alpharaposa: (Default)
There was a time when your choices for healthy backpacking food was limited to either very, very expensive and bad tasting specialty food or finding somebody that made army C rations (also not that great).

Or you could live off of rice and beans for a week.

Even things that were kind of like backpacking food, like rice-a-roni, required butter or milk to prepare. Meat had to come in a tin or dried.

Now, there are tons of rice and pasta dishes that require nothing more than water and a pot to boil it all in. Knorr has recently started making said dishes with "2 servings of vegetables" in the pouch. There are pouches of chunked but not dried meat, lighter than cans and better tasting. These include chicken, tuna, salmon, crab, and browned ground beef. There is even pre-cooked bacon!

All of this could be seen as a sign of laziness in our society, a rot that spurns the art of cooking. I, however, use these items and marvel at how much the available food to take camping has improved over the years. This is a landmark time for planning a backpacking menu.

Back again

May. 30th, 2008 09:02 pm
alpharaposa: (god)
Well, back again early. The weather in the mountains is colder than we'd prepared for, and I had a day when I had a great big migraine, so we shortened the trip.

It has done me a world of good. I have walked quite a few miles in the past week. I feel better. I look better in the mirror.

It's strange that a vacation where I got up at 7 in the morning almost every morning and did chores every day and toiled over hills should be so relaxing and wonderful. Camping is a boon to me. There are people in this world who will never understand that. There are others who understand it all too well.
alpharaposa: An Adventuring Bear (bear)
Zug-zug. I need an "I've been working hard" icon.

[livejournal.com profile] anher and I went out and did all the shopping for our camping trip. We're breaking up the groceries into five days and five days, but all the non-food items are now purchased. I've picked up a lot of useful habits from [livejournal.com profile] aefenglommung over the years. Today, I set up the tent and checked it over, then wrote up a menu. The two of us bought all the leftover bits of gear, the food, and I've already repacked the food.

Next on the list is to pack/repack the gear, then finish the laundry up and pack personal items.

Tomorrow, we set off for adventure!
alpharaposa: (jrwoodchuck)
Once the thunderstorm had blown over and the sun came out again, I went shopping for camping gear.

Oddly enough, we didn't have a tent. All the tents at the Exchange were 4-man or larger, so I hied myself to the Dick's Sporting Goods and oogled their canvas*.

At the same time as I was browsing, a trio of adults were there, looking for tents for a Boy Scout troop. As we were discussing the pros and cons of various tents, I mentioned that even the 3 person tents were really too big for just myself and my husband. They responded with a comment about gear.

And that's when I realized: backpacking changes how you camp. Even if you're not backpacking, it becomes strange to think about stashing gear inside a tent. Tents are for sleeping and changing clothes. Keeping things in the tent just makes for a messy tent.

The backpacking tents at the store cost about five times what the normal ones cost. They use expensive materials that are lighter, because every single ounce counts when you have to carry it on your back. When you backpack, you treat tents with care. It is a magic item that keeps you dry and out of the wind at night. That's precious; you wouldn't want to ruin it by using it for some other purpose and then find yourself with nothing to keep you from getting soaked tomorrow night. So, you don't walk in and out of a tent all the time and you don't keep a lot of gear inside. And, honestly, these habits will make an ordinary tent last longer, too.

I ended up purchasing an ordinary 2-person tent. We're doing 'kitchen sink' camping, and aren't concerned about weight. My backpacking experience influenced even that purchase, though, as I hunted for a tent that was simple enough for even one person to erect quickly. Just in case.

I forgot to check how much rope we have. Well, that's a task for tomorrow. I'll need to set up the tent to make sure it's in good order before we leave, too.


*Tents were once all made of canvas. They aren't anymore, except for the industrial-strength, army-surplus tents often used at Boy Scout and Girl Scout camps. Such tents may have been a well-known feature of my youth, but I wouldn't want to put one up and take it down again on a regular basis.

Camping!

May. 20th, 2008 03:33 pm
alpharaposa: An Adventuring Bear (bear)
[livejournal.com profile] anher's leave is approved, so I just called up the Virginia State Park service to reserve some camping spots in Lake Anna State Park for the 26th and the 27th.

He suggested leaving on Sunday. The conversation went like this:

Anher: We could leave on Sunday.
Me: Try to get a camping spot in a State Park on Memorial Day Weekend?
Anher: Alright, we'll leave on Monday.

As it was, the nice person I talked to said they had only a few spots left open, and couldn't guarantee they'd still be available if I called back tomorrow. So, I've staked down a site for the beginning of our trip. We'll go see both Montpelier and Monticello before hitting the Shenandoah for a few days.

Virginia State Parks charge monumental camping fees. Just over $50 for two nights.

Any recommendations for camping in the Shenandoah? Things to see, places to camp?

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