How old were you when you took your last camping tour? Was age the reason? - CycleBlaze

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How old were you when you took your last camping tour? Was age the reason?

Kelly Iniguez

We did a few camping trip with the kids when they were little, and some week long organized bicycle rides that included camping. We rode one, longer 2006 trip in Oregon and Idaho that was self contained camping. 

This was long before my ten pound load limit! Note the four man tent and the camp chairs. That was the life.

This was our last camping trip. Jacinto had long maintained that he had slept on the ground his entire life, growing up poor in Mexico. He no longer needed to sleep on the ground.

I have to admit that cycling is easier without pulling that heavily loaded BOB trailer. There was something about the freedom of camping. Knowing that I could pull over anywhere I liked, and be set for the night. But, I'm at the age where I do like padding across the floor in my bare feet to use the bathroom in the dark hours of the night.

I believe few people on this forum have Jacinto's reason for not wanting to camp.

What do you do?

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4 weeks ago
Wayne EstesTo Kelly Iniguez

I camped most of the time until I was about 50 years old. Then for a couple years my long tours started with camping every night but ended with motels every night. I simply wasn't getting enough rest when camping.

9 years ago I finally gave up on camping. That decision has given me more years of cycle touring. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't still be doing bike tours now if camping was the only option. Now my tours are shorter in length, days have shorter distances and less climbing, and I take more rest days. But I'm still touring!

I miss the flexibility of camping. My recent tours all have lodging reserved in advance, so the schedule is fixed.

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4 weeks ago
George HallTo Kelly Iniguez

I rode the Northern Tier 2 years ago and carried camping gear.  So that was in 2021 and I was 68 years old. As much as possible I stayed inside, but the camping gear gave me another option when inside lodging wasn't available.  As it turned out, I camped 7 nights of the 12-week trip.  I would have liked to camp some early in the trip as we transited Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the New York Adirondacks, but the weather was either cold, or rainy, or the black flies were out in force, so that didn't work out.  Camping along the rest of the route was done almost exclusively to fill in gaps where no lodging existed or none was available, or to enable a "normal-length" riding day versus being forced into a super long or too short day. 

Truth is, I enjoy camping about half of the time - when I don't enjoy it is because of loud neighbors or nearby trains or such, or really adverse weather conditions.  But I have generally been happy with the limited camping I did on the Transam and the Northern Tier routes.  I really should be honest and say that I'm not always too excited about camping in bear country either - if it's a campground and others are nearby and there are bear lockers, then I'm okay with it, but on occasion when I've been rather isolated, I'm not too thrilled about the fact that I'm not top of the food chain - guess I'm a bit of a scaredy cat.  But for the most part, I do like it. 

Now for the tough part of this conversation; dang it, I guess I really am getting older.  I have been using a CPAP machine for about 1.5 years now, and I traveled with a portable unit last fall when I rode the Great Rivers South.  So that's going to complicate my camping. I suppose I could always seek out camping options with electricity available and carry an extension cord along, or I could just not use the CPAP on nights when I camp - in that case I might not sleep very well at all on those nights.   

I'm not sure that I have quit camping on bicycle tours, but it's definitely harder for me now.  Still, if there was a tour where camping a few nights was required to make the logistics work, I would do it.  Who needs to sleep anyway? There's plenty of time for that when you're dead... And with that cheerful thought, I'll bow out. 

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4 weeks ago
Graham SmithTo Kelly Iniguez

Kelly it’s a very timely question, as I’m currently planning a short cycle tour in NZ and I was hoping to avoid having to carry a tent to minimise load weight & volume. 

My preference nowadays is to sleep in accommodation with a roof if possible, but the route I’ve chosen will need camping for at least a couple of days.

A few reasons for less cycle camping.
-Saving money on accommodation is less essential now than in my younger years. Contributing to small town economies is also important to me.
- More time riding. Less time setting up and pulling down camp. 
- Interaction with people in small towns & villages. More opportunity in pubs & cabins than in bush camps. 
- Keeps the load a bit lighter and less bulky.

