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Thread: Tent camping in Alaska

  1. #1
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    Default Tent camping in Alaska

    Has anyone done any tent camping in Alaska?
    Is it feasible? Are there places to rent tent camping eqipment? Any other info and/or advice would be welcome. This will be our first trip to Alaska.

  2. #2
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Uh, yes. I've never done any camping that didn't involve a tent. What other way to camp is there? (Surely you don't consider RVers to be "camping" ).

    Never heard of tent rentals for general recreational camping. Though the guide outfitters certainly do "rent" tents for hunting parties in the Fall. I suppose you could hook up with one of those guys during their off season and probably find one who will rent out a tent during the summer.

    Are you looking at going remote, scratch out your own camping spot in the forest, or camping at established camp grounds? A number of campgrounds have spots that are restricted to tent only, while other spots are good for either tents or RVs.

    Alaska is big. What area(s) are you going to? That will get you some better answers.
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    Default Tent Camping

    Since you're making your first trip to Alaska, you may want to stay in a designated camping area. Alaska is beautiful, wild, and full of adventure, but she is unforgiving of mistakes. If you're not ready to deal with being part of the food chain, you may want to stay closer to "civilization" where there's "safety in numbers", so to speak. Bears DO still come into the campgrounds, but with more eyes to help alert everyone ( herd survival ) it's not as likely to end your vacation in tragedy.
    As far as obtaining the gear your looking for, you'll probably have to purchase it. I don't know of any rental companies that rent out camping gear. As for what you'll need to stay comfortable ( and alive ), you'll have to prepare for WET, COLD weather. Even in the summer, Alaska can surprise you with a temperature drop and it will usually be accompanied by rain. Plan for the worst, and you'll be able to enjoy it.
    And most of all, have fun when you get here!

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    You can rent camping gear (tents, sleeping bags, etc) from REI in Anchorage. I tent camp all the time and bear encounters are rare particularly in established campgrounds but of course it is good to always prepare for the possibility.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Consider flying to Alaska and getting a rental SUV. Go to Walmart and get tent, sleeping bags, cheap stove, and a cooler. This will set you back $120-150. Donate or trash it when you leave to go back home. So many places to camp. You need to get a firm idea on where you want to go. As for bears, my experience may be unusual, but I got my tent opened up by a bear in a campground. I have done remote float trips in NW and SW Alaska. Camping, canoeing, 60 miles of river. Seen 40-50 bears and never had one cause trouble. First time I stayed in a campground (this past Sept) I had a problem. We were camping along the Upper Kenai near Cooper Landing. Be "bear aware" anywhere you go. There is no safety in being at an established campground in my opinion.
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    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    It's important to remember that Dan slept with a slab of bacon in his pocket. The camping trip in question was prior to his switch to being Vegan.

    Connections??

    hmmm

    Inquiring minds want to know...
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    I tend to sleep better on remote camping trips as opposed to in well used campgrounds. Seems most bears in the sticks associate people with trouble, whereas the bears in the campgrounds are habituated to people=easy pickings.....
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phish Finder View Post
    It's important to remember that Dan slept with a slab of bacon in his pocket. The camping trip in question was prior to his switch to being Vegan.

    Connections??

    hmmm

    Inquiring minds want to know...



    I knew that was coming



    Smart azz




    No bacon here...


    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaHippie View Post
    I tend to sleep better on remote camping trips as opposed to in well used campgrounds. Seems most bears in the sticks associate people with trouble, whereas the bears in the campgrounds are habituated to people=easy pickings.....

    That has sure as hell been my experience. Had bears in camp twice on float trips. They hauled but pretty quick. Seen some brown Volkswagon Beetle sized bears on gravel bars. They run off at the first sign of folks. What is it about the campground bears? What Hippie says, they have no reason to fear folks. Well, someone blasted Fat Basterd, the bear that was in our tent. But that is a rare case from what I gather. A little roadside hunting
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Default Tent Camping

    It is true bears around campgrounds become habituated to the "easy pickin's". However, if you're not someone accustomed to keeping an eye out ( i.e. first time in AK ), it's a bit easier to enjoy the scenery knowing you have more eyes looking for the danger and more help close by if one does come knocking.
    Those of us who are more attuned to Alaska's wilds ( Hunters, Fisherman, assorted Outdoorsmen, etc. ) shouldn't expect that someone who has never been here and experienced Alaska in all her glory, would be able to deal with her awesome power without help from other, nearby campers.
    My advice to jessekaye is simply don't get in over your head. Bears are NOT predictable, you can NEVER "know" what a bear is thinking or what it is going to do. A healthy fear of them keeps you safeER. NOTHING keeps you SAFE.
    But don't let all this talk about bears scare you off of coming to Alaska. Encounters are the rare exception, not the rule. Just prepare yourself and enjoy!

