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It's a long story, from Kentucky.

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  • It's a long story, from Kentucky.

    Hi WCS!

    Like everybody else, when COVID hit I got pretty stir crazy. My city was also one of the ones that had demonstrations (and the occasional riot) this summer, and all that was not far from my house. By late May or so I'd started keeping the car facing away from the activity and with loaded with some food and bedding. Writing it out, that sounds like an overreaction but I assure you it was not. Plus my employment, like most everybody else's, was tenuous.

    On account of all this upset, last summer I committed myself to finding all the free or low-cost campsites that I might want (or need) to spend extended time at. It's been quite a learning experience! At first, I was googling "how to camp" on my phone while trying to shove my cat into the car. There were riot police, I had coursework due, it was preposterous. Fortunately, that settled some and I've continued this project.

    This summer and fall I camped at least one weekend a month and on other weekends I've gone to check out new parks or forests for future use. It's all in the most procedural way possible for a person who doesn't know what the hell they are doing. I'm new-ish to camping as most other people do it and to be honest, I find the practice sort of strange. Though, I had an unusual start at outdoor life so my experience and expectations are all over the place. For instance, I solo backpacked as a novice around Iceland with, like, pocket change ten years ago but then didn't so much as go on a nature walk again until this summer.

    And so, I came from a shoestring-budget backpacking mentality and think of camping as an escape hatch as much as a hobby, but people at campsites are pulling compressors out of their trunks to inflate their air mattress. Which is absolutely fine, you do whatever you want, have a blast with your air compressor, be free, but I can't get over people buying these things and also buying their home things and then storing this extra stuff when they aren't using it. It sounds terrible! Where do people get the energy? How?! Everything about camping culture was expensive and looked like a lot of trouble and I really didn't get it at all. (Cutting down on your pack's weight by ripping unnecessary pages out of your atlas? Totally reasonable.)

    That brings me to WCS-- I'm based out of Kentucky and only visit places in this region of the US so I won't be in cold like you all are probably accustomed to. However, winter is right around the corner for us here and that's going to be a challenge for me. Even my Iceland trip was during the summer and the temperature was seldom below freezing. I haven't accumulated the clothing or gear that somebody with different habits, or in a different climate, would have. Do I even need anything? I feel pretty confident that I can manage discomfort but I have a healthy fear of walking into the woods alone in winter. Even in KY/IN/OH winters, because I am sure I have a lot to learn before I can venture too far from cell service range. Probably even more before I can have a good time at it. But here's to hoping!

    WOW. That turned into a long story! Thanks for reading if you made it this far!


  • #2
    You should start reading up and I'm sure others more experienced in real cold will advise on what books contain the least BS.
    The Goodwill and garage sales are your friend as is US army surplus.
    Winter can be the very best time of year so long as it doesn't kill you.


    • Violet
      Violet commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Moondog!

  • #3
    Welcome! There are many books on this subject of staying warm. Couple quick things come to mind to stay warm. Blood circulation and moisture mitigation. Without those two, people get cold real fast.

    Blood circulation for your feet, lacing boots too tight cause more problems than what they're worth. Moisture mitigation is controlled by trying to stay dry all the time. Certain fabrics such as wool and synthetic fibers wick sweat from the body. I believe wool has an edge here due to still maintaining it's warmth when saturated with water. Stay hydrated is another key to staying warm as well.

    Pull up a chair and ask as many questions as you want. There are many knowledgeable people here on this site.