Jump to content

Camping without going to the Camping store

Recommended Posts

Okay, all this talk about not going to Council Camp, and memories related about days of yore, and discussions about new equipment and ultra light weight stuff got me thinking....


How much stuff... gear, food, tools, etc. can one find in the local home, workshop, grocery, hardware store, mega mart, that one can use for serious (not back yard ) camping?

What are the limitations?


*Tarps, plastic sheet --not popup tent?

* dry milk, dry soup, repackaged Bisquick, oleo margerine, egg beaters, (real eggs specially packed?) -- not Mountain House?


* Plastic forks and bowls from dollar store, old yard sale pot, -- not titanium cook set?


* Blankets from home, -- not fluffyloft3 from Alpine House?


* Aluminum 24 penny spikes (gutter nails) -- not Campmor tent pegs?


What think thou?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 35
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

The closest I have been to a camping store is "the" camping aisle at Wal-Mart.


Tent, air mattress, sleeping bag.


Everything else I have "procured" from my job, at home or the local hardware store.


My rainfly/ storage closet is a 20'X 12' blue poly tarp. I made a rainfly fraim out of 2 6' pieces of 1"x 1" pre-punched steel angle. I drive them about a foot into the ground. Then I have attached one 6" X 10" X 3/4 " flat wood blocks with a 1" hole drilled into them to the top ends of the angle. I then feed a 12" piece of 1/2 " steel conduit throug the hole in the blocks. This pipe spans across the top of my tent.


I allow about a 2' overhang past the front of my tent and about 3 fot above the ground. It goes across the conduit which is about a foot higher than my tent ( airflow and extra insulation from outside) and then floows the contour of my tent and goes on the ground. I have enough tarp that I curl it under itself with about a 5 foot by 12 pocket . I then shove extra stuff in here and it's off the ground by tarp, covers from sky by the tarp, and I can roll the sides around so it's out of the weather.


I have a used piece of flat rubber that is 18" by 27" for a doormat. I have a 3' piece of 3/4 galvanized pipe I drive halfway into the ground, and stick a 10' piece of 1/2 galv conduit into which has eyebolts in the top and use it as my tentside flagpole . Contrators twine and two keyrings make my trucks and some extra carabiners make my flag clips. I duct tape an old hammer about 18 inches off theground and use that to secure my haleyard.


Yeah, I could do better, but the cub scouts are amazed by my imagination and creativity, and they try to make stuff themselves.


Parents like how cheap I am and try it themselves.


Personally, I have never bought one camping item from a camping stor or BSA. I use that money for important things like brats and mustard! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, while I do use my charcoal chimney, I dump my coals in a 2-$1.oo 9'X 13" disposable aluminum pans to dump my hot coals into which sits on top of 4 red bricks .


That is my grill! When it is all cool, I fold one pan over the other and sit it in the back of my truck.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Love this thread already!


I agree with everything above. Plenty of stuff around the house and garage that can be used. Garage sales are good for bargains too.


When I read Boys Life and see them shamelessly pitching high-priced "gucci" camping gear, it does not sit well. Sends the wrong message. National is unwittingly discouraging participation by touting such stuff.


For most BSA camping, bargains/used/handmedowns/homemade stuff are just fine. For high adventure, a good pack and a solid pair of shoes are important. Then again, the old timers used to hike Philmont with homemade packboards and such--either they were tougher than us, or we could do it too if we put our mind to it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rope and a sheet of plastic is all you really need. Sticks for stakes....


most of our boys already sleep in blankets and not sleeping bags.


cat can or pepsi can stoves are great except they are now forbidden.



You can get all your grocery's form you local krogers, or walmart.


Mac and cheese, Ramen, Granola bars and fixings to make what ever you want. I love hudson bay bread and peanut butter. They offer spam single serving and non refrigerator bacon.....apples do ok......



Limitations.....your imagination. lots of canned meats...you can make your breakfast cereal by pre adding your nido to it in the zip loc back and just add water for your milk on your cereal. Cheese and crackers.


And amazingly I find I eat less backpacking than at home.


Scoutfish...I think he was referring to less gear and not more.(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gander Mountain opened a store about half a mile from where my office used to be.

I used to love to just go in and window shop.

Sad thing is that I'm a sucker for a sale and ended up buying all sorts of stuff that was just too good to pass up.

Over time a lot of this stuff has somehow managed to become owned by the Ship.

I still only work about a mile or so from the store.

I took it as a sign of old age when I went in th other day and came out without buying anything.


While cooking on board a boat is not the same as cooking over an open-fire or while hiking.

Yard sales are great places to find just about everything needed to out-fit the galley.

We sadly just had an old time pass away. His wife contacted me to see if I knew anyone who might want his Scouting gear.

He was 82. I visited his garage where he kept all of his gear, all very neat and everything in it's place.

A lot of this stuff could well be used as an exhibit about how we used to camp! Most of it hasn't seen the light of day in over 20 years.

