Beginner Camper/Hiker.

11:06 p.m. on March 9, 2016 (EST)
Joshua Perez
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1 forum posts

Hello, My name is Josh

I want to start camping/hiking but don't know where to start. If anyone has any info on where and how to begin that would be great. Also any gear recommendation would help as I have no clue what I would need. 

11:53 p.m. on March 9, 2016 (EST)
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If you've never done it before I suggest you borrow or rent some equipment for a couple of trips, make sure you like it before you invest a lot of money.

7:07 a.m. on March 10, 2016 (EST)
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Unless you're already hiking I'd start there. Do some day trips without worrying about camping. You don't need much gear and there's no point buying a lot of backpacking gear if you find that you're not enjoying the hiking part :) You don't need much more than good shoes/boots on your feet and a small pack to carry some food, water, extra clothes, etc.
Once you've got the hiking thing down I'd move on to camping near your vehicle rather than heading out deep into the wilderness. Even if you try all your gear out at home the practice of a few car camping trips can help you figure stuff out without the risks of being cold, wet and/or hungry out in the woods. Get the lighter gear you'll want for later when you're carrying it, so no 20 pound air mattresses or propane stoves. Just spend the time getting comfortable with the routines of setting up camp, making meals and breaking down camp to pack up.
From there it is just a matter of going farther or higher or whatever gives you more of whatever you're going out there for. Keep building on what you've learned while neither under estimating the challenges nor over estimating your abilities. I guess my advice to someone starting out would be to take it easy. Those who push too hard too soon tend to hate it and stop going.
As for gear recommendations it will help folks help you if you give them more information. Where do you live? What sort of trips did you have in mind in terms of length, number of people, terrain, elevation, etc? You can start by looking through reviews and you'll learn a lot about what is out there, but more importantly how people are using it.

9:41 a.m. on March 10, 2016 (EST)
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As a long time SAR volunteer, I will say "Safety first."  Carry a least a few band aids on your first trips and be sure you have enough water.  For that matter, do your first trips i situations where water is available.

I would recommend a first aid course so you can use those band aids properly.  in a way, this has nothing to do with hiking or camping.  My FA knowledge has been useful, even crucial, in completely urban settings as often as out in the woods.  Most hiking and camping is not inherently dangerous, but you may be less available to emergency services when out on the trail,and your actions may make a big difference.

other than that, Lone Stranger has it right.  Him speak with straight tongue!!

5:43 p.m. on March 10, 2016 (EST)
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I would look for a group that hikes and backpacks so you can learn gradually and directly from others. See what you like and don't like and what works for you. Some may loan out equipment as well.

7:35 p.m. on March 10, 2016 (EST)
denis daly
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1,962 forum posts

First is where are you and where are you thinking of going? There's alot of state parks on line to tell you what area you might be inclined to hike ...Also look into county parks systems...As Long stranger has said it really doesn't cost you anything to pack a lunch and bring ample water with you..You can just throw it in a book bag ( Shoulder pack) and drive to the park and just enjoy..I am including this article that points to things we take along on hikes..

For camping like he said start in the backyard and learn to set up and take down a tent till you have it mastered...Also meet up is a great place to meet people that are hiking alot of hiking clubs and groups are on there...Genrally they tell you if it easy to hard of a hike...But if you meet people are know anyone that hikes or camps that's a good way to start out...The more information you give us the better we can help you..

Do you hike at all?

Do you know how to build a fire?

Have you camped with someone before?

Where are you thinking of going?

3:06 p.m. on April 1, 2016 (EDT)
Uriah Hon
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28 forum posts

Im inclined to agree LoneStranger. Grab a lunch and some water and head out for the day. When your lunch hike doesnt seem like enough plan a day in the sun. Head out at sunrise, come back at dark. Then move on to your over nights. During your day hikes try to incorporate as much terrain as you can. Essentially though to get into backpacking you need your main components first. Your backpack, shelter, and your sleep system. You will find conflicting arrangements and never ending options with all three. My personal suggestion is research research research. Head into your local retailer and try on several packs. Lay in several sleeping bags and on top of several mats. Consider the differences in shelters such as 1 person vs. 2 person, side entry or end entry etc. Some rules that seem to prove fairly common are: You want to be just about as waterproof as possible. Weight is a major factor... you are the one carrying it. There is a fine line between weight, function and comfort... you will need to find the combination that works best for you. Consider the area that you plan to do the majority of your camping. Is it cold, is it wet, is it hot, rocky, sandy etc. These will all matter. Listen to your body. If its to heavy in the store, its too heavy after 20  miles. If its uncomfortable in your living room then it probably wont work on a shelter floor. Dont be afraid to get out in your back yard to practice with your gear. Setting it up and taking it down is crucial in increment weather. As time goes on you will fine tune this your set up to become your own through your preferences and budget. 

5:00 p.m. on April 1, 2016 (EDT)
tracker clayton @tracker clayton 2
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I'd say you have got alot of good info already, what I would do is continue to hangout around here ask questions and join in on topics. Just start off slow and before you know it you'll have a decent grasp on things. It all can seem overwhelming but there is alot of good people here who are willing to help. Also if you have a significant other get them involved if they will be going with you. Hikermor has it right safety is crucial and 1st aid is always worth the time to learn.

8:56 a.m. on April 2, 2016 (EDT)
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Newbies should start by doing some reading. Try the local library or buy some used books on Amazon that describe how backpacking works. Try a couple of different authors.  Try to find some more experienced people to help you .  Then build your confidence by using the progression many people have alluded to.  

Do not get in over your head by going too far too soon.

9:24 a.m. on April 2, 2016 (EDT)
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Earlier I ranted about first aid stuff.  I would also mention that you should always pack a dependable light source - a smaall flashlight will do. Inevitably all of us get caught by darkness and light is a good thing to have. A light jacket will also come in handy.

The more you get out, the more you will learn, and the more fun you will have....

2:03 p.m. on April 2, 2016 (EDT)
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Have you contacted a local hiking group? I signed up with my local Appalachian Mountain Club for winter hiking classes before hitting the White mountains in New Hampshire.

11:27 a.m. on April 4, 2016 (EDT)
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Make sure you know where you are at all times and learn to be cautious.  A mistake or an accident a long way from help can turn into a big problem.  Then you can avoid the gross level errors and enjoy your selves.

June 7, 2020
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