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You have certainly found yourself in a great spot to ask all of your questions about backpacking and car camping. Community members here have a vast amount of knowledge in those areas and are great (and fun!) resources to learn from.
We suggest taking a look around the different activity boards, see what conversations are already happening, and start a new one with any questions you have! The DC Area board is also popular with people sharing good locations to hike, camp, and backpack, as well as meetup with other folks looking to go out on the same sort of ventures.
Thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself. We're happy to have you here!
At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.