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Thread: Initial Cost of Camping..

  1. #1
    Administrator Mellow's Avatar
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    Tent Initial Cost of Camping..

    I originally got into camping on the bike because I wanted to do a lot of riding and the cost of some of the hotels was going to empty my wallet quickly.

    I'd never camped as a child, never was into backpacking or any type of hobby which required me to camp so I was a virgin.

    One of the questions I'm asked the most when I tell someone I camp on every trip I go on is "how much does all the gear cost". I also had the same concern that I didn't want to spend hundreds of $$ on a bunch of gear just to find out I didn't like it and then I'd be out even more money and have to try and unload the gear on someone else.

    I decided to put a quick list of the bare esentials together with some links to other areas of the site where more detailed information could be found.
    Here goes:

    Tent ($100-$150)

    $100-$150 for a 2-man 3 Season backpacking tent(I suggest you don't skimp on your tent, get a good one and if you don't like it it should be easy to sell)

    Sleeping Bag ($50-$150)

    This varies as you can get a 0 degree bag at walmart for $50 but won't pack as small as the backpacking sleeping bags that start around $100.

    Sleeping Mattress/Pad ($20-$100)

    Start out cheap and get a twin sized air mattress by coleman or ozark trail for $20 from Wal-mart then, if you want something smaller or tougher you can spend the extra $$ later on the self inflating ones but you won't be out much on the initial cost.

    Food/Cooking ($0)

    Don't worry about it for now, eat in town on your way to/from your camping sites.

    Lighting ($0-$10)

    You probably already have a small flashlight, if not, get a headlamp LED flashlight as it's cheap, dependable and will allow you to work with both hands in case you need to setup at night.

    Luggage ($40-$60)

    The duffel or backpack that Cabelas offers is a great, cheap, tough and waterproof option that, with one or the other, should fit just about every configuration of bike.

    Priceless
    Getting away from it all with great friends.

    Total ($210-$470)

    That's it... everything else you can figure out as you go and only the above items are considered essential, everything else you can get or not get as you see fit.

    This total might seem hight at first however, remember that this is not recurring cost, this setup will work for you for many camping trips where you spend $5-$10 per night vs. a hotel cost of $50-$100+ per night. Typically, 5 nights of camping will pay for itself. If you determine after the first trip that you don't care for the 'great outdoors' then you have luggage which you'll probably still use for extra clothes on your hotel-trips, a cool LED light that will always be useful and a tent/sleeping bag that you shouldn't be hard to sell.

    My initial cost was around $350 and I broke even on my first multi-day trip to the Smokey Mountains. Now, I've probably spent that much more since that first trip on new/different equipment however, I've probably camped close to 60 nights since that first trip as well, you do the math.

    It started out as a way to save money but it ended up as a life-style, I can't imagine spending the night in a hotel when I could be out in the open or desert or forest or mountains looking up at the stars and talking with friends around the campfire.
    Last edited by Mellow; 11-02-2007 at 07:32 PM.
    Joe (My Travels) 2014 Super Tenere


  2. #2

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    Re: Initial Cost of Camping..

    I had most of the essential gear from family vacations. I did have to start getting backpacking gear for the weight/size issue. A lot of this stuff can be bought cheaper if you look around. If you are just starting out most of the Motorcycle only campgrounds will rent you all of the gear you need, this will let you see if you like this "sport" before you get to deep into your pocket.

  3. #3
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    Re: Initial Cost of Camping..

    Quote Originally Posted by mongo
    I had most of the essential gear from family vacations. I did have to start getting backpacking gear for the weight/size issue. A lot of this stuff can be bought cheaper if you look around. If you are just starting out most of the Motorcycle only campgrounds will rent you all of the gear you need, this will let you see if you like this "sport" before you get to deep into your pocket.
    That's a good point... I'm only aware of a couple motorcycle only campgrounds in the Deal's Gap area.

  4. #4
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    Re: Initial Cost of Camping..

    Good post Joe. I have just got excited about camping on the bike and had never been a camper either. I only got to thinking about it when planning my trip out to CO & UT - 10 nights at around $70 / night for hotel is $700 just to sleep Most campgtounds I have seen in the areas I will be at are around $15 / night for tent or $30 / night for cabin. BIG difference in costs.

    Here is what I lightened my wallet by on the camping gear I have so far:

    Eureka Apex 3XTA tent - new 2005 closeout on eBay = $103
    Slumberjack Super Guide 30+ sleeping bag = new on eBay $74
    Coleman Twin size Quickbed air mattress = Dicks Sporting Goods = $25
    Ortlieb medium Dry Duffel bag = Aerostich $60
    MVP air pump (for mattress) = Walmart $6
    4 Custom Lashing Straps made to my specs = Strapworks.com $16.50
    Princeton Tec Aurora LED headlamp & LED key fob = Dicks Sporting Goods $25
    Misc (clothes clips/parachute cord/caribeners/etc) = Walmart / Dicks $10

    TOTAL = $319.50

    At an average $70 for hotel room and $15 for tent spot in campground it will take me only 6 nights to pay for the camping gear I have bought in the money I will save.

  5. #5

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    Re: Initial Cost of Camping..