  11. #11
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Agreed. The bears add to the beauty of a trip to Alaska, they don't detract from it. Just takes some common sense. Something that is admittingly in short supply these days.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Default I have to admit

    I have to admit, that it aint camping if you not in a tent. Well it aint, but what I really have to admit is that I've had more problems with bears when I use to stay in established campgrounds in Alaska than the bush. Like you have been told, buy some cheap bags, tent and a cooler, rent a SUV or car and see Alaska. 90&#37; of my traveling in Alaska is done in my 2 door focus or my citabria, niether has alot of room. If your military the bases rents gear pretty cheap. If your really worried about bears, rent an electric fence, but most of the time, just use common sense. If common sense if common, why does it seem so rare.

    Terry

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    "Tent camping"? Department of Redundancy Department... I'll never forget my first "tent camping" experience in the Denali backcountry. It used to be my habit when I was way younger to raid my parents' garages for gear that I was lacking, as they usually had stuff overflowing everywhere. I grabbed a tent off the shelf at my mom's without closer inspection, and headed for the park. Turned out to be one of her Girl Scout models, all of 5'x5' for me to fit my 6' frame into. Then it started raining. Ever see a July rainstorm around Wonder Lake? That's three days I never want to relive
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    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    "Tent camping"? Department of Redundancy Department... I'll never forget my first "tent camping" experience in the Denali backcountry. It used to be my habit when I was way younger to raid my parents' garages for gear that I was lacking, as they usually had stuff overflowing everywhere. I grabbed a tent off the shelf at my mom's without closer inspection, and headed for the park. Turned out to be one of her Girl Scout models, all of 5'x5' for me to fit my 6' frame into. Then it started raining. Ever see a July rainstorm around Wonder Lake? That's three days I never want to relive
    Hahaha I did something similiar. My first summer here (I got here during winter) I was a single mom and low on fundage but HAD to get out there and enjoy some of this greatness. I moved up here in my car so wasn't able to bring any camping gear at all. I bought a cheapy dome tent from wal mart. I think it was a kid's tent. I'm only 5'4" so thought even with a 5' tent I would just sleep diaganally. Well it did work but it wasn't very comfortable. And yea, it rained most of my 3 days there too.
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    As for renting equipment Alaskaboatandcanoe has very reasonable prices, just depends on where you're starting.

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    Over the last 7 years I have spent close to a month each year tent camping in Alaska. In that time I have had 2 bears in camp that just came though to check things out. I have had other bears in the camp ground but they were also just passing through. As long as you don't fill your pockets with bacon like Dan it is pretty safe. You do feel safer in #'s though. Over the last couple of years late in the year the camp ground I usually stay in has been very quiet and is a bit spooky when you are the only person in the whole camp ground.

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRIFTER_016 View Post
    Over the last 7 years I have spent close to a month each year tent camping in Alaska. In that time I have had 2 bears in camp that just came though to check things out. I have had other bears in the camp ground but they were also just passing through. As long as you don't fill your pockets with bacon like Dan it is pretty safe. You do feel safer in #'s though. Over the last couple of years late in the year the camp ground I usually stay in has been very quiet and is a bit spooky when you are the only person in the whole camp ground.

    You gotta love waking up and seeing bear snot on your tent
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Last year camped along the upper stretch of the Russian had one come into camp about 3:00 am. It was a quiet night and I could hear sniffing around the tent across from mine, then could hear him as he moved towards our tent and sniffed around our feet.

    I am usually pretty camera happy, but the thought of trying to stick my camera outside the tent for a pic never crossed my mind.

    I was pretty big eyed as I heard him move along and thought I would never be able to get back to sleep, but was wrong, back to sleep in minutes.

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskachuck View Post
    You gotta love waking up and seeing bear snot on your tent
    It's the snorting and sniffing 12" from your head that makes you feel pretty vulnerable.

    It felt better with your 44 Mag under the pillow though.

  20. #20
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRIFTER_016 View Post
    It's the snorting and sniffing 12" from your head that makes you feel pretty vulnerable.

    It felt better with your 44 Mag under the pillow though.

    Yea untill you hit the alarm on the truck and I sat straight up in my camper cracking my mellon on the rack above my head at o dark thirty in the morning.

    Such good memories

    This year you will be much more comfy with your new camper toy
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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