Welcome to Camping from Scratch

I grew up camping, and when I decided to get back into it after a roughly college-and-grad-school length hiatus, I was dismayed at the poor signal-to-noise ratio for camping and backpacking gear on the Internet. It can be a lot to wade though, even relative to many other gear-intensive hobbies. There’s no shortage of “reviews” that are just press releases directly from gear manufacturers.

For one thing, there are a lot of items you don’t need at all if you’re going to do weekend camping, that you can add later if you decide to hike the whole Pacific Coast Trail or something. Further, even if you want to go ahead and get really top notch gear whether you need it or not, it’s very easy to spend hundreds of dollars more than necessary, for something with exactly the same features, if you’re not careful.

This website is an attempt to pass along some gear recommendations and tips that have saved me a lot of money while I was getting back into camping.  Check out the “Gear” and other tabs at the top to see everything here, since older posts may have scrolled off of the updates sidebar on the left.

It’s been about 4 years now, and a few dozen camping trips. I’m very happy with the gear I have (and the things I’ve realized I don’t need). I haven’t spent a ton of money. I made a few missteps along the way, that I hope to help others avoid. The closer your camping goals are to mine, the better this advice might fit you- my own goals involve some walk-in camping, some backpacking, and some car camping, for mostly weekend trips, and rarely anything over a week.

I hope that this will help you get geared up to go camping or backpacking, while avoiding wasting money or time unnecessarily. I also have a few friends who want to get started camping now, and I hope I can save a lot of copy-and-pasted emails by pointing them here before they start buying gear.

If I make any big changes to my gear based on finding something I like better (or that’s a lot cheaper) down the road, I’ll update the relevant post.

I hope you find some of this info helpful.  Have fun camping!


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