Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Acadia National Park - Day 1

Over the next few days I'll be posting about my camping trip in Acadia National Park in Maine.  I had never been camping before and this was a great introduction to something I want to do much more this summer.  I went with a large group of people and we were car camping, meaning that even though we slept in tents we had our cars about 50 feet away and each site had its own fire pit and picnic table.  I had a wonderful time and the pictures that I took do not do justice to how beautiful this place was. Acadia National Park is 4 hours into Maine, therefore we did the trip up in two stages.  After spending the night in Portsmouth, NH and making a stop at Shaw's we arrived at our camp around 4:00 and began setting up.

Our site
I knew it was going to be cool, but I didn't know it was going to be so damp.  All of my cotton hoodies, socks, sweatpants, and shirts as well as my pillowcase felt damp and cold all weekend, even if they weren't wet.  Luckily, I had brought some dry-wick shirts that I wear for running and ultimate and those served me well.  Next time I will definitely avoid the cotton.

After all three of our sites were covered with tarps, we grilled up some hamburgers and hot dogs and spent the night sitting around the fire and getting to know each other.  That night (and in the car ride home) I went over some things that I should have brought, could have brought, and definitely wanted to buy before our next trip.  Luckily, I was able to borrow most of these items from the other people who were there so I got by.

Should Have Brought: no explanation needed.
- North Face fleece - I needed one more layer and the fleece seemed to stay dry while my sweaters did not.
- Hand towel - there weren't showers at the site but it would have been nice to have a small towel for when I washed my hands and my face.  I ended up wiping my face and hands on my shirts and they didn't dry all weekend.  If I had known that we would be taking showers Sunday night I would have brought a full size towel too.
- Face wipes - much easier than washing your face with cold water.
- Sheet for my ground pad - the first night we pitched our tent on an incline (oops), so I was sliding around a lot on the ground pad.  It would have been nice to have a sheet to keep my sleeping bag from slipping all over the place.
- Sponge and dish soap - I didn't even think of washing dishes in the woods, but the national park had a small washroom where we could have washed our dishes.
- Charcoal - it makes cooking so much easier, especially when you're cold and tired and you don't want to wait for a fire to start the traditional way.  And along those lines, definitely should have brought some tinder.  Everything was so wet it was very difficult to get fires started.  Funny story: vaseline on cotton balls worked well...very interesting.

Could Have Brought: the things I have at home that I would have brought car camping, but certainly not if we were backpacking.
- Tupperware tubs - these were great for transporting small items back and forth as well as storing dry food.
- BBQ utensils
- cutting board and knife
- folding chairs and tables
- torch lighter - makes lighting fires much easier
- table cloth - creature comforts
- cooler

Shopping List: things that I would definitely like to buy before my next trip.
Covering our site with a tarp
- Tarp and bungees
- Head lamps - they have ones with red lights so you can still have your headlamp on but not blind people as you talk to them.
- Lantern
- Hatchet - for making woodchips.  Building fires is much more complicated than I thought (more on that later).
- Charcoal chimney - they're great for getting charcoals burning quickly and you only need to make a small fire to get it going.
- Pans
- CamelBack for hiking
- Rock climbing gear - we didn't need it for this trip but when I eventually go up to the Gunks I'd like to get some.
- Dust pan and broom - another creature comfort that really comes in handy.  Tents can get filthy after three days...
- Walkie talkies - especially in areas with bad service.

I wanted to post this list to offer advice to anyone who has never been camping before or maybe hasn't been in a while and wouldn't remember what to pack.  I have many more exciting posts planned about hiking so stay tuned :)


  1. We should plan a backpacking trip to Harriman State park this summer.

  2. If we do I'm definitely going to have to pack less.


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