    On my first long camping trip I borrowed my Uncle's sears cartop/harborfrieght trailer and all his camping gear. My girlfriend (now boss lady) and I sorted through his camping gear to sort out the redundant items (i.e. 3 shovels, 2 axes etc. etc.) Then we went from Durham N.C. to Maine on our first trip. We had a blast. I've been camping since I was in diapers so I at least had a clue. That up coming winter I bought myown trailer and started buying camping gear. Every payday I'd buy a little something. One the tent was purchased the rest was small potatoes. 1 sleeping bag this payday. 1 sleeping bag the next. Stove this payday and a lantern the next. This went on for the better part of the winter. When we went on our first trip in the spring we were set. Plus we didn't have to deal with my Uncles sorry trailer! I spend about 4 or 5 weeks a year camping and my gear evolves depending on need or new stuff on the market. I've wore out 1 coleman tent that I think was slept in over 100 nights in 3 years and 1 coleman stove. No biggie. If you use it enough it'll wear out. I don't mind spending the money as long as I can spread it out a little. Works for us!
    -Rich

  6. #6

    Re: Initial Cost of Camping..

    I've had some of my gear for 15 years and it still works great. Although some of the prices seemed steep at the time for good gear, it's made my trips more enjoyable and paid for itself in the first year or two.

  7. #7

    Re: Initial Cost of Camping..

    The great thing about camping gear is that if you take care of it, it can last for years and years. I think my oldest item is a pocket knife I recieved from my dad in the 70's. A lot of the things I currently use I bought in the late 80's or early 90's. I like to get the middle of the road stuff. The high end stuff seems like a wast of mone to me, and the inexpensive (cheap) stuff just doesn't last.
    A little maintainance goes a long way.
    But then there's so much cool new stuff out there, I may be upgrading my pot-set, water filter, and lantern this summer, even though the old stuff works just fine.

  8. #8
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    Re: Initial Cost of Camping..

    I've been camping all my life. Dad made sure of that. Our river/lake trips are some of my best memories. Our family along with a couple other families would do two weeks on (for exsample) Lake Mojave. We'd pack up the ski boats with food and gear and spend the next couple of hours heading across and up the lake where we'd find a nice cove to stay. We were alway's within an hour or so of some small landing where we could get fuel and ice. Back then you were lucky to see another boat go by everyday of our stay. Our camp settups were without tents (tents? we need no stinking tents) but we always brought plenty of shade. Alway's slept looking up at the stars in those day's.

    Dad also made sure we Boy Scouts. The troup we were in was a backpacking troup. A five miler once a month carrying everything we needed on our backs. If you attended all the five milers you qualified for the 9 day 50 miler up in the high sierra's. The camping trip of all trips. 35 mile hike in were you'd settup camp for a week. during that week you also spend a couple of day's at a place we called high camp. That was another 15 miles round trip. These were great times and taught us all how and what we needed to know to get by in the wild.

    Like Greg points out gear can last a long time if you take care of it. I still have gear from my scouting day's. I don't use it anymore only because in the last 40 years camp gear has changed and my big 6'2" frame just doesnt fit some of it anymore. I just recently replaced my candle lanterns I used in scouts.The old ones still work great but the news ones are much smaller now. All the tents and sleeping bags used through out the years are now used by my kids.

    Wasn't till 2000 that I started to camp off the motorcycle. I had a Gold Wing for 6 years prior to that but never used it for anything except commuting back and forth to work. The purchace of my ST1100 is where my motorcycle camping all started.

    These day's I like to bring more along. My new GS makes this all possible. Still like to eat out but cooking some of your own meals is what I consider part of camping. With very little effort you can crank out one hell of a meal with very little effort. Nothing like the smell of bacon in the morning and a nice breakfast before you break camp.

    My gear these days: Mountain Hardware Wedge 3 with footprint $260
    Big Agnes -20 bag and mattress $280...........cold weather camping
    Aero Comfort Camp Bed +40 $100...............warm weather camping
    Coleman 442 dual fuel stove $45
    REI candle lantern $19
    Seattle Sports soft cooler $40
    Misc. gear Im sure is between $200-$300

    Yea, it seems to all add up quick.

    I know I've probably spent a lot on camp gear and most of it is "MIDDLE OF THE ROAD" stuff. But once again if taken care of it will last a lifetime. It was also bought over the course of 6 years. And now camping from the bike is very comfortable and an enjoyable experiance. We cover lots of ground early in the day and look forword to our afternoons and evenings at camp. With a little planning where everyone pitches in, our meals are top notch.

    A good day's ride, food, Drink and Friends what makes for a better time?
    Keith R.
    Sun City, SoCal
    05' Honda GoldWing
    AKA ownst100 STOC 1211

  9. #9

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    Re: Initial Cost of Camping..

    A good day's ride, food, Drink and Friends what makes for a better time?


    I think you said it all!

  10. #10

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    Re: Initial Cost of Camping..

    I, too, was in the Boy Scouts as a kid. Eagle, hoo-rah! Unfortunately, as I got older, and moved into the "adult" world, I forgot all the fun of tenting.

    Recently, it occured to me that I was spending way too much for hotels. Even cheap places were adding up quickly. I try to go out at least once per month, for a night or two, and once or twice per year on a multi-night trip. At this rate, money was evaporating fast ....

    I had a tent and sleeping bag banging around in storage. I dusted them off, and put them back into service. I'm loving this! I look forward to a days ride, then goofing around a campfire in the evening. Whether I ride alone, or with a friend, I always meet new folks at the campsites. I enjoy much more interaction when in the wilds.

    If the weather is completely buggered, I'll hit a hotel; otherwise, look for me in the tentsites!

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