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Old soul
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Picking up on the "not wanting to camp" idea that came out of the Voyaging on $500 per month thread, I'm curious what people actually mean when they say then want to avoid this dreaded state.

What are your key criteria for a pleasurable life afloat? I'm curious what people think, b/c personally I love camping. I also know that life on our boat is nothing like camping. Living on a boat that doesn't leak (much), with a galley, comfortable berths, tons of storage, lights, an indoor head, plumbing, etc. ... all of this is nothing like camping.

So, is it basic physical comfort? Is it being able to play ashore; purchasing entertainment, eating at restaurants, buy stuff beyond basic needs? Is it expensive food (you often hear people talk about not wanting to live on beans and rice)? Or is it more basic like being able to pay all the entrance fees that (apparently) are on the rise everywhere. Perhaps it is having lots of leisure time? Or maybe it is ease of tasks/jobs...
 

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Senior Member
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If I don't have to 'make up the bed' or 'put up the tent' at the end of the day, and can cook a meal without 'setting up the stove' then I don't think it's camping...

We started 'cruiser camping' - 24 footer, no real galley, etc 30 some years ago. I must confess that now that we're into standing headroom, propane, cabin heat, and REFRIGERATION I'm not too interested in going back ;)
 

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To me it means tourism.

There are many people cruising that dont have the money to visit the Pyramids when in Egypt, or the Colosseum when sailing Italy.

Many of my Australian friends when they came to New York could not afford the $30 mooring fee for a few days seeing Manhattan.

As a camping cruiser one can go anywhere but see nothing.

A WOFTAM for sure.


Mark
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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I as planning on being a "camping cruiser" this winter in florida.. sadly though, my boat was not done the refit.. so next year.

It is not done to be frugal, but only because I own a 23 foot boat
 

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Answers are sure to be all across the board. What some would consider sparse conditions others would consider luxury. The Kate and Jess blog comes to mind. They are traveling the great loop, have been to Bahamas and back and are now in flordia. No fridge, no air condition, no tv yet they do have a working pooper and a stove. They are those out there who would say no way in hell to those conditions others might say that's good enough. Gotta say I love camping as well, I better, I have a cat 22 but I sure plan on enjoying it this year .
 

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I have a 4.5 K diesel generator on my boat and air conditioning. I rarely run them when cruising, but I admit it's nice every once in a while to be able to do that. I also admit I like pulling into a nice marina, every once in a while, getting a nice meal, and having a real bathroom.

But, most of the time, I'd rather just let the night breeze blow through the boat at anchor. and cook something on the grill hanging off the back :D
 
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Great topic, there are some that think staying in a 50' Winnebago is camping while others think hiking the 2700 mile Pacific crest trail is camping. One thing to keep in mind is that just because somebody is frugal or runs a simple ship does not mean that they are lacking anything in their lives. We all have difference needs and wants. A few years ago I stayed aboard a friends new Catalina 36 for two weeks while I was waiting to close on my new boat. It had every option known to man and let me tell you I could get off that boat fast enough. The night I moved aboard my simple 22' er I felt at home. BTW they both cost the same amount new :)
 

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Interesting; "Perhaps it is having lots of leisure time? Or maybe it is ease of tasks/jobs... "
This bit really caught my attention. I hope that you don't consider this a hijacking of your thread, Mike.
This statement made me consider that many of you who have not yet made the break with reality, sorry, civilization, have little idea of how those of us cruising, spend our time.
I wish I had lots more "leisure time". But if I want "leisure time", I pretty much have to take it. There's always SOMETHING that should be attended to. Not necessarily something critical or even urgent, but there's way more work than hours available, for most of us. And "ease of tasks? Chasing down a fresh water leak that is so small, the pump only runs an extra 2 minutes a day (24 hours on a boat). Or a pinhole leak in the heat exchanger, which must be removed and repaired, on the side of the generator that it isn't easy to reach (actually working with your head down and your body above). Or taking apart the cooling system on the main engine 4 times, only to realize that that annoying bit of bronze that you have been knocking your head against the whole time is a malfunctioning siphon break!
Since we don't wash down our s/s after every sail, well never, but anyway, it must be polished a couple of times a month. The hull and house require polishing every few months, and a seam let go on the dodger which we just sewed today. Yesterday it was a leaking portlight. Tomorrow it may be a diesel leak on the gene that only fills a beer bottle cap every 6 days.
A life of leisure this is not, and I won't allow Nikki to even discuss the varnish, at this point.
On the other hand, we are our own boss, we have no time table, and this life is a choice we have made, so I won't complain. Who'd listen anyway?
 

