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What is appropriate behavior for a small group (1-4 people) choosing camps, especially layovers? I always error on the side of tiny marginal camps, but part of me feels like I should be able to snag a cushy site now and again.

My wife and I catch an unbelievable amount of crap passing groups on quick 1 boat Rogue trips. I have been reported in places where runners aren’t allowed. Despite explaining politely, other boaters rarely believe that we are not out ahead of our group.

Thanks for any advice!
 

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One boat trips are rare, so it's understandable why people would think you're a runner. That being said, if you are alone, and you find a campsite, you should be able to take the one you want. As far as courtesy goes, I personally would not take a huge campsite if it's just 1-4 people. I'd take one that was appropriate for our size. But, I also wouldn't feel bad for choosing a site that I enjoy. Curious to hear other people's thoughts.
 

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I've raced a few guys for camps. It can be a fun way to engage with other groups, especially when you have people cheering you on. As you disappear around the bend, the suspense grows. Eventually the parties get down to the camp to find you both parked and the suspense grows even more! Who got there first?!?

That's when you spin up a story about inconclusive arm wrestling and bartering your buddy's spare oar for the camp.

But in all seriousness, I base camp choices out of consideration for others. Every situation is unique, and at the end of the trip I may have missed a great camp leaving it for another group, but I know I'm not a jerk. Because what happens in the canyon stays in the canyon but character goes home with you.
 

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I have shared camps with other groups who showed up late in the evening. We all knew that they had probably missed their chance at a camp back upriver, but had bypassed it for whatever reason. I have been really tolerant of this when the weather is bad or when the sun is setting, or if the group is experiencing some sort of problem. Once we let a group of young, ill equipped and inexperienced boaters join us late at night. Many of them were water-logged and shivering from the slight rain, some where obviously not enjoying whatever drug cocktail they were on, and their TL did the right thing. He only landed his boat on the beach while the other were eddied out. He approached and ASKED if we could share the camp. The beach was large and extended far inland up a wash, so they got to hike their gear up a ways while we kept the waterfront property. I was a bit uncomfortable at first, but it turned out alright. They had a lot to learn and we had the experience to share including a large BOCCE ball game. Our fire-pan was already lit, so that proved clutch for some of the soggy ones while their camp was getting established. We had some good conversations about the importance of always wearing PFD's etc, and swapped some fun stories about our day on the river. Most of them kept to themselves and kept the noise down so they weren't very intrusive on our group. It just reinforced to me that the river is big enough for many of us. And that being flexible, generous, helpful and laid back are big parts of what being on the river is all about anyways. We all know the river rules, that the first one at the camp owns it for the night, but sometimes it's ok to let others share.
 

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On rivers as busy as the Rogue, groups should utilize camps that are appropriate for their group size. For me, that aligns with the idea of getting a "cushy" camp - my favorite camps on the Rogue are the smaller ones that most medium to large sized groups would not consider.
 

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I do a lot of 1 boat trips all over the west and generally always take smaller camps just because you can and honestly they are really cool and not as beaten by the masses. So less garbage, bees, etc. But yeah if it's late October and nobody is around and it's 5pm I have no problem snagging what is open no matter what size.
 

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I do a lot of 1 boat trips all over the west and generally always take smaller camps just because you can and honestly they are really cool and not as beaten by the masses. So less garbage, bees, etc. But yeah if it's late October and nobody is around and it's 5pm I have no problem snagging what is open no matter what size.
This right here^^^. I like to be considerate of other, larger groups, like less-used small sites, and occasionally on the offseason will treat myself or small group to large sites. And if a big group were to come in, they'd be welcome.
 

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I do a lot of 1 boat trips all over the west and generally always take smaller camps just because you can and honestly they are really cool and not as beaten by the masses. So less garbage, bees, etc. But yeah if it's late October and nobody is around and it's 5pm I have no problem snagging what is open no matter what size.
Me to on one boat trips. In many ways my favorite trips. Usually involves layovers and lots of fishing. I look for shady, small, clean, grassy, camps first with fish nearby, never large camps.
This right here^^^. I like to be considerate of other, larger groups, like less-used small sites, and occasionally on the offseason will treat myself or small group to large sites. And if a big group were to come in, they'd be welcome.
I have offered to share, but never been taken up on the offer. On the Rogue and the Snake at lot of commercials send out runners, so that explains the OP's issues on the Rogue.
 

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On rivers as busy as the Rogue, groups should utilize camps that are appropriate for their group size.
How busy is the river? How late in the day is it? These are the variables i consider when faced with this decision.
I do a lot of 1 boat trips all over the west and generally always take smaller camps just because you can and honestly they are really cool and not as beaten by the masses. So less garbage, bees, etc. But yeah if it's late October and nobody is around and it's 5pm I have no problem snagging what is open no matter what size.
I would fully agree with all these responses.

