Let's get together outside. One weekend. 400 FREE REI outdoor classes and outings across the nation, July 30-31.
Sign Up  |   Log In:Login with Facebook
REI Community
Dirt bag life 101
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
Page 1 of 1.  
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.

Email me.
Feb 16, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: bouldering
Well looks like I will be jobless by the end of May. Looks like the perfect opportunity to live the dirt bag life. I will have enough money saved up, but I need your help in what you did and how did you get by when money was low to continue the dirt bag life .
Where did you live?
What about showers?
Finding belayers on the road?
Finding short term work?
Over all experience that you had?
From springfield, Mo
Joined Dec 3, 2011
59 points
Feb 16, 2013

There you go man!
Jeff Kent
From Sedona, Az
Joined Oct 10, 2012
5 points
Feb 16, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: bouldering
thank you Mike-R
From springfield, Mo
Joined Dec 3, 2011
59 points
Feb 16, 2013
First big road trip, eh? Get psyched; you'll have a great time. Summer is a great time for a road trip, with long days and easy living. There is a more limited selection of crags to choose from that are in season (i.e. not too hot), but plenty to keep you occupied. Go north, or to very high elevation. If the road trip lasts into the fall, you'll have even more options open up.

A few basic pointers:

- Set up your car to sleep in. A truck (with topper) or van is even better. At a minimum, a station wagon will do if you aren't too tall (at 5'8, my Subie is just right). If done right, it can be more comfortable than a tent. It also greatly enhances your mobility, and your ability to get by ont he cheap.

- Each crag has its own beta for where to find showers. Generally, a local rec center is you best option, and you can usually get a shower for a few dollars. In the summer, I usually only pay for a shower about once a week or so, and daily swimming in creeks in the interim will keep you clean.

-As far as finding partners go, the solo road trip is a fantastic experience. You have tons of freedom to go where you please, and you tend to get to know a lot of new people when traveling solo. The downside is that you can be a lot more limited in what crags you can go to. Although there are many crags that you *might* find a partner at, you really done want to have to scrounge. Go to major destination crags that are at their peak season. Go to places with a high concentration of climbing, and centralized climber's campground, and a long-term resident climber scene. At these places, you will have more partners than you know what to do with.

If you say a bit more about what kind of climbing you are most interested in (alpine, trad, sport, boulders, etc.) and what level you are climbing at, I can make some suggestions as to places that will be in season, and where it is easy to find partners.
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
65 points
Feb 16, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Me and Holden at the "Matterhorn"
Local libraries offer free internet and usually have the local guide books although only for use on site. Robbie Mackley
From Tucson, AZ
Joined May 6, 2010
90 points
Feb 16, 2013
dumpster dive fresh produce. its there and its it in good condition. i promise.
sleep in your car. if possible. never rent anything. ESPECIALLY a campsite.
or try couchsurfing .org
gyms have showers. sneak into apt complexes or hotels and soak in the jacuzzi. thats whats up.
talk to locals everywhere.
they will tell you where all the secret cool shit is. like hotsprings and other badass modes.
Joined Feb 14, 2012
0 points
Feb 16, 2013
At the time I wasn't a climber but I took a 2 month road trip around the US and Canada.

First, like others have mentioned set up your car to camp. But secondly National Forests do not charge fees to camp, but offer few if any things like paved roads or toilets. National Parks charge fees but will have things like showers etc....most of the time. If you arrive late and leave early you can sometimes dodge the guys checking National Park lots.

Get Bronner's soap to scrub, wash your hair, and brush your teeth with. Bathe in streams when feasible.

You'd be surprised how many people will offer you a place to crash or a meal, or share a drink/joint after a little conversation.

Libraries will have free wifi. If you are going to be in a place for a while, investigate a YMCA and what the rates are....showers and toilets.

When you go to bars, take a flask and just order whatever you want to mix it with. You'll go broke paying for drinks. Also, a platypus dedicated to bourbon will be essential for backcountry.

If you smoke cigarettes, get a pouch of Bugler and get accustomed to rolling your own.

