outdoors but come on. We started out in weblos with the big taj mahal tent and the i quickly got tired of the weight and the setup. Now my wife and i sleep in the two man tent and my son has a one man. I guess its different strokes for different folks. But when our Scoutmaster and his Comitee chair wife show up with their taj mahal with seperate screened in patio area and portable toilet that she keeps in the tent (YUCK!!!) i can help but laugh. My brother is the same way when he goes "camping" with his 5th wheel trailer parked in an asphalt pad next to 30 other trailers. is that really camping or is it just mobile hoteling?

S

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