Leaving gear at camp

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Leaving gear at camp

Postby ccar » Wed 13 Jan, 2021 7:55 am

As I'm about to do my first ever overnight hike (one night/section of the Great Ocean Walk) I was wondering whether it's a good idea leaving your gear at camp whilst you might go off for an hour (say to watch the sunset from a better vantage point) or even a day trip for a few hours.

Obviously I would pack everything away in the tent, and for now I would only be concerned about hike-in camps (not drive-in). Or, would taking your pack with you sans tent be a better idea?

I'd appreciate any advice and/or experiences to ease my mind or deter me from doing this!

Thanks
Craig
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Re: Leaving gear at camp

Postby ribuck » Wed 13 Jan, 2021 6:25 pm

At a hike-in campsite, I leave my gear inside my tent without concern. At a drive-in campsite, I pack my gear away then stash my backpack out of sight in the bushes.
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Re: Leaving gear at camp

Postby Baeng72 » Wed 13 Jan, 2021 6:32 pm

ribuck wrote:At a hike-in campsite, I leave my gear inside my tent without concern. At a drive-in campsite, I pack my gear away then stash my backpack out of sight in the bushes.

I'm pretty much the same. If it takes someone effort to get to camp (walking for hours), they're probably not opportunistic thieves but just hikers.
But at a car camp, there's no cost for them to take a quick peek at your gear and snaffle something and chuck it into the boot.
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Re: Leaving gear at camp

Postby Lamont » Wed 13 Jan, 2021 6:34 pm

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Re: Leaving gear at camp

Postby CraigVIC » Wed 13 Jan, 2021 7:50 pm

I wouldn't be too worried about car campers. The shared car/hike sites are all booked sites and at this time of the year attract people affluent enough to be leaving plenty of their own expensive gear at camp while they're at the beach and won't be too interested in your stuff. Blanket bay gets a lot more day trippers than it used to but I still wouldn't be worried.

The main problem will be trying to enjoy yourself with nagging worries about your gear in the back of your mind which only doing it a few times will solve.
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Re: Leaving gear at camp

Postby ccar » Wed 13 Jan, 2021 8:49 pm

Thanks everyone - it is as I suspected.

CraigVIC wrote:The main problem will be trying to enjoy yourself with nagging worries about your gear in the back of your mind which only doing it a few times will solve.


Haha - I think this is probably my main concern :)
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Re: Leaving gear at camp

Postby Eremophila » Wed 13 Jan, 2021 9:16 pm

You should be fine - but some smelly socks/jocks strategically placed in your tent are always a good deterrent. :lol:
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Re: Leaving gear at camp

Postby Birdman » Sat 16 Jan, 2021 2:42 am

I always leave my stuff in my tent, including sites with car access, and never had anything stolen. Of course on the sites with car access I'm more worried than on wilderness camps.

When camping in true wilderness I sometimes leave my tent behind for the entire day to do a daywalk. Then my worry is that somebody thinks the tent is abandoned and I am missing, and that they call the authorities.

Funny anecdote from the Bibbulmun Track in 2019: a solo hiking lady that I met told me that she had left her backpack on the trail and went some distance offtrail into the forest to take a nap. A guy she didn't know found her pack and he called search&rescue. The lady was not amused.
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Re: Leaving gear at camp

Postby wildwanderer » Sat 16 Jan, 2021 12:37 pm

I did hear a story over 15 years ago of a group that was walking in the snowys. They had pitched their tents in a nice spot (well away from any access road).

The next morning they went on a day walk. Returning in the afternoon they found quite a lot of stuff missing.

As they were in the high country and in a sparsely forested area they climbed a hill to see if anyone else was nearby and sure enough saw another party some distance away walking down the valley. Being fit chaps they caught up with them.. saw some of the 'appropriated' gear attached to packs..'words' were exchanged and they got their stuff back. The other party claimed they thought the gear was abandoned.

Was very lucky they spotted them and were able to get the gear back... nicking stuff in the mtns could have very serious consequences.. it's not just stealing.. but it's taking someone's survival equipment.

However that's the only story I've ever heard of thieving in the backcountry.
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Re: Leaving gear at camp

Postby Birdman » Sat 16 Jan, 2021 9:47 pm

@wildwanderer, these hikers nicking gear is ridiculous and a very serious/ dangerous indeed. Fortunately I have never heard anything like that before.

In Scotland there was a full unopened bottle of whisky along a remote trail. I'm told that it has been there for weeks. Nobody took it because it was assumed that somebody left it there for a friend to pick up. That's what an honest bunch we hikers are (generally).
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Re: Leaving gear at camp

Postby flingebunt » Mon 18 Jan, 2021 7:09 pm

Australia has very low levels of crime and you could put your backpack down in a busy city street, and there is a good chance no one will touch it. Thieves are usually targeting electronics, such as phones, computers etc, rather than tents, backpacks and so on.

You will see tents and equipment regularly left lying around in campsites without any worries. On hiking trails, people will put their pack down, grab a water bottle and an energy bar, and head up a mountain or other side trail without any concern about people stealing their pack before they return.

I am a little more paranoid that some, so I tend to make sure I bring valuable things with me when leave stuff at the campsite, such as phones, cameras etc. Unless the are heavy, then I will leave them behind.

Here is the thing, so light fingered so and so might see something nice to take. Maybe they crave your chocolate protein bars or your battery recharge pack if they see it. They are mostly likely to grab it if they see it rather than systematically go through your gear searching for things. The example is how people steal pot plants from the front of people's houses, not because there is a big black market in them, but just because they are there. Also, if it is not curbside cleanup day, just put stuff that is broken in the front yard, and there is a good chance it will just disappear. Had a broken bar fridge that we put on the front verandah as a sort of table which disappeared one day (thanks thieves, appreciate your hard work).
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Re: Leaving gear at camp

Postby GregG » Tue 19 Jan, 2021 1:30 pm

wildwanderer wrote: Being fit chaps they caught up with them.. saw some of the 'appropriated' gear attached to packs..'words' were exchanged and they got their stuff back. The other party claimed they thought the gear was abandoned.

I don't doubt that story Wildwandrer, there are definitely some people (thankfully not many) out there who in other respects seem reliable but who see it almost as a sport to pinch something that clearly is the property of someone else. Often the article is not needed by the thief, often they are well able to buy the thing or already own one, they just see it as an opportunity to grab something for nothing. This is doubly reprehensible in remote locations where the loss of the gear could have severe, even fatal, reprecussions. Like I said before, thankfully this sort of behaviour is not common.
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