1,124 forum posts
I was a very well seasoned car camping guy. At the age of 49 I found myself out of work, and broak. Instead of stressing over my downfalls I decided to enjoy my new life. I would go to the nearest park and camp all weekdays. This was still car camping but during the week I was alone much of the time. Plenty of time to enjoy my surroundings. Thats when the hiking bug hit me. Many times in the morning kids would be awake without thier parents. I would gather them up and take them on short hikes. I had to read books about the local plant life. I found that these children were very responsive. Sometimes we would even gather up the trash along these trails.
Flash forward... Age 52, moved out to the Oregon coast. It was a differant world than the one I had left behind. Trails everywhere, lakes, forest, and vast beaches. Much of wich you had to traval by foot. I started out by takeing all day hikes. Then bring gear in dufflebags, one over my shoulder with my sleeping bag under my arm, the other I carried in my other hand. Sometimes making more than one trip back to the car. As time went on I found that I needed less and could make my planed stay in one trip, After a season of this I made the small leap forward.
I found an old Kelty backpack at a garage sale $20. The gentleman tought me how to adjust the straps and hip belt to fit me. This is still the pack I use today. Next as I was still useing my 15# tent, I had to buy a lighter one. As I didnt have much for cashflow I had to do this on the cheap. One day walking through a local department store I found a small, inexpensive 2 man tent, $25 and weighing only 4#. The poles were weak so I repaced them, another $25. I made a popcan stove. And I was on my way.
I have updated many things from there on. But that is how It all started for me. It isnt as much about the gear but more about desire. I love being in the wild. Its in my blood. In the end, starting out slow making sure that you love this lifestyle is the most important thing. But starting out slow, not taking risk, Learning that you can do it without the "best" gear. Understanding the environment and whats around you will make you safe. That is something that no gear can do.