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New to camping

Hi! I’m new to camping. I’m 60, 250lbs. and 6’6”. I would like to make my first camping experience as comfortable as possible. I’m open to suggestions on equipment like a great sleeping pad, tent for 2 that’s fairly easy to get in and out of, etc. any suggestions on the basics? Thank you! 

4 Replies

Hi @Kooler that's great that your getting into camping! Will you be car camping or backpacking, or both?

When it comes to tents there are a ton of great options out there, one that I would recommend is the REI Co-Op Half Dome 2 Plus, its longer and wider than other 2 person tents, has large doors and vertical side walls, which makes the inside feel more roomy.  You could also consider a 3 person tent.

As far as sleeping pads there are so many options and your choice really comes down to balancing comfort (thickness), size and weight. I'd start by looking at the foam pad options.  If you go into your local REI store you can test out all the models that they have available.  

Since your new to camping you could also set up a Personal Outfitting session at your local REI.  You can find out more about that here.

Have a great time!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

I got an REI Kindom 6 tent for 2 of us to have a luxurious camping experience.  It fit 2 cots and a small table comfortably, with room stand and move around.  We were very happy with our choice!  For camping, I highly recommend a tent in which you can stand.  The REI Grand Hut tents are also nice 🙂

Great that you're getting outside @Kooler !

@REI-LeslieN makes a good point about your planned "mode" of camping - car camping or backpacking. Vast difference between the two esp for a newcomer.

Assuming you'll start with car camping, maybe start by deciding on a cot or ground pad. For cots, a tent with more headroom and more-vertical sidewalls would help (you're higher off the ground).  Sounds like you'll have a tent partner with you, so a 3-person tent might be more comfortable. Word of advice about cots and tent floors: cots with individual legs and pointy ends will quickly wear-out a tent floor. Look for a cot with "U"-shaped legs that spreads the contact over a larger area. If using ground pads, a 2-person tent model might work, but at 6'6" tall, you'll likely find a 3-person giving that  extra room to be comfortable (esp with another person sharing space with you).

For ground pads, definitely go to a store and try them out.  Personally I'm 51 y.o, 6'0, 190 lbs and I use a slightly thicker pad (NeoAir Trekker) than some of the lighter-weight models. At our age, the 'ol joints are a bit more creaky and having a pad that allows your shoulders, hips and butt to sink-in a bit while not contacting the ground makes for a much better night's sleep. There are even thicker pad options, but at increased weight (i.e. NeoAir Camper).

A good sleeping bag is also important. Too many options and assumptions for this forum - talk to a knowledgeable retail associate who can help you narrow-down your choices (3 or 4 season, lightweight or plush, damp conditions, M/F, down or synthetic, cost, etc).

There's such a vast array of gear options these days, I'd also recommend simply observing others while you're "out there". As you get more experience, consider renting various models of tents, bags, pads, etc. Cheap investment to help you refine your choices before making a leap into a purchase.

Hope this helps.

Hi. Yes, I appreciate the info. that everyone gave me. I’m dealing with some major health issues, but I’m on the way up in no way like I ever have. I will start out driving my car to a secluded campsite and enjoy that. Who knows what the future holds. I’m doing things today that I had recently decided I never would be able to do.