Camping Experiment #1: Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Since I want to do some camping on my trip this summer (mom, are you reading this? If you are, I’m just kidding!), I’ve got some “pre-flight” camping trips scheduled to test out my newer gear.

Friday night was Camping Experiment #1, at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Somehow I managed to talk Steph and Kim into camping with me, and I reserved a place for us via Reserve America.

I arrived first and set up my tent and gear.

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I got hungry while waiting for Steph and Kim, so I cooked myself some Mountain House lasagna with my JetBoil. It came out pretty well — it smelled and tasted like Hamburger Helper — but the cheese really caked onto my JetBoil fork. I added “small sponge” to my packing list.

Steph came bearing a full Coleman camping stove, so she made some turkey dogs.

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The only downside to the event was that the forecasted “low of 40” wasn’t — I don’t think it got below freezing, but it was definitely lower than 40. Anyway, I didn’t think I’d have a problem as my sleeping bag is rated 10F, but I was still freezing all night.

After a great advice thread on Sport-Touring.net, I’m going to try the following for my next cold(ish) camping trip:

  • Bring both the Thermarest and cot (put TR on cot; if I’m still freezing in the night, ditch cot)
  • Put clothes under cot instead of next to cot
  • Put on PJs (hat, wicking long sleeve shirt, wool socks, and WindStopper fiber pants) just before bed
  • Food and jumping jacks before getting into bag (but not so many as to sweat)
  • Don’t lie in bed having to pee — get up and do it

The bike claims it was 35F at 7:30am, after the sun was up:

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A Steph-breakfast of sausage and pancakes helped us warm up….so did moving into the Jeep with the heater cranking for a few minutes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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The ride home was wonderful; it was a beautiful sunny day once I got out from underneath the redwoods. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I stopped for this photo at a vista point on Hwy 9, looking back towards where we were camping:

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All in all, a fun night and a great learning experience. Stay tuned for Camping Experiment #2 this Friday!

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