You can never have too many/much tortillas, peanut butter, or salami. Beans are your friend. They are cheap, easy to prepare, and have loads of protein.

Best of luck and don't speed, because time is on your side.
From Birmingham, AL
Joined Sep 14, 2011
45 points
Feb 16, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: bouldering
JCM wrote:
If you say a bit more about what kind of climbing you are most interested in (alpine, trad, sport, boulders, etc.) and what level you are climbing at, I can make some suggestions as to places that will be in season, and where it is easy to find partners.

I climb Sport and Trad. Mostly single pitch, but can do multi pitch. 5.11 sport on a good day and 5.10 for trad
From springfield, Mo
Joined Dec 3, 2011
59 points
Feb 16, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: bouldering
Next question is how to set up a van to a camper van. Any thing you guys could tell me or show me what you have done and how you did it? Mike-R
From springfield, Mo
Joined Dec 3, 2011
59 points
Feb 17, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Best climbing pants EVER
Jon H
From Boulder
Joined Nov 24, 2009
133 points
Feb 17, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: alpine happiness.
check out YouTube, for Van living...lots of kats perfecting it and giving you the run down

  • don't pay for anything...learn where to sleep for free, incognito (National Forest, BLM, WalMart, industrial yards)
  • be as comfortable as possible...you're not camping, you're living out there...comfort will sustain your emotional faculties...rest...find leisure time
  • run...swim...stretch...slackline...do anything to keep endorphins and dopamine firing
  • as far as partners...always bring something to the table...offer to lead pitches...bring your own gear...your own rope...tell jokes...sing 'em songs...go with THEIR flow whatever it may be
  • no partners...learn how to setup a fixed line, so you can climb on self-belay if needs be
  • be invisible...take any identifying "dirtbag" stickers off of your vehicle...shave...stay as clean as possible...keep body odor to minimum (cologne or body spray helps)
((trust me...this can make the difference of some people's opinions...people are watching...and sometimes those people are authority figures or nosy locals that don't really understand dirtbags...a clean appearance and a low profile go a long way when on the fringe))
  • follow the seasons...and rush to nowhere...time and freedom are what make you a rich man, now...use them!
  • most basic setup i started with in a '99 Astro Van: Reliance Toilet Bucket...Full size futon mattress...couple coolers...rubbermaid bins for clothes and gear...
  • *futon mattresses are malleable, and can fit in most vans...then they can be rolled up and bungie'd up out of the way when not in use...you can also build a pretty simple wooden platform for them, with storage space underneath...if you get crafty, you can put a hinge in the platform so you can fold it up into a couch for daytime...your van will need to be modular, and this is how you'll spend your day -- living out of it.
  • *Reliance buckets are the way to go, if you don't have a black tank, and aren't planning to be at an RV camp with hookups...eventually you can build a wooden box around the bucket, so it's not so obvious...
  • *Coolers are great for food storage, with or without ice...occasionally, you'll want ice, and need coolers...occasionally, you'll have a rest day, a beautiful spot picked out for your camp chair, and will need a cooler to accompany you and your restful chair!
  • *Rubbermaid bins are great...they stack...they last...and they keep your clothes and gear separate from potential messes or becoming a mess...
  • *Organization is key: you're living in a space, smaller than most jail cells, but you have more stuff...make a system that works for you, and roll with it...beauty is: you have all the time in the world, to dial it in to perfection

  • stay warm...stay healthy...respond to your needs...say 'yes' to opportunities
  • smile...imagine...do it

I dirtbagged for about six years...have taken the last five years to be in one place, paying rent... but I will be happily rejoining the tribe soon!!! Freedom, ah, freedom!
nicholas patterson
Joined Aug 17, 2009
69 points

Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.

Email me.
Page 1 of 1.  

The Definitive
Climbing Resource

Inspiration & Motivation
to Fuel Your Run

Next Generation Mountain
Bike Trail Maps

Backcountry, Sidecountry
& Secret Stashes

Better Data. Better Tools.
Better Hikes!