It’s been a little over 4 years since I last camped out in the woods, but that was part of being in the U.S. Army and I didn’t control too much of what I was allowed to bring or do. We weren’t even allowed to follow regulations set forth by the Military, but had to listen to First Sergeant and his rules. Normally you would be allowed to cover yourself with a waterproof camouflaged tarp as long as you maintained a 3-foot defilade. This meant that you could not be visible over 3-feet of course, but First Sergeant didn’t care for that and we slept in our sleeping bags in the rain quite often. I would get away sometimes with being a Medic and sleep in the FLA (Field Litter Ambulance), but it wasn’t often enough.
Unlike my time in the Military I was able to pack and bring whatever I felt necessary. This helped out a lot actually. I had a collection of 3 bags total. One would hold all of my bedding and general camp gear. I use an old school Vietnam era ruck sack frame and bag to hold this gear. The second bag was given to me by Jason Turner. It is a small tactical style bag that I like to call my survival day bag. The bag holds all I need to survive in the wild even without bedding. I would simply be able to craft my own shelter and bedding using the tools in my survival day bag. The final bag was an old school Army CLS (Combat Life Saver) bag that held anything medical I still had available. At the end of this blog I will include a complete list of my bag contents for you to review and make suggestions on.
Some of you may know already, but unfortunately I had left my car door unlocked one evening and some kid (I assume it was a kid) opened my door and stole things from my car. Among the items stolen were my old medic bag that was full of random medical supplies, a remote control car we bought for the All American Tattoo Convention (we used it for fun filming), and a few other things I am sure I never noticed. Inside my old medic bag I also had quite a few survival tools like emergency blankets, a paper pot, food, and various other survival type things. This past Christmas Britt’s grandmother on her father’s side and now my only living grandparent (even as an in-law) gave me a gift card to Cabella’s, which helped me get prepared for this recent trip.
Together Jason and I went out to Waccamaw State Park. The park only has about 5-6 camping spots available. Two of those I believe have prebuilt tents or yurts on them, but the others simply had a few amenities and were mostly referred to as “primitive camp spots”. For a primitive camp spot they sure had a good number of amenities that made life easier. Among the items provided were a trash can, kitchen counter with two open storage holes underneath, a metal lantern pole, a standing grill, a fire pit grill, a bonfire pit, and several picnic tables. We used just about everything so I do appreciate it all being there. In the future we may not be so lucky. Nearby was also an outhouse they referred to as a “Toilet Pit”. If we walked a bit further back toward the parking lot we could use what I believe were more modern toilets as well. This was about half a miles walk and as men we could generally relieve ourselves in the woods. Thankfully there were no latrine emergencies.
The park itself is located around Waccamaw Lake. There is access to the lake and two of the spots containing prebuilt tent solutions were located right near the waterfront. We didn’t get to see them this trip and we did not bring the Kayaks so we stuck to the land. There are plenty of trails around the campsite that I am sure go on for quite a ways. We noticed a few people biking by that did not seem to have come in through the state park entrances. I want to travel a bit more of the trails next time, but we got a decent look around. There’s even a trail that leads to a deck that goes out over the water which was really cool to see and walk on.
Jason and I both setup hammocks. He was a bit more prepared than I was with his tarp covering his entire hammock. I used a basic tarp and a temporary tarp to cover the majority of my hammock. This worked for the most part for both of us until about 3am when my main tarp came loose from the stake I fashioned from a random stick. After securing it back to the ground and preparing to go back to sleep the same stake let loose and the tarp went flapping loose again. This happened once more before I broke out some metal stakes from my tent bag and dropped a rather large stone on top of the stake to ensure everything would stay in place. Finally I could get back to sleep and just in time as around 4am the rain really started to pour. Other than that incident and Jason complaining of being a bit cold everything went great for us this first camping trip!
Both of us have a few more items to add to our setup before the next trip out. We will continue to improve our experience and our setup with each outing and plan to continue this at least once per month. February looks as if we will be going to Stone Mountain, Georgia. This may depend on if we get enough of our additional cold weather gear together, but it would be pretty cool to keep things rolling along. Below the list of items we currently have I will add another list of the items at least I myself plan to add to my setup. If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments about the trip, my gear, the location, or anything else feel free to comment below!