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When I started camping it meant in a tent in the bush cooking over a fire, no means of keeping things cold and a handy fallen tree is a toilet. The criteria for me then was to be warm, dry and well fed. I now have a fifth wheel with a propane stove and oven, heating and air conditioning, satellite TV, Internet, cellular phones, hot and cold running water, shower and flush toilet but we still call it camping.

I never spent anymore than a couple of weeks tent camping but spend my summers now "glamping" of course I was a lot younger when I tented.

I now cruise in the winter and while we don't have all the amenities of the fifth wheel we have some which without I would consider it too much like tent camping. The main one is refrigeration, both a refrigerator and a 45 quart freezer. Refrigeration is by far the largest amp hour draw and that requires some means of generating at power - solar, wind and/or mechanical. We have Internet and cell phones which we consider a necessity wherever we are.
 

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Bad camping in my book:
bad food, bad water, uncomfortable sleep, uncomfortable pooping, not easy to keep clean, too hot or too cold, too wet, lacking right clothes for conditions, lacking bug spray, bad company - and thus not able to enjoy the place where you are camped.
Most of the time I have a great time camping on my 20 foot Mirage. But I do it for 2 weeks at most.
I figure that I could be comfortable camping indefinitely on a 26 footer - with proper preparation, of course.
 

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The biggest boat I have been on is a Catalina 30, I wouldn't consider living on that for a second. A weekend getaway, perfect, a week of cruising no problem. Full-time live aboard, not in your wildest dreams for me...
 

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If whatever I'm in makes hot water and ice it's also got the other stuff I think required to exceed camping. We stay at the boat as much as the house, but I still need a house to store all the tools and spare parts for the boat.
 

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That Drunk Guy
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. I now have a fifth wheel with a propane stove and oven, heating and air conditioning, satellite TV, Internet, cellular phones, hot and cold running water, shower and flush toilet but we still call it camping.
I've been "camping" on my 27 ft. boat for almost three years now, and love it. I don't begrudge anyone for their comfortable lifestyle, but I would guess that about 80% of the people on this planet "camp" full time. And with no where near the luxury listed above. In my experience its not the expensive comforts that bring happiness. But, maybe that's just me.
 

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That Drunk Guy
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...as an addendum to my post above....I used to liveaboard back in the early 90's. before internet, and before cell-phones, and it got very lonely. I think the connection to the outside world makes a huge difference.
 

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We call cruising on our Hunter 23.5 'pampered' camping. The longest trip so far has been 13 days. We were as ready to go on day 13 as day 1. I spent a coupla decades making several trips a year living out of a kayak for up to a week at a time. Our dear Willadine is luxurious to me.

That said, for the eventual live-aboard, we will need more room for stuff and the occasional kid or two aboard.
 

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Comparing cruising frugally and camping is comparing apples to oranges. They are two totally different things.

Maybe you can compare camping with living-aboard. Cruising, on the other hand, is moving from place to place, not 'camping'.
 

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Old soul
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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Thanks for all the great posts folks. Quite the diversity (as expected), although there are some themes emerging. Seems that many of us want a nice pot to piss in, and a few of you have mentioned the need for refrigeration, A/C, and hot water. Others are saying size matters ;) You need standing head room, and enough space to have dedicated berths, galley, etc. So far, only Mark (MarkofSeaLife) has mentioned the need for enough funds to pay for land-based entertainment/tourism.

Capta, you pointed out the reality for most of us: that living on a sailboat is not an escape from work. Just the opposite -- I agree. I've been in your inverted position all too often, trying to get at our stuffing box, change some hose, or wire our latest electrical doo-dad. But for those with enough money, it is possible to pay someone else to be the bilge rat. I wonder ... is that the demarcation for "camping"?

The reason I posed the question is b/c of the number of times I see people on SN dismiss frugal or simple cruising with, "that's just camping." So, I want to try and tease this apart. Keep it coming!
 

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islander bahama 24
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Comparing cruising frugally and camping is comparing apples to oranges. They are two totally different things.

Maybe you can compare camping with living-aboard. Cruising, on the other hand, is moving from place to place, not 'camping'.
To me crushing is camping in its own way like hiking the pacific crest trail from Canada to mexico you are cruising you have a starting point resupply points and a final destination. Just as in cruising like suppose you leave Seattle to go to Fiji you would make your way down the coast of the us stopping as needed for food and fuel all the way to Avalon panama there you would wait for a good weather window for the run to the marquesas. It all depends on how much ''comfort'' you want or feel you need. Its all a personal choice. Me I can do without the cell phone and internet just when free WiFi is available I will use it with my cheap 80 dollar tablet
 
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