Camping 101

No One to Camp With? No Problem.

There’s nothing wrong with solo camping, where no one can laugh when you mistake a tree stump for a bear or drop a sticky marshmallow in your lap. But even if you don’t already have outdoorsy friends, you needn’t camp alone.

By Allison Williams April 27, 2016 Published in the May 2016 issue of Seattle Met

Teamwork on a washington trails association work party at franklin falls. photo by erik haugen goodman lq2dzd

Trail repair with WTA.

Philanthropic Friends

Seattle-based Washington Trails Association organizes day, weekend, and weeklong volunteer outings. Do trail repair during the day, then sleep in bunkhouses or backcountry camps, earning free wilderness passes or a personalized WTA hard hat. Single-day stints are free. 

Studious Friends

Formed 110 years ago, the Mountaineers are the local heavy for climbing, scrambling, and backpacking classes, and teach everything from how to pack your lunch to how to splint a broken leg with twigs and duct tape. Their searchable activities database lists trips that any dues-paying member can join, plus advanced outings that require experience. 

LGBT Friends

Member-run OutVentures is a casual collection of dues-paying outdoor enthusiasts, a crew that’s happy to organize potlucks and car camping along with strenuous hikes and backpacking treks. Activities depend on the interest of members and can include bikes, sails, and photo-specific hikes. 

Vanagon Friends

Driving a VW van isn’t a transportation choice; it’s a lifestyle. The WetWesties listserv is ironically named, since these van campers stay dry inside tricked-out campers when it pours. The mailing list isn’t exactly modern, but there are no fees to join a group camp. 

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