-And yes. The ground is harder now than it was 40 years ago when I first cycle toured.

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4 weeks ago
Mike AylingTo Kelly Iniguez

I was in my late sixties when I taught Mary to ride a tandem. We quickly established that we wanted to carry as little as possible so we book accommodation, usually not more than two days ahead. Also as well as the ground being hard I have lost some flexibility so crawling in and out of a tent is a bit of a chore!

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4 weeks ago
John PescatoreTo Kelly Iniguez

Well, I was 12 years old  the last time I bike-camped, so about 54 years ago!

Back in the 1980s, a group of friends and I used to SCUBA dive and we planned a week long trip down to and around Florida to dive in different places, and to save money we brought tents and sleeping bags and found campgrounds for each night.

The first night it poured rain, we stayed in a motel. The next night the campground fee seemed to be about the same as two rooms in the Motel 6...  After that, the excuses got flimsier and flimsier - somewhere in the Florida Keys we decided the gaze of raccoons between our car and our campsite had rabies, off to a motel!

That same group become the Old Man Bicycling Tour group a few years later and we didn't  even pretend we were going to camp on our week long tours, though one of the guys did do the BikeCentennial Transamerica route years later and camped about 50% of the nights.

Personally, I'm a big baby about sleeping in the heat. If I do a cool weather tour, I might still give camping a shot if I was solo When my wife and I did the C&O Canal Towpath in November years ago, I floated the idea of camping, but my wife said "only if you first show me recent photos of the bathroom I will be using each night"...

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4 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Kelly Iniguez

We have stopped camping  since Dodie's knees required replacement surgery about 6 years ago, although the lure of a bed, fluffy quilts and included breakfasts meant we were using indoor accommodations  1/3 of the time for a few years before that. 68 years old seems to have been our cutoff point and now, at 75, we really prefer those comfy beds indoors. The extra cost is absorbed into our budgeting, and the weight savings is significant.

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3 weeks ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Kelly Iniguez

Our most recent cycle camping trip was in 2020, when we last went to Salt Spring Island and Sooke Potholes.  We had planned another trip in 2021, and had even managed to book a campsite on Galiano Island, but then non-essential travel outside one's health region was temporarily banned here in BC, and by the time the ban was lifted, we were in the throes of packing to move from our home of over 30 years.

We prefer to tour in Europe and Al prefers not to camp.   I still enjoy camping, especially in France, where it's possible to sleep in my little tent and eat out, as it's camp cooking I really don't like.  However, I'm quite happy to not carry the extra gear.  When I embark on my next solo trip, we shall see if I pack my tent, sleeping kit, etc.

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3 weeks ago
Gregory GarceauTo Kelly Iniguez

I was a wilderness backpacker before I was ever a bike tourist.  So camping and hiking is almost as fun for me as bike riding.  I sleep better in a tent than I do in a comfy motel bed.

I'm on a tour right now where I'm trying to uphold my camping ethic, but it's been hard to do in 90-degree temperatures.  I'm camping tonight, keeping myself cool by pouring water on my head and shirt.

It should get down to 72 tonight, which is way better than camping in Death Valley during a sweaty night that never got below 90-degrees.

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3 weeks ago
marilyn swettTo Kelly Iniguez

2018 was our last tour where we camped. We were both 65 years old. Since then, our lives have been turned upside down and our long tours have stopped (and probably not to return). 

Since we purchased our Airstream trailer for traveling around the country, we've both gotten spoiled with having our own beds, kitchen and bathroom. It gets harder and harder to think of sleeping on the ground again! Although I have always liked the coziness of our own little tent. But walking barefoot across the dirty floor of a sketchy motel room, worrying about bed bugs or roaches isn't ideal either! 

Last year we sold all of our camping gear and if we tour again, we will be lightly loaded doing shorter rides and stay indoors. 

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3 weeks ago