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Hi from NYC! :) First solo camping trip soon!

Hi everyone! My name is Erica and I’m born raised and live in NYC. love getting outdoors and have been hiking around a lot in the past year! I also love paddle boarding, kayaking, snowboarding and getting out of the city. Going on a camping weekend soon and it’ll be the first time without the help of my camper friends so wish me luck and would love any tips! 

So nice to be here!

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9 Replies

Hi @Ericajl87 - Welcome to the community!

You are in a great spot to get tips for camping and all of the other incredible activities you listed! We definitely suggest taking a look around our specific activities boards, which are wonderful places to ask your questions, share your own expertise, and tell stories from all of your ventures! The hiking, camping, watersports, and snowsports boards will hopefully be valuable to look through!

I'm up in Vermont, so the skier in me has to ask: where's your favorite place to snowboard over here in the northeast?

If you have any questions about your upcoming camping trip, you can respond here with them or start a new thread on the camping board and we'll be happy to answer! Are you using gear that you are already familiar with or is there a new piece of your setup that you have questions about? Are you excited about cooking outside or maybe need a bit of advice about what a good food plan might be? Let us know and we'll share what we know! 

Thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself. We're glad to have you here!

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

Thank you sooo much @REI-CarterC ! I love snowboarding in VT and spent most my life shredding in Canada at Mount Tremblant!

re camping: I already have a tent and sleeping bags pad head lamp lamp etc that I’ve used many times before so I feel set there! I’m most uncomfortable with the food and cooking setup! Every time I’ve gone camping other people do the cooking so I have no clue where to start. Would love some recs! 

@Ericajl87 - Nice! It makes me happy to hear that Vermont has treated you well. I'm not sure if you were able to make it over the Tremblant this year with the land borders closed, but hopefully you again in the seasons ahead!

For food recommendations, do you have a stove already? There have been conversations previously about easiest first-time backpacking stoves and the MSR Pocket Rocket was a consistent suggestion because of its simplicity and size/weight. If you are car camping and would like something with a bit more room to cook, the Coleman Triton 2-Burner or Eureka SPRK+ Camp Stove are good options.

For the meals themselves, it's important to remember that they can be simple and delicious at the same time, so there is no need to worry about creating complicated plans! Larger meals are often nice to have planned out, but don't forget about grab-and-go snacks like bars and fruit too. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, REI's Miranda in the Wild made this great video sharing how to prep three simple meals, which should give you a good place to start.

Hopefully this helps!

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

@REI-CarterCwow sooooo helpful! I don’t have a stove and will be driving to campsite (brining the paddle boards too woo!) I’ll check out that video and agree, want to keep it simple!

The outdoor chef in you is waiting to emerge.

But start with easy stuff. Opening a can of chili tastes very good after a day outside. Figure out the easy stuff you cook at home already and just try that on the road.

Two of us who are more gourmand at wilderness food invited another friend to join us at Point Reyes for a couple days of easy backpacking. Distances and elevations are not hard, and there is water and picnic tables at all the campsites. We call it "backpacking light", but it usually means backpacking heavy, as you can bring the chair, the sandals, and all the heavy food you might have dreams about.

The companion we brought along is notorious for being a poor backcountry cooker. In fact much of the time she won't even cook breakfast or dinner. She knew the stakes were up though, and she brought a frozen Sara Lee Strawberry Cheesecake with her for the first night's dinner. I had brought mixed salad. It was all fresh food for our first night's meal - til desert.

Food doesn't have to be complicated when you are outside, although sometimes it's very fun to make complicated things outside.

@SolaceEasy Thank you so much!! Can’t wait for that great outdoor chef in me to come out! Really appreciate you sharing this experience! Canned chili sounds soooo good!

Another quick, good meal is macaroni and cheese, fixed per the instructions on the box, and then garnished with beef or turkey jerky, washed down with an appropriate beverage....

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Most pasta does not cook correctly at elevations above 7 - 8,000 ft. There are many mountaineering stories of the time we had to bury the pasta.

Miranda really sat there and ate that whole oatmeal bowl on tape so she could make noodles, hahaha. I love it. I'm going to definitely do the oatmeal and coffee idea. Erica, I'm also hoping to start doing solo camping here, soon, so I'll be rooting for you. Make sure to come back with lessons learned!! Haha.