And this is a great argument for going in the off-season to get those primo camps all to yourself and never get stink-eye for it.
 

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How about actually talking with others you meet at the ramp or on the river and working out a camping plan that could work for both.
A friend of mine canoes solo down Ruby/Horsethief without a reservation for established camp sites. He knows some great sites and can pull his boat out of the water and tuck it out of sight. Not as easy with big boats though.
 

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A friend of mine canoes solo down Ruby/Horsethief without a reservation for established camp sites. He knows some great sites and can pull his boat out of the water and tuck it out of sight. Another AHOLE poaching the rivers which has caused most the new PITA rules. Hope he gets caught and is banned from the river.
 

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Agree with Will Volpert (but always do!)and the post from Willie 1.5. If it is July, full load of permits issued, plenty of large groups on the river, why take a huge camp if you are 1-4 people? Late Oct. is different matter. I have been on the river late after a great hike and come down to a large, empty camp...yeah, maybe I take it. Large camps mean lots of use, bees, possible tp surprises. I have done plenty of 1 boat trips and just mind my own bizz and maybe find a small place near a hotspring camp on the Owyhee, for instance, where I am not taking a large camp but get to use the camp's sweet feature. I have run sprint boat for many years commercially, and sorry about that folks, but I gotta get camp for twenty people tonight. Just hoping the permit system keeps the numbers down to a managable level, and we all get a great camp.
 

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We (family of 4) did a lot of trips on Deschutes,John day, and Grand Ronde, and, we took any site we could find that roughly matched our plan for miles per day. Competition fir sites is fierce, and we would get up early and get after it. If we had space, would always wave people in if late in the day, bad weather, or especially if they had young kids. No apologies here- if you wanted the camp we git, you just had to get up earlier.
 

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We generally raft calmer waters (Ruby, San Juan etc.) with a few family boats but whenever it's anything with class III or above, it's just us (me, wife, 3 youngish -12, 10, 9 - kids) in one raft and maybe an IK (likely to change that this year by opening up to other groups hopping on with our permits). We haven't ever gotten any crap about sites, possibly because of having kids with us - which are a natural deterrent maybe? We generally just take the site we want if we get to it first and are happy to share if other groups need a spot to land - we've all been there.... So far have had no problems and joining groups have either kept to themselves or are somewhat more social, which we've enjoyed. Biggest part of it is first impressions when either you or they are pulling in to be welcoming. Am sure there are nightmares situations that have happened, but we've been fortunate so far. Maybe drag a couple of kids with you to give out a family vibe....
 

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My wife and I catch an unbelievable amount of crap passing groups on quick 1 boat Rogue trips. I have been reported in places where runners aren’t allowed. Despite explaining politely, other boaters rarely believe that we are not out ahead of our group.

Thanks for any advice!
Why would you catch crap on the Rogue? Rabbits are SOP on the Rogue.
 

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I think a lot of the campsite drama is the result of a per-person quota. More, smaller groups. I LOVE this system. I realize the coastal forest is more resilient than a desert environment though and probably not a good idea to try system all over.
 

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Why would you catch crap on the Rogue? Rabbits are SOP on the Rogue.
It's not just SOP, it's condoned and almost encouraged. The ranger gives you two copies of the permit. You are allowed to split up your group into two pods as long as each pod (or boat) has a copy of the permit. It is kind of a drag, but it is what it is.

The nice part about small groups on the Rogue is there are small camps that can't be used by large groups. The bad part is that as more and more people start doing smaller trips, those camps start to get grabbed up more often, too.

I remember years ago we had a medium sized group (like six or eight people). We really wanted Horseshoe. Some of our group was gung-ho to get on the water super early to try to score it. Others figured, either we'll get it or not. Well, we got to upper Horseshoe and pulled out to check. Upper Horseshoe wasn't taken, and it would fit our schedule even it it wasn't as sweet a camp. Well, easier to unload, but whatever. Horseshoe was occupied. So we took upper. I went to chat with the group at Horseshoe just to make sure we wouldn't be imposing on them by taking upper. Of course not! Turns out, they had done a layover. No matter how early we had got there, it would have been taken. We asked if they'd be so kind as to come tell us when they were vacating. They did. We moved camp across the bar to Horseshoe for OUR layover, and then moved the boats down.

I think it was two years ago; maybe three. We had been taking our time. Small group of four or six. I think four. We kept finding really sweet little camps, but weren't making miles. Well... the whole river is only 35, so no real need. I think we were camped at Little Windy or Jenny. I told the group NOT to let me look at Horseshoe as we went by because if it was open, we were going to camp. Fortunately, it was taken.

I think it was the same trip. I think it was the same DAY. We had decