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Jun 29, 2019, 01:58 PM
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Discussion

Tent camping at the Soaring NATS


I'd like to get a discussion going here about tent camping, or "primitive camping", during the 2019 Soaring NATS. I've never done this before so hopefully I'll hear from people who have and we can all share thoughts and ideas.

Here are some links and images:I was told that there are showers at Site #3 and at the back of the museum. Here's a Google Maps aerial view of the layout as I understand it. Please let me know if it's wrong:



If an access code is required for the showers, what time do you have to arrive to get the code? If the office is closed, can someone else get you in?

What's a good time to arrive so that you'll have plenty of time to set up and relax?

Also, I'd appreciate any advice on what to bring, what to do about meals, etc.

Thanks!
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Jun 29, 2019, 06:22 PM
JimN8UAY
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Hey Mike, pretty easy set up. You will probably drive between showers, campsite and flight line. Showers are open most of the week behind the AMA museum (this used to be a great little secret years ago when the powers to be wanted everyone using the showers by the RV campsite. Long story...) which are pretty much open throughout the event. There isn't a passcode needed unless that is new this year. The Bathhouse at the RV park may be a different story since I haven't used that site in many years, so maybe they keep it locked. They are usually always open. Yes, your layout looks right, pretty straight forward. The showers (there are only 2 stalls at the AMA museum, A/C, sink and toilet) can get backed up with pilots early in the day and after flying, so sometimes it's a crap shoot how long you might need to wait to get in.

I encourage you to get to Muncie before 5 pm whichever day you arrive so you can go into the AMA offices to register your vehicle ( register at the Museum on the weekends). If you do come in late, it's not that big a deal since the site isn't locked, register the next day Just use some common sense and try not to disturb sleeping campers.

There are 2 firepits, usually, that are shared by all, so you can set up a tent along the trees, wherever you prefer. You can pull your vehicle up near your tent or on the other side of the trees if you wish. If, by chance you are using a generator, PLEASE set up at one end of the site or the other and try not to run it after 10 pm. It's supposed to be primitive camping, but there are some who pull in a small popup and run generators...(not a fan of that, if you can gather. That's what the RV area is for!) I digress...

There are a bunch of guys who camp there on a regular basis...Doug S from Canada, Jason Cole, to name a few. It's a nice little community during the week and evenings around the firepits is always fun. (Bring an adult beverage to share!)

There is a blue porta pot on the site. Water across the street, but not sure I would drink it. I highly recommend hitting the local grocery and buying food you might want to prepare. There are a couple of charcoal grills along with, usually, a few picnic tables. Definitely bring your own chairs, table, and stove if you're going to be more self-sufficient. Many of the campers eat out for the week, for most meals, since there is really not a reliable food service on site. We used to have a regular hot dog guy come around during the day/lunch hour, but I'm not sure what arrangements are made this year. I always plan on a breakfast run into town and a stop at the grocery for food and supplies for the day. AMA had ice available you can buy, but I usually get it off-site.

LSF is doing a couple of dinners at the site, look at the registration for more info.

Have you done any rustic/primitive camping before? Do you have a tent? I highly recommend a good mattress/sleeping bag, plenty of spare flashlights and a good supply of bug spray. I'm not sure what the area is like this year, but with all of the moisture, I wonder how bad the bugs will be. No guess if the AMA sprays the facility for mosquitos, but there have been years when they have been ferocious, and this year has been wet. Extra flashlights, batteries...typical camping stuff for sure. One reason why I like to get set up early ...maybe before 5 or so, to see how bad the critters will be and to get everything secure to enjoy a campfire before the next day of flying. I hate to dodge bugs while setting up a campsite!

All that said, I will probably be bunking up in a buddy's RV by the south end flying field, where F3K, I believe is being flown. I will have my camping gear along though, just in case.

Hope this helps!

Jim
Jun 29, 2019, 06:36 PM
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Great info! Thanks, and please post if you think of anything else.
Jun 29, 2019, 08:00 PM
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I responded on the NATS thread also. There is one thing that was a big nuisance and the one time I was unlucky and camped down wind of the fire pit. And why we had a fire at 75 degs I don't know. But the smoke was bad all night and on occasion I think someone was burning plastic.
Jun 29, 2019, 08:25 PM
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I'm working on a checklist and it's constantly growing. I hope I can fit it all in my truck!

I wonder how many tent campers will be there.
Jun 30, 2019, 08:50 AM
JimN8UAY
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I've seen as few as 2 tents and up to 13-15 at times. Just depends on weather and event. I think the average would be about 7-8 campers. Brady made a good observation...sometimes you don't want to be too close to the fire pits, especially with any type of breeze or downwind. And who burns plastic? Not a great idea to burn trash...If the air is reasonable (not too hot or stormy) I just may have to do a bit of camping this year! Always been a fun time, even the time I stood for hours holding up the tent from the inside so the storms wouldn't carry it away!

Jim
Jun 30, 2019, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimn8uay
Have you done any rustic/primitive camping before? Do you have a tent? I highly recommend a good mattress/sleeping bag, plenty of spare flashlights and a good supply of bug spray...
No, I haven't done much camping at all. I bought gear with the intention of camping at Triple Tree during the 2019 MidSouth, but then I chickened out and stayed at a motel instead. I realized that I had probably missed out on a lot of fun, so this time I decided to do it since I already have the gear and the cost savings should be even greater this time.

