Camping on a Gravel Bar

Recreational and touring boaters
dkeyse
.
.
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:17 am
Name: Darin

Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by dkeyse » Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:42 pm

Hi
I'm new here and have a question for the more experinced. I've been taking my family to the Buffalo for several years and we really enjoy it. We canoe and camp at Buffalo Point.

I want to start camping on the river but I don't get how the gravel bar works. What do you look for to make a good camping site? How do you set up a tent in the gravel? Seems like it'd be uncomfortable to sleep on.

Also do you take your drinking water or purify it from the river? I realize this might depend on how long the trip is and how many people are going.

Any other helpful hints would be great!

Darin

User avatar
Deuce
ACC President
Posts: 1799
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:09 pm
Name: Luke Coop
Location: Dogtown

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by Deuce » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:35 pm

There are a million ways to approach it really. The most important thing is to avoid potentially placing yourself in harm's way. Look for a gravel bar with an escape route in case you get an unwelcome wet surprise. Never camp on a gravel bar that backs up to a bluff, and never camp on an island. If you can find a gravel bar with sand that will make for a softer place to sleep, but really if you have a decent pad the gravel won't bother you, at least it doesn't me. You'll set up your tent the same way you do anywhere else, but you may need different stakes depending on what you're using now.

I usually camp out of a raft, which means space isn't really an issue, so I bring all kinds of stuff, including a five gallon can of water. However, for canoe camping some people carry water in gallon bleach jugs, milk jugs, etc. and some people purify via filtering, boiling, bleach, or a combination thereof.

You'll get all sorts of advice from guys more experienced than I am. Good luck, but beware, when you start gravel bar camping you'll quickly lose interest in the Buffalo Point scene for the most part. Hopefully the rest of the family will feel the same way.
You come too.
Robert Frost

dkeyse
.
.
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:17 am
Name: Darin

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by dkeyse » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:11 am

Thanks for the pointers Deuce. What you said is pretty much what I thought but wasn't sure.

As far as Buffalo Point goes I've already lost intrest in it, but can I convince the rest of the family?

User avatar
AR-Nimrod
.....
.....
Posts: 797
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:28 am
Name: Chris Crawford
Location: El Dorado, AR

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by AR-Nimrod » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:24 am

Go put on at Woolum, stop and camp on the gravel bar across from Peter Cave Bluff, then continue to Tyler Bend or Hwy. 65 the next day. That was Clan Crawford's intro to gravel bar camping and we love it. :thumbup:
Chris Crawford

Some people don't know, what they don't know.....

User avatar
Clif
.....
.....
Posts: 963
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 11:20 am
Location: Bee Branch

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by Clif » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:40 am

If the river was flowing good.. you could come on a group trip and see. My wife may come to a campground but would not go on a river stop....bathroom.

Stakes in gravel... using large rocks as weights works well for main corners
You sure this is on the right channel?

User avatar
Deuce
ACC President
Posts: 1799
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:09 pm
Name: Luke Coop
Location: Dogtown

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by Deuce » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:00 am

dkeyse wrote:Thanks for the pointers Deuce. What you said is pretty much what I thought but wasn't sure.

As far as Buffalo Point goes I've already lost intrest in it, but can I convince the rest of the family?
Exactly. Hence my warning. :hammer2: Mrs. Deuce has a really bad back and is unwilling to face the prospect of relieving herself in the woods, so I'm resigned to the fact that she'll never join me on a gravel bar trip. :( Little Deuce is another story.
You come too.
Robert Frost

User avatar
okieboater
.....
.....
Posts: 1943
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2005 9:21 pm
Name: David L. Reid
Location: Jenks, Oklahoma

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by okieboater » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:52 am

The Solution to gravel bar pooping:

First, the privacy issue must be taken care of.

http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp? ... eptid=2122" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Then the poop container.

You have two choices for quality made in USA units. I have the first system, Eco-Tec and can
verify it works and has lasted a long time. The second system I have used on commercial trips and it is indeed, the Throne to set on.

