Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mud Camping Joy

I live in an arid part of the country so I really enjoy camping in the wetter parts of the country where the rains come regularly, bushes grow like crazy and mud is everywhere. However, I find that camping in wet conditions requires a bit of planning to insure happiness.

I really, really, really like my tent and everything in it to stay dry. If you have one of those cheapy tents with a small rain guard that only covers the top of the tent, your tent and things in it are going to get wet unless you bring tarps to cover the tent. Most tents can handle a little bit of rain on the sides, but we might have more than a little bit of rain this year. The better tents have rain flies that reach the ground and insure an inch or two gap between your actual tent and the rain fly (much better).

When you look for a spot to pinch your tent, look at the way the water flow is going. If you pitch your tent in an area that floods when it rains, you will not be a happy camper. I usually tarp under and over my tent in these conditions, plus the good old trench around your tent that you learned as a scout always comes in handy. Also, having a spot in front of your tent that is under a tarp and has dead wood on the ground will give you a place to get out of your muddy, wet clothes before you go inside your tent. This makes me happy as I hate sleeping in mud.

Trails at gatherings can get a bit muddy when it rains a lot. There is a reason that most cities have sidewalks, but that's another story. If you want to be happy walking around the gathering, visiting kitchens, going to workshops, or dancing around the drum circle, foot wear is critical. Tennis shoes don't cut it - the mud will suck them off your feet. Flip flops don't cut it - they will break in two steps. Bare feet are not advisable. The mud is going to have dog pee in it, plus what ever creatures live in the mud in the Allegheny National Forest are going to find their way into your feet. Heavy duty solid leather hiking boots, snow boots, rain boots that reach your knees. These are the types of shoes that will make you happy. Make sure what ever boots you wear have excellent and deep tread or you'll be slipping and falling in the mud.

Make sure to bring a rain poncho or what ever good rain gear you have. Many people find that a small tri-leg camping stool makes life nice when you're tired of standing. Alternatively, having a small tarp that you can sit on when you feel like sitting down is very nice.

Keeping the trails functional is the job of each and everyone of us. When you come across an especially muddy part of a trail, find some down dead wood and lay it on top of the mud to provide a way for people to pass. Or find duff (dead and decomposing bark, leaves, and wood in the forest) and fill in the mud.


  1. Would love to get an update on conditions at the site so far. How has the mud been? Rain? Heat? What's going on with the parking? Are the kitchens really spread out again, like in 99? Anyone know if Kiddie Village is up and running and what other kitchens are nearby? We're packing in on Monday with our 5 yr old and would love to get some updates.

    Welcome home!

  2. Kid Village is near the back gate. Parking is along the roads. It's scheduled to rain over the weekend so I'm sure more mud will come. Musical Veggies is in that area as well.

  3. We are coming with 3 youths! Which road do we take to reach the back gate area? none of the directions specify... weeee looooove yoooouuuu! anyone already present, WHAT IS STILL NEEDED AT KIDDIE VILLAGE?? Is there anything not yet present that I can bring? We will be towing a rental trailer (since we 5 plus dog take up all the space) so I have room......we are coming from eastern PA....We ain't rich, but will honor what requests we can far, we are armed with organic pasta and peanutbutter LOL

  4. FS 209 is off road 666 - a road not recommended for large vehicles. I'm not sure if that will work for you or not. Check out this map of the area - I don't know how much parking is at the back gate, and it's a rougher road in from what I hear.

    As too food stuff, I have no idea. Durable fruit that kids like is always a good thing to bring. Biodegradable soap is good.

  5. Sweet....I'll check that out...Ty, Sister

  6. is there any special footwear for Mud Camping?