This should give you just about everything you need to know for MAN CAMP. Have a question beyond what’s covered here? Talk to your Trip Captain.


You’re carpooling with your unit to a place near Lexington, KY. Get details from your Trip Captain.

Communications and Emergencies

Generally, we’re off the grid during MAN CAMP. We’ll be turning off and collecting cell phones before we head out to the campsite.

  • If there’s an emergency at home: Before MAN CAMP, your Trip Captain will give you a phone number for your family to call in the event of an emergency.
  • If there’s an emergency at MAN CAMP: We’ll have a medical response team onsite, and a way to get you from the campsite to a hospital.

What to Pack

Everything you pack needs to fit into one duffel bag and one backpack. You’ll be hiking all your gear over a mile, so pack lightly.

CLOTHES. Two main ideas: keep yourself dry, and dress in layers. Extra socks, a jacket for night, a rain layer, etc. You’ll also want work boots, or something rugged enough to handle hiking in the woods all day.

TOILETRIES. You pretty much just need Wet Wipes (for pooping) and a towel (like a shammy, just in case). A toothbrush and toothpaste is sort of optional. Don’t bother with a razor. You probably don’t need deodorant, unless it’s that prescription deodorant.

FOOD. We’ll supply lunch on Saturday, as well as beer/soda/water. Beyond that, you’ll need to bring your own—food for dinner Friday, Saturday breakfast and dinner, and Sunday breakfast. Bring food that can be stored without refrigeration, and that doesn’t need a whole lot of prep time (unless you’re a campfire gourmet). Clif-Bars, jerky, cheese and crackers are all great options.

INDIVIDUAL CAMPING GEAR. Make sure you get ahold of all of this stuff:

  • A headlamp (a cheap one from Home Depot is fine)
  • A folding camp chair for the campfire (a crappy tailgate chair is fine; fit it on top of your duffel bag, slipped between the handles)
  • A sleeping bag (a basic one will work; it’s only two nights)
  • A pad to go under your sleeping bag (if you don’t have one, Google “camp thermal break DIY” to find cheap ways to do this)
  • A plate (for lunch)
  • A cup for coffee/soda/water/beer/whiskey
  • A spork or other utensil
  • Earplugs (normally these would be optional, but you’ll be surrounded by over 1,000 snoring machines)

UNIT CAMPING GEAR. Make sure you’re covered with all these between everybody in your unit:

  • Tents
  • Lighter or waterproof matches
  • Trash bags (the big contractor sized bags)
  • A tarp (or two), along with bungees and/or rope, for building a lean-to for your unit in case it rains

OPTIONAL CAMPING GEAR. Bring this if you have it, and if you have room.

  • Sunglasses
  • Pain reliever
  • Allergy meds
  • Sunscreen
  • Instant coffee
  • Whiskey (is whiskey really optional?)
  • Dehydrated food
  • Jetboil or similar cooking system
  • Multi-tool


  • Don’t bring a gun. We’ll have too many guys, and it’s completely unnecessary for this event.
  • Don’t bring power tools. They’re too heavy and bulky anyway.

Camping 101

How to make the most of your camping experience.

  • Moisture is the enemy of comfort. Keep that in mind as you make choices. There are no dryers. What gets wet, stays wet. What is wet is cold and miserable.
  • Sleep naked in your bag, especially if it is super cold. Your sleeping bag will work much better if you don’t sleep clothed. (Seriously, it’s designed to use your body heat to warm the bag.)
  • Wear good water resistant or waterproof shoes.
  • Pooping outside is glorious and natural. Always face uphill and use a wide stance (falling in is bad). Take a couple of wet wipes with you to clean up.
  • If it is super cold, a Nalgene bottle filled with hot water (heated by Jetboil or the fire in a pot) will make your sleeping bag super comfy. Just heat the water, dump it in the Nalgene (close the lid tightly) and throw that into the foot of your bag when you get in. Don’t do this until you are 100% ready to go to sleep, you want to soak up as much heat as possible. Don’t heat a plastic bottle or a bottle with a plastic closure by the fire. It could easily develop a leak and your bag will be wet and miserable all night.
  • Pro-tip: Throw the clothes you’re going to wear in the morning into the bottom of your bag too (not between you and the Nalgene). They will help keep the heat in the bag and they will be toasty for the morning. Remember, DO NOT WEAR THEM TO SLEEP.
  • If it is going to rain or snow, Cotton is the enemy. Denim is only slightly better. Wear synthetic items if possible.
  • Do not place your tents super close to the fire. Sparks can reach them but heat cannot. Sparks can ruin a tent quickly.
  • Always stake the tent down (even if it isn’t windy).
  • Always put on the rain fly securely (even if it doesn’t look like rain).
  • Always keep the doors zipped shut unless you are actively accessing the tent. You don’t want to sleep with all sorts of critters and bugs.
  • Always place your tent on the most level ground you can find. The ground will not be level so place the “head” of your bedroll at the highest point.
  • Locate your headlamp and have it with you before dark.
  • Make sure that anything you bring (clothes, gear, etc) is as versatile and multi-functional as possible. It is much better to bring 5 things than to bring 25 things.
  • Don’t put food inside your tent unless you want a nighttime visitor with paws. Most tents have a “vestibule” which is a spot covered by the rainfly outside of the sleeping area where you can store items.
  • Put all trash into a trash bag immediately. Things will blow around and get scattered very quickly.
  • If you go to bed first, put in your earplugs. Tents do not block sound. The rest of your group should not be expected to get super quiet since you chose to call it a night.

Cold Weather Camping Tips

You might find a few things repeated in here. That’s how important they are.

Recurring Question: How cold is too cold? While this event is not weather dependent, we don’t want anyone injured. Here comes the science: The American College of Sports Medicine says until we hit -18 degrees (that’s right, negative 18) actual temp, we are good to go! Leave it to OSHA to be totally unhelpful and vague, saying that basically sitting in your house is a risk. You can get Hypothermia or Trench Foot at temps above 60 degrees (what the heck is trench foot?).

The bottom line is, weather in the Midwest is unpredictable and it could be cold. We aren’t going on Shackleton’s expedition; we’re spending one day in the woods being men.

  • Hydrate ahead of time. Helps you stay warm. Drink a ton of water the week before. Seriously. DO THIS.
  • Wear the right stuff. Layers, layers, layers. No cotton.
  • Protect your feet and hands. Bring your own hand-warmers and feet warmers if you typically have trouble with that.
  • Dry is more important than warm. And warm is very important.
  • Mylar blankets can be found multiple places (like Amazon) and are great to wrap around the outside of your sleeping bag to make it warmer on the inside of the bag.
  • Wood will be available but it may be snow covered. We recommend bringing fire starters.
  • High protein and high-fat foods are recommended. Examples could be hot chocolate with butter or peanut butter as the protein. Fat food creates energy. Energy means heat.
  • Folks with diabetes or on beta blockers are more susceptible to hypothermia. Plan accordingly.
  • This isn’t a kegger. We will have some pop and beer available (you bring your own brown sauce). Overindulging isn’t just irresponsible it’s dangerous. It can increase your risk of hypothermia. Don’t act like a boy and put your unit in a bad situation.
  • Some other helpful tips. Note – He recommends bundling up inside your sleeping bag. Your call on which advice to follow.