It has now found a home in one of the out buildings, till I get to find out what's really there and find new homes for it all.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely. I enjoy going into Eastern Mountain Sports and Gander Mountain and REI and checking out the reviews in Backpacker magazine, but rarely find myself buying that stuff. I've heard Backpacker's approach referred to as "gear p*rn." The gear industry business model is to make you want to upgrade to the latest / newest / lightest / higher-tech thing du jour, whether you need it or not.


Especially with food, there's no need to do the fancy freeze-dried stuff. Your local grocery store can provide everything you need.


My pack is an oversized daypack. My tent is either a tarp or a one-person bivy-style tent that I got for a huge discount at a surplus store. My cook kit is a plastic tupperware-type bowl and throwaway plastic spoon, if I even need it (I try to go no-cook when possible). My sleeping kit (for spring, summer and early fall) is a heavy-duty emergency blanket and a sheet, if needed. My footwear is a pair of running shoes. It's all a couple hundred bucks cheaper and much lighter than the "bargain" recommendations in Backpacker.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love this stuff. I did the plastic lemonade container with foam scrap cozy for ultra-light mess kit. It works great and cost pennies. We did a caving camp out and instead of buying knee-pads I just took an old folding chair back fabric, foam, and duct-tape and made my own. It was ugly and worked.


The trend seems for Americans to "professionalize" and get the optimal gear for every recreational activity. Boys need to show thriftiness. I get discouraged by Boys Life in general -- the old issues used to show a lot of gear you could whack together.


I must admit that my wife has observed that I spend about $100 for incidentals and odd items for every campout for me and my two boys. Even if it is just going to Walmart for "one more tarp" I am not always setting a good example. So I need to do more of this to preserve domestic tranquility.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Boys Life magazine had all kind of plans for DIY gear in the 40s and 50s. Make you own tent, sleeping bag, pack, messkit, bowsaw, stove, and so on.

One wonders how Lewis & Clark covered half the country without having an REI available.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Scoutfish...I think he was referring to less gear and not more."


Possibly, but what I listed fits under one arm and weighs about 4 pounds. Plus, it's all stuff I had laying around that I bought way back when for...something that I can't remember now.


Basically, I used and recycled what I had, and didn't make a trip to the store or spend any money on it. ....except for some duct tape, but due to offical man law, that doesn't count!




Link to post
Share on other sites

Son and I cook on pepsi can stoves when we go out outside of scouting......It killed one of my webelos craftsman projects.....oh well.


Eagle.....we can get nostalgic about what used to be........But it was the stupidity that gets such great scouting tools banned.


I speak of stupidity of leaders and youth. From the idiot leader that gives an eleven year old a cat can stove and then is surprised the youth tips the stove over dumping the alcohol all over himself and gets burned.... To the recklessness of youth throwing the alcohol storage bottle into the campfire, with it exploding in the process......


Heard stories of a kid in a neighboring troop throwing a full jug of tiki torch fuel on the fire resulting in an explosion that looked like a mushroom cloud.....It resulted in them being ban from that camp......


I love homemade gear...

(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh man! That reminds me of something!


Used to be a time way, way back when...my neighbors used to throw their household trash into a pit in their back yard ( right on the edge of the woods) and burn it once a month. Well, my best friend - who along with me, were about 13 or 14 at the time, had found some old cans of motor oil in his dad's garage. I mean the round cylendar cans.


You know, you had to use a can opener or that fancy funnel/can popper to get the oil out!


Some were cardboard sides with metal top and bottom, some were all metal. Anyways, we were burning the trash and he threw one in the fire. We waited and waited and nothing happened. So we tossed 3 or 4 more in.


Waited, waited..waited and nothing. So we started playing around with other stuff and completely forgot about the oil.


The first mushroom looking cloud shot about 30 foot into the air. It was so totally cool looking! :)


The second one looked less like a mushroom, but that's probably because the 3rd and 4th oil cans exploding ruined the mushroom shape. But they did go about 50 foot into the air.


WE thought it was sooooo cool.... 'cept when the trees and yard caught on fire. Good thing we had a waterhose right there and a shovel and that the oil was so old that the exposion was the worst of it.



So. The question is : Why were we entrusted to handle the trash burning in the first place?


As 13 years olds, it was a cool chore to do. But as an adult,....can you really be surprisd that two teenage boys could find a way to blow the yard up?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now I understand everyone's concerns about buying gear 1)it's expensive 2)it limits opportunities for the scout to create their own gear (ie. solve problems and use imagination). But with decreased emphasis on backpacking, hiking, camping etc. in our larger society it seems to me that new gear, so long as the wallet allows, may help get the youth more excited to go outside. I know we get nostalgic about the "good old days" but honestly, newer gear is more comfortable, lighter in a lot of cases, and yes more exciting to youth (ie. cool looking--which is important to young teens).


So if kids get little more excited about scouting by satisfying part of their gear-head side (we are all gear heads in this thread!), then newer brand name gear may not be so bad?



Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...