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. ;)

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The ride home was wonderful; it was a beautiful sunny day once I got out from underneath the redwoods. ;) 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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5 Responses to Camping Experiment #1: Big Basin Redwoods State Park

  1. Geoff Evans says:

    Blue,
    Hey, big fan of your blog and writings, I check almost daily (because I have no life!).
    Just wanted to say thanks to you and your friends for supporting the home team here. I see in your photo’s your sporting Streamlight headlamps in your camping gear. I work for Streamlight and just wanted to say thanks. That light should do well moto-camping, I think it’s the same one I use while moto-camping myself. Good Stuff!
    Keep up the ride reports, keep us posted on how the motocamping gear shakes out, I’m getting ready to do James Bay this summer myself.
    Thanks!

  2. Stephanie says:

    I do recall you were more than happy to help me with those turkey dogs. :P
    Hey, guess what. I found my sleeping bag today. I must have stepped over it sixty times in the last week alone and just completely blotted out its presence.

  3. Bruce Dettling (1P8RIOT) says:

    Good Idea starting close to home and learning what does and doesn’t work. Soundrider.com and cyclefish.com both mave good info. Type “motorcycle camping” into your search engine and you’ll find alot of stuff. Camping brings a whole new twist to a ride.ENJOY!
    1P8RIOT

  4. Jennie says:

    Cool camping reviews. I would like to request that you also review Manresa State Park and New Brighton State Beach. You’re not busy, are you? :)
    Sorry I won’t be skating with you this season!!

  5. carolyn says:

    Jennie, those look great! I’ll definitely check them out this summer (I’m doing more inland parks now before the weather gets too hot, then I’ll switch to the coast until fall).
    I’m signing up for the sub list, so hopefully we’ll still skate together! :D

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