Nice groover, reasonable price. Will last longer than you will.

http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=2729" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Awesome groover, pricey, but the “Throne”. Stainless steel out the yeng yang, will never wear out.

http://www.riverconnection.com/jonny-pa ... -p-39.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This will solve the “I wanta use the stinkey pit toilets” at “fill in the blank area”

Add in some nice smelling odor tamer and the poop problem is solved. :clap:
Okieboater AKA Dave Reid

We are not sure when childhood ends and adulthood begins.

We are sure that when retirement begins, childhood restarts

User avatar
Half Ton
.....
.....
Posts: 1031
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:50 pm
Name: J Herrick P
Location: fateville

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by Half Ton » Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:41 pm

be sure to pick out the gravel bars with a decent slope for hanging around camp and sleeping nearly level.

Smaller gravels that are softer are much better than the larger cobble type gravel bars.

Sleeping pads like thermarests, paco pads, and inflatable air mattresses all work well. the latter is the least expensive but might not last as long.

some people use cots. Hammocks can even work.

depending on your trip length either take bottled water or a filter or tablets.

have fun!
"The challenge goes on. There are other lands and rivers, other wilderness areas, to save and to share with all. I challenge you to step forward to protect and care for the wild places you love best"

- Neil Compton

User avatar
Richard
.....
.....
Posts: 1428
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 8:41 am
Location: Conway, AR

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by Richard » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:45 am

All of the above responses have been excellent.

There are less expensive alternatives short term compared to what Okieboater suggests for handling human waste but if you are going to spend any time at all on gravel bars, follow his advice.
I have used 5 gallon water containers in the past but I have found five one gallon containers work better for me than one five gallon container. My favorite is IHOP one gallon syrup containers.
If you opt to do the Woolum to Tyler float, I would suggest you do it only when water levels are above 6ft on the St Joe gage. Hwy 14 to Rush and camping at Bice Bend is shorter and also has excellent scenery.
As mentioned, small gravel is superior to the larger stuff. I avoid sand because it gets into everything and is hard to get out.

I believe in comfort so I sleep on the same bed I sleep on at home. My cot. My room on the gravel bar is almost as large as my room at home, 10x10 vs 10x12, but the view is better.
http://www.amazon.com/Paha-Que-10-Scree ... roduct_top" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I also prefer the gravel bar flooring as my tent is floorless. Beats carpet any day. I prefer sleeping under the stars, however be aware that dew can be a serious problem if you like being nice and dry.
Two other requirements. A comfortable camp chair and a table.

Small campfires can be just as enjoyable as large ones. I try to keep mine contained to about the size of a large pizza or smaller.

Buffalo Point vs gravel bar: Buffalo Point has showers and flush toilets. That is where it shines compared to gravel bar camping. Gravel bars are far better in every other respect. Buffalo Point also has those pesky gnats and sometimes obnoxious campers. Gravel bars don't.
Given a choice, for me it is a no brainer. Gravel Bar is the winner by far.

I ought to be on the river instead of typing away here.
We are all afflicted with Cognitive Dissonance. The greater our religious, social, financial or political affiliation, the greater the affliction. We hear what we want to hear. We believe what we want to believe. Truth becomes irrelevant.

User avatar
RiverRummer
.
.
Posts: 63
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:41 pm
Name: BUH
Location: In a Van, Down by the River

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by RiverRummer » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:23 am

I have to agree with others suggesting a Camping toilet! as I have used this method to get my friends girlfriend to go camping with us. (formerly only campground camper) Now She goes everywhere with us. We broke her in with a 14 day trip last year, starting in West Virginia at GauleyFest, then down to North Carolina near NOC for GAF. All it took was a toilet and a solar heated camping shower. I must admit my goal wasn't to get her camping but to keep my friend from staying home! and after years of primitive camping ( or maybe because i'm getting old) I too have found a camp toilet to come in very handy at times. I simply set it up in the vestibule of my tent. or find a spot away from campsite for more privacy. Those are 2 of the 3 things I use to turn city people into campers. the 3rd. being an inflatable mattress to sleep on. Armed with those 3 things, and the beautiful scenery of being on the river, is usually all it takes. Most newbies don't know how good the equipment has gotten, or realize how much of a difference these things can make to turn a non-camper or "campground only camper" into a "camp anywhere" camper! While my reason's were less than honest, the outcome turned one paddling buddy into two paddling buddies! She now has a rec. boat and a whitewater boat! and goes with us without worry, knowing that we have the equipment that makes primitive camping, not so primitive.

