Hi and some questions about Yellowstone

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Hi and some questions about Yellowstone

Post by Qushi »

Found this site doing some homework on tents and camping. Planning on a camping trip to yellowstone this month with my girlfriend and her 3 kids. I have camped before but the last time was probably 8 years ago and they have never camped before, so this might be interesting! We are from WI and will be driving out there in our chevy malibu, smaller trunk. I read the first page of posts here and will continue to search but have a few specific questions.

We don't have many things that we need and will be purchasing them in the next couple weeks. I have been reading all I can for the last couple days trying to find what to get.

As for a tent we will be buying a decent sized one, haven't decided on one but will be going to gander mountain and dicks to compare and pick one out. I will be getting extra stakes right away. Also read about putting a tarp under the tent, is this a good idea to protect the bottom from rips? Also read about sealing the seams, should I set the tent up at home and seal all the seams right away? Anything else with new tents, I have had one before but was younger and wasn't really concerned with things lasting back then, just wanted to set it up and start the drinking! Little more grown up now and want to do things right.

Will be buying a propane stove/grill, trying to find one used since we don't camp a lot. Will see how this goes, if we don't find one used we will have to buy one new. Also planning on getting a tripod to cook over the fire. And going to bring some pots and pans and of coarse a pudgie pie maker!

I have some questions about camping at yellowstone since I"ve never been there before. Can anyone tell me if the campsites have a fire pit and about getting firewood there? Can I buy it or find fallen trees in the woods?

Also need some info on "bear proofing" our campsite. I have never camped where I needed to bear proof before. We will have a cooler for our perishables. And planning on a rubbermaid bin for bread and other non perishable food. I assume I just put these in the car when not in use? Is food alright in the car or will that still attract bears? What about garbage at yellowstone, I assume they have bins that I should throw away all garbage after every meal?

And one last question that I can think of right now, what about water? Was thinking about bringing either a blue water container or gallon jugs. Does anyone know if I they have spots to refill jugs with drinking water?

And anything else you might be able to share about camping at yellowstone for someone that's never been there. Trying to be as prepared as possible, if it was just me I would be fine if I forgot someething but with 4 girls I better make sure everything is there or it will be a long vacation for me!

Thanks everyone

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when you check into your campsite Re: Hi and some questions about Yellowstone

Post by obradallen »

Camping, first thing make reservations NOW..

Yellowstone Park website and follow the links for camping. I suggest Canyon, Madison, mammoth.

Tents, yes purchase a tarp for the bottom, seal the seams and purchase a tarp for the top (I’m not kidding) it rains a lot. You will need it. Purchase an inflatable mattress. If you have that many youngsters it will make them considerably happier to get them off of the hard ground.

Food, there are bear proof lockers around the campgrounds, use them. Don’t store food in your car if you can help it. There are dish washing facilities at the restroom sites. You can also fill your water containers there. You will need to always keep your campsite free of food at all times except during meal times. There are plenty of garbage containers on each camping loop. You can purchase firewood at the reservation desk when you check into your campsite.

If you are driving consider purchasing bear spray before coming to the park, it will be less expensive. You will need it when you get here. I’m sure I have forgot a lot of stuff but have fun and create great memories.

First thing make reservations NOW!

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Re: Hi and some questions about Yellowstone

Post by Mike »

Hello Qushi and welcome to the forums and to Yellowstone.

I myself have been camping for over 50 years so I'll try to give you my best advice on each item.The better it goes the more enjoyment you will have on your trip and will leave you want to go more and more.

Tents:This is going to be your biggest purchase so it is best done right and that tent should give many years of use.I think it's best to always buy a tent larger than what you think you need,kids grow and take up more room and it's always nice to have a little room for your clothing,shoes and personal items(tooth brush,towel,ect.)this also frees up room in the car so your not crowded and do not have to dig through the car when you need a change of socks.
Be aware that the larger the tent the harder it may be to find a clear and level area to pitch,free of rocks or protruding tree roots,make sure that there are no signs of water previously draining or running where you are going to pitch.Mammoth Campground has some tent platforms that are elevated atop peeler logs and filled with dirt/gravel mix,these are about 12' x 12' in size.Most tents have a thicker,more water proof floor and footprints are not needed,some are already waterproofed at the seams,this only needs to be re-done when needed.Make sure that the tent can ventilate well,in colder weather condensation from breath can build up on the inside.Tent stakes,don't bother with cheap brittle plastic stakes or thin bendable metal ones,I go to the hardware store and buy "gutter spikes" these are what looks like a 8" giant nail and are made to hold roof gutters to fascia boards on homes,these will never bend nor break(I have seen these for sale also at Walmart as tent spikes)

Stoves:BTU's are how you should pick out a stove,remember that the higher in elevation the longer it takes to cook,check to see that the stove has a good wind block too.Most camps have fire rings that have a adjustable elevation grill so a tripod is not necessary but they are nice to hang a Dutch oven from.Buy a cheap wire brush like a bbq brush as that site grill will have old bits of food and probably some rust on it,I have a grill that I took off of a old bbq and I sit it on top of the grill that is already there.

The 3 W's:wood,water,and wipey You can never depend on these items to be available,bring them !

Wood:Most camps are picked clean of downed and dead wood(the only type you can pick)do want to spend time searching the forest for wood ? probably not as wood has been sitting under feet of snow for 6 months,it's wet,it's full of beetles,ants,spiders that are going in to the trunk of your car,also you will have to spend time cutting it down to less than 18' so it fits in the fire ring.Buy wood at any store(some gas stations too) and if you see wood while driving you can pick that up as extra

Water:sometimes in the early or late season the water in a campground is shut off for the season and has not been turned on,or the pump does not work.bring your own jug(s) and you can refill those if there is water available.Myself,I bring a couple of 1 gallon bottles of water and the refill those if water is available.

Toilet paper:Not guaranteed to be any and when there is it's small 1 ply wax paper that comes off the roll one sheet at a time :evil: the devil's work I tell 'ya.Bring those nice rolls of paper from home.

Light: Everyone should have a flashlight,kids too

Bears and food:Most sites have a large bear box that will accommodate a ice chest and large plastic storage boxes.I have one pantry box for all food,one kitchen box for all the pots,pans,paper plates etc.(nice to have a plastic cutting board to prepare food on) all food related item must be stored at all times except when preparing meals so it is much easier to pull the boxes out instead of digging through the car,you can store food in a automobile in Yellowstone(do that in Yosemite and you will find a bear behind the wheel in the morning) so always ask a ranger what are the acceptable storage methods(you will get a flyer when you enter the park about bear safety)

Be prepared for weather:It can snow in any month of the year,in the spring the temps can range from the high 20s to the low 70s. Those inflatable mattresses are not and will not be warm,air or the ground are the worst insulators and you will be cold no matter how good of sleeping bag you have,find a good ground pad like closed foam cell pads.This advice I have passed on to a couple of different people and they did not heed my warnings and paid the price by being cold and miserable the whole trip.

Have a great trip

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Re: Hi and some questions about Yellowstone

Post by BlackDragonsCaldron »

Welcome to the forum.

If you are anywhere near a Recreational Equipment (REI) store I recommend you go there for your camping equipment purchases. They are a membership co-op and the staff in these stores is always very helpful in selecting equipment. I've been a member for 45 years and all of my camping gear was purchased at an REI store.

When I needed a new day pack for my aging body, the associate spent 20 minutes with me so I could try on different packs, another 5 minutes adjusting it to fit properly and then he loaded it up with weight so I could wear it around the store for a while to make sure it was comfortable. I've never had that kind of attention and service in any of the regular outdoor retail stores.

I didn't see the dates of your planned trip but want to underscore the fact that it can get quite cold at night in Yellowstone any time of the year. Buy gear to be prepared for chilly nights, even if you go in July or August. Yellowstone is at high elevations and the temperature difference between day and night can be significant.

You really do need to get your campsites reserved right now. The first-come, first-served campgrounds in Yellowstone fill up fast and with 3 kids you really don't want to be searching for a site and waiting in line at 7AM.

Here is a link to all of the campgrounds in Yellowstone: https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

Make your campground reservations directly with Xanterra, the operator of the reservable campgrounds in the park. This site also shows the opening and closing dates of each campground

https://www.yellowstonenationalparklodg ... y/camping/

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Re: Hi and some questions about Yellowstone

Post by yellvet »

Early in the Yellowstone camping season, you need to prepared for everything: snow, below freezing temps, rain, sleet and even hail. April, May and June have historically been considered, the wettest months in the Park. So you need to be prepared for all sorts of weather.

Clothing - Your best bet is to layer your clothing. Bring turtle necks and a couple of warm wool or polar fleece pull-over tops or heavy hooded sweatshirts. And don't forget to bring a warm parka, a HD water-proof rain jacket and pants, a warm wool hat and a pair of warn gloves/mittens. You're gonna need them. #1 at the top of my own priority list is bringing a pair of high top rain boots. I buy them at WalMart for under $20 every two years. They're called "women's chore boots". Keep in mind that the grass in Yellowstone is always soaking wet in the morning. So campsites are usually wet and muddy until the sun dries things out. For this reason, I always bring my rubber rain boots to keep my feet dry and warm. I buy the boots one size larger. Then I put an inner felt sole liner in the bottom of the boot to keep my feet warm and snug on my feet. I never EVER go to the Park without my rain boots. I even use them at home when I'm working outside or when hiking along the river.

Food - Early in the season, all sorts of hungry wildlife will be on the lookout for food. So when you're camping, ALWAYS, keep a clean campsite and store all your food, cooking utensils, pots and pans and anything with an odor in air tight containers and store them in your vehicle when the items aren't in use. I also tape a list of the contents on the top or side of the box. This makes it munch easier to find food and meal items at dinner time. I also use air-tight re-sealable freezer bags for storing all sorts of things. The bags won't leave an odor(good for keeping the bears away), they're light and make storing items very easy which ultimately makes the preparation of meals much easier and safer. For two people, I put measured amounts (about 2 cups) into one freezer bag for storing items like dry mashed potatoes, rice, macaroni and cereal. The bags can also be used for storing cosmetics, toothpaste and toiletries or for keeping camera memory cards and batteries free from moisture.

Ice- I highly recommend buying blocks of ice rather than buying cube ice for your cooler. Block ice is a bit more expensive but it lasts about 3-4 days, whereas, cube ice will only last about a day...maybe two if it's cold outside and your car is parked in the shade.

Check out the campsite, thoroughly, before you tag it. Does the site have good drainage? Does it have an elevated foundation for your tent or will your tent be on the ground, openly exposed to the weather? What's the prevailing wind direction at the site? Most storms in the Park move in from the South West. So please keep that in mind when choosing a site. Are there any hills or steep inclines close to the site? If so, look for deep ruts, cuts or gulleys that may have been formed from a heavy rain. Check out the trees around the camp site very, very carefully. Have any been hit by lightning? Remember that all Yellowstone visitors camp at their own risk. Each campground has the campground rules and regulations posted, so please read them and obey them. This is not only for your own safety but also for the safety of all other campers, visitors and wildlife (big and small).

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Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:54 pm

Re: Hi and some questions about Yellowstone

Post by yellvet »

Sorry but I forgot to mention this in my previous post. Finding DRY kindling and dead fall to use for starting a camp fire, can be very difficult to find, especially, when the ground, dead fall and grass is wet. So, I bring fire starters from home. They're EZ to make. Here's how to make them.

1) First, you'll need some empty egg cartons and some cheap wax candles.
2) Melt down the wax in an old sauce pan on your kitchen stove.
3) Fill each egg slot in the carton half full with the melted wax.
4) When the egg slot is half full with the wax, then insert a thin cloth strip or some drier lint into the wax, making sure that you leave part of the cloth or drier lint exposed. This becomes the wick for the fire starter.
5) Let the wax dry completely and then cut out each egg slot out with a pair of scissors.

Voila!!! Now you've got some home-made fire starters to start come pretty nice fires in your fire pit when you're camping. They really, really work!!!! We usually bring 2 or 3 dozen with us on each trip to the Park.

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