I want to do everything I can think of to keep things from going wrong, but even if they do it'll add a bit of adventure to my boring life.
Jun 30, 2019, 06:20 PM
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Tent camping can be challenging. The girls on the you tube video can put up a tent in 10 minutes. Normal people it's not so easy so suggest you at least practice once using the destructions. I like a cot verses an air mattress get a good one without the bar in the middle if you decide too. Also get some land scape timber nails or spikes form Lowes to hold the tent in place think they are 8 or 10 inches long and bring a claw hammer. When I did Tent camping and my camper is only slightly better, it was nice to have a fan. I ran mine off a winch battery at night. I used a power inverter, its just what I had. But you can get a 12v fan with a light at most camping supply. You will be surprised at how much more comfortable it will be in the tint with a little air moving. One last thing you will be sweating all day and maybe all night there are miles of walking to cover and it's easy to get the Glider camp rash. Prevention is key.
Jun 30, 2019, 06:56 PM
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Great advice! I actually have a lot of that covered already but by all means please keep the ideas coming.
Jul 02, 2019, 07:48 PM
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For Miami Mike; Agreed on the cot vs. air mattress. I have some good, read that expensive, backpacking air mattresses but if I'm car camping it's always a cot. Much easier for my middle aged bones to get out of a cot rather than off the ground in the morning too.

Couple questions.

No chance for late week arrivals getting there and having no site available?
No electricity or potable water on site correct?
Jim mentioned only 2 stalls at the museum bath house. What about those site #3 showers, are there multiple showers/stalls available to accommodate a bigger crowd?

Anyone know the cost per night. I know it's pretty cheap, seems I saw $5 per night somewhere.

edit to add: @ Mike, no chicken out at MidSouth. It was blistering hot. I came prepared to camp but I only live an hour away and with it 90 at 7PM Friday, I drove home!
Last edited by Crashbound; Jul 02, 2019 at 07:56 PM.
Jul 02, 2019, 08:01 PM
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One other (curious) question, what are the roads like around the whole AMA complex? Is it somewhat rural or crowded 4 lane boulevard type area? The reason I ask, I ride a road bike which would be handy to have to pedal between campsite-bath house. But also love to explore new areas via bike though I doubt they'd be much time to do so. And I have no real interest riding in high traffic, high congestion areas.
Jul 02, 2019, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crashbound
For Miami Mike; Agreed on the cot vs. air mattress. I have some good, read that expensive, backpacking air mattresses but if I'm car camping it's always a cot. Much easier for my middle aged bones to get out of a cot rather than off the ground in the morning too.
I have an air mattress (plus a spare) but I like having a headboard to keep my pillow from sliding off the head end of the bed, and I like a nightstand next to my bed with a lamp and a place to put my phone while it's running an app called "Night Clock" and recharging, so I designed and built something out of plywood. If everything goes well I'll show it to everyone.
Quote:
No chance for late week arrivals getting there and having no site available?
Here's Google's aerial view of the Primitive Camping Area:



The area to the north and east is a huge, empty field, so my impression is that it might be possible to not get a space under a tree, but aside from that there should be virtually unlimited room.

But of course I've never been there. I was at the AMA HQ in 2012 for the World Soaring Masters but that time I stayed in a hotel.

Quote:
No electricity or potable water on site correct?
Brady mentioned that he's bringing a generator. Jim says in post #2, "Water across the street, but not sure I would drink it."

Quote:
Jim mentioned only 2 stalls at the museum bath house. What about those site #3 showers, are there multiple showers/stalls available to accommodate a bigger crowd?
I'd like to know about that too.

Quote:
Anyone know the cost per night. I know it's pretty cheap, seems I saw $5 per night somewhere.
Here's the page on the AMA site about camping. It says $5 per night for primitive camping.

Quote:
edit to add: @ Mike, no chicken out at MidSouth. It was blistering hot. I came prepared to camp but I only live an hour away and with it 90 at 7PM Friday, I drove home!
I thought the nights had turned out to be fairly comfortable. Jody Miller, Mike Gardner, and Steve Blake (fellow Floridians) camped there and they didn't say anything about that. I stayed in the Rodeway Inn in Laurens and didn't need to run the AC. But I'll take your word for it.
Jul 02, 2019, 11:27 PM
JimN8UAY
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MidSouth camping was a hoot! (and hot!) but cooled down nicely at night. I wouldn't hesitate to camp there again next time!

I believe there are 3 showers at the bathhouse, but mucho more campers with RVs so pretty busy there, too. Although a few of the RVers have their own showers.

Mike, there should be plenty of space for campers. If you don't get a space on one side of the trees, you can move to the other! Only time I've seen a glut of campers was during Free Flight many years ago. Soaring week should be fine!

Crash, a bicycle (or scooter) would be great to get around. My ex-girlfriend came along a few years back and loved the camping and the fact she could ride around the whole complex with very little traffic (2 lane road) and actually get to the local bike/multi-purpose trails reasonably quick.

If anyone needs help setting up when you get there, just ask around, most will be willing to help. I was solo at MidSouth but had plenty of help to get set up. You might want to bring some extra clothes line/rope to string up between a couple trees to dry clothes/towels if needed.

Going to be a fun week! I hope ppl don't' get bummed out about the FAA/AMA thing and not attend. Looking forward to the first campfire! Bring wood! (I think you are permitted to bring wood, unless it's illegal due to critters and such?)

Jim
Jul 03, 2019, 08:52 AM
Registered User
Thanks for the info, re. bikes. Looking at the aerial view a bike could be handy to have.
Mike if you're like most middle aged men, you may want to put a disposable bottle of some sort in your tent. Be kind of a hike to the bathroom @ 4AM!

Also looks like plenty of space for tent sites. Shaded sites may be a bit in demand. I suspect they'll be a dense conglomeration of tents arranged in an "L" shape!


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