Screw it, we are learning to camp

Published May 20, 2015   Posted in Having some fun

I will admit that for the most part, our idea of “camping” is choosing to stay at a Motel 6 rather than a Holiday Inn, scrimping by on less fluffy pillows and a sink where both the hot and cold water pour out of the same damn faucet.  Yeah, we suck at living off the grid.

But, we are going to change that. 

Grand Canyon, December 2014

Grand Canyon, December 2014 | Photograph by Steve Adcock 🙂

One of our goals for the future is to camp – and I do mean CAMP…like, real camping, using nothing but a tent and a sleeping bag, in some of our country’s most beautiful and unique landscapes.  The lovers of the outdoors that we are, our vision for our future includes schlepping our stuff out into the vast wilderness and setting up a nice, comfy spot next to a lake, or downstream of a waterfall, or up on a mountain top, or…you get the idea.  Imagine the photography.  I sure am.

At the moment, we’d be lucky if we knew how to pound those impossibly-small support rods into the ground to frame our tent, much less put that shit together into something that resembles a sleepable structure.  Extra points if the tent is still standing the next morning.

So what’s the plan?

Over the next several months, acquire some camping gear.  Things like thermal sleeping bags, a good set of hiking boots (I already have those), warm socks, portable cooking utensils, a small stove and, of course, the tent.  We’ll probably visit some outdoorsy blog or web site somewhere to get one of those checklists that we can use to make sure we don’t get ourselves stuck in the middle of nowhere without a change of underwear (like this one).  Or the damn sleeping bags.

On one of our trips to Sedona, AZ | Photograph by Steve Adcock :)

On one of our trips to Sedona, AZ | Photograph by Steve Adcock 🙂

Then, we camp in our backyard.  Try it for a night and see how it goes, pretending the best we can that the house isn’t right there, able and willing to save the day when we screw things up.

We try it out in relative safety and see how things go.  Were the sleeping bags comfortable and warm enough?  Was the tent easy to haul and straightforward to put up?  How about the weight?  Was it manageable?  Of course, I will need to keep in mind that I will have at least a small collection of photography equipment that I will bring with me.  That’s half the point of doing this.

Once we are comfortable with our initial camping rig, we beg a few friends of ours who camp regularly to join us somewhere.  We happen to live fairly close to a mountain range where camping is allowed and encouraged, even out in the middle of nowhere as long as you aren’t pitching your tent on someone’s property.

The first real test, though again, we have our safety net (our friends).

We take note of everything they brought and, naturally, compare it to our stuff.  If our stuff is newer and shinier, we incessantly ridicule them over it.  But, once they end up showing us how to position our tent so it doesn’t simply blow away in the wind when we aren’t looking (or in it!), we beg for forgiveness and hand them a beer.

Why are we doing this?

We love nature.  There are so many beautiful places in our country that most people do not get to see because they are off the beaten trail.  If I am going to get that magazine quality, award-winning shot of a Yellow Stone landscape, and it happens to be 15 miles into the park and inaccessible by car, I sure as hell won’t be doing that 30 mile trek in a single day.

The coast of the island of Maui, Hawaii | Photograph by Steve Adcock :)

The coast of the island of Maui, Hawaii | Photograph by Steve Adcock 🙂

We will be retired by then, so we take our time.  Take a few days to hike in, spend a day or two where ever we decide to set up camp, then hike back out.  At our leisure.  At our own damn pace.

Then, watch out, because this blog will probably get flooded with pictures and articles from yours truly, all proud of himself for making the trip and, hopefully, itching to do it again.

Man, retirement is going to be a blast.  I can feel it!

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15 responses to “Screw it, we are learning to camp”

  1. Great plans! I am going to begin doing the same, but a bit more in comfort with a fifth wheel…

    I just got my access pass for all the national Parks in the USA. So, I get in free, for life, and have a lot of discounts on the park supplied tours and camping.

    The USA has so much to see, most people have not even seen the interesting places within 20 miles of their own home.

    • Steve says:

      My parents used to live in a motorhome for a living – for 12 happy years, just traveling around the country…they actually began their traveling lifestyle in a 5th wheel, pulling it with a Ford F-650 pickup. They got tired of that F-650 being their only vehicle. 🙂

      But you’re so very right – there is a lot to this country that most people never get to experience. I have seen quite a bit, but not nearly enough yet. After retirement, this will be our main goal. 🙂

  2. You already know that we are enthusiastic campers, so we’re glad you’re joining the tribe! We’ll offer a whole bunch of tips next week, but in the meantime — think about the weight of everything. It is the absolute most important thing. A heavy pack will ruin even the most breathtaking scenery! We shave every possible ounce if we’re carrying our stuff, but camp considerably more comfortably when we car camp.

    • Steve says:

      I have heard that weight is the absolute biggest concern about doing this kind of tent-camping after a hike. I am working on downsizing my camera equipment, in fact, to make our rig that much lighter.

      Looking forward to your article. 🙂

  3. Mrs SSC says:

    That is great you are going to learn to camp! We love camping! My advice is to get a good sleeping pad! I never used them when I was young, but once I got in my 30s, I realized that I like sleeping without the ground sucking out all my body heat and having that one little pebble I didn’t find sticking on my side all night!

    • Steve says:

      My wife has said that she will probably need a sleeping pad, so yeah, we will probably have one – both for comfort and, like you said, as a means to keep the heat in. Lots to learn! 🙂

  4. amber tree says:

    Excellent idea! I especially look forward to all these award winning pictures you will be making and showcasing on your blog. Photography is an hobby of mine as well. The best photos are indeed seldom next to the main road, accessible with your car.

    Good luck with the test and camping

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Amber. Agreed, the best photo opportunities are very often off of the beaten path, but that is half the fun of this whole experience – not only finding great photo ops, but actually getting to them. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Hannah says:

    Your photography is incredible! I have a great deal of appreciation for such attention to detail after an accidental foray into food photography. I especially love the light in your Maui photograph.

    I hope you get some great photographs of your backyard (and beyond).

  6. […] for camping info from steve at think save retire, who is an awesome nature photographer, and wants to learn to camp with his wife to spend more time in photographable places. thanks for the suggestion, […]

  7. Kaitlyn says:

    These are great plans! Camping is the best way to take in nature. Practicing in your own backyard is a great idea. The photo of Maui is stunning!

  8. I am a frequent flyer and I do go travelling a lot. Yet recently, I usually take my daughter with me. We both love nature and being a part of nature. In deed, in this early Jan 2017, we plan to take a trip to enjoy the atmostphere when the spring comes.
    Thank you for sharing these info and please keep it up

  9. Victoria says:

    This is interesting. I love the idea of camping and being a part of nature. Whenever I have a chance, I always go with my families. Indeed, I am struggle about what essential gears should I bring on a 3-days camping. Do you have any suggestion on this?
    Thank you for your info and please keep it up.

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