User avatar
okieboater
.....
.....
Posts: 1943
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2005 9:21 pm
Name: David L. Reid
Location: Jenks, Oklahoma

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by okieboater » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:37 am

I am a big fan of the Eco-Safe groover in a 20mm rocket box.

The main reason is I am tired of seeing a beautiful gravel bar (or land locked camp site for that matter) covered in toilet paper and holes filled with poop. All digging a hole for poop on a gravel or sand bar is get the poop out of your sight - soon as it rains out comes the poop and toilet paper.

The Eco-Safe System does cost some money but it is bomber in a rocket box and if you stay away from the acid based additives, will last a life time. Most Western River Permit rivers require an approved groover and a lot of the "free" sites I often use in BLM and National Forest sites require you to have a firepan and groover system with you even tho the camping is free.

I have and use the Stearns Sun Showers and man they work great 90 percent of the time. The Zodi propane units work great as well - sometimes they take some fiddle time to make em work but later models are getting better.

Camping from the truck or sometimes raft, another great comfort factor for me is a chair. Space permitting I have one of those folding "lounge type" Lafuma chairs that is true luxury camping.
Okieboater AKA Dave Reid

We are not sure when childhood ends and adulthood begins.

We are sure that when retirement begins, childhood restarts

mohawklady
..
..
Posts: 148
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:06 am
Name: pam ellwood
Location: little rock

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by mohawklady » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:18 pm

and I might also add to keep your food secured in buckets/ or placting boxes with tamper proof latches. I have seen many clever raccoons make off with someones food supply.
Also might mention that I have done the Ozark Society float trip for the last 16 years and only the last two years have we used the groover system. We are trying to lead by example, we see in the future it becoming a required sytem for people camping on the river...Pam

plastic worm
.
.
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:52 pm
Location: SE Arkansas

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by plastic worm » Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:21 am

Must's are a first aid kit, sun screen, a comfortable place to sit and sleep, and a dry bag.

Remember space is limited in a canoe. CHECK the weather before you leave.

Tips: Start slow 1 or 2 night's in the beginning. You'll have to learn what your must have's are, what would be nice's are, and what your family's tolerance is...so start small. Be aware paddeling a canoe w/ all the gear you need to gravel camp is different from a day float w/ a cooler/food....depending on how big your family is and how much you take...packing, securing, and water proofing is very important...if you can, do a dry run first to see how things fit and also to see what you will need access to while floating (don't pack the sun screen or 1st aid at the bottom of the dry bag under all your comfy chairs). The trip will be bad if you flip, lose gear/food, and everything get's wet...So for me a dry bag is a must. Don't trust a trash bag, go under a tree and they tear easily. As far as what to sleep in...I've done everything from a trash bag on sand to a tent. I prefer a cot and tarp...you can sleep just about any place on the river w/ a cot. And you may need the tarp if it rains or the dew gets bad. Bring rope to hang the trap, however you can.

Don't get discouraged...it's so much more fun on a gravel bar...but takes practice...no turning back if you forget something!!!
Blog@: http://looknfishy.blogspot.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
FB@: https://www.facebook.com/looknfishy" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
IG@: https://instagram.com/looknfishy/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
Richard
.....
.....
Posts: 1428
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 8:41 am
Location: Conway, AR

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by Richard » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:27 pm

WOW! There are now two of us who understand the joys of cot camping :)
We are all afflicted with Cognitive Dissonance. The greater our religious, social, financial or political affiliation, the greater the affliction. We hear what we want to hear. We believe what we want to believe. Truth becomes irrelevant.

User avatar
Deuce
ACC President
Posts: 1799
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:09 pm
Name: Luke Coop
Location: Dogtown

Re: Camping on a Gravel Bar

Post by Deuce » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:21 pm

Richard wrote:WOW! There are now two of us who understand the joys of cot camping :)
Three. My setup is an Aire Landing Pad on a Byer Alagash cot. Purty comfy.
You come too.
Robert Frost

Post Reply

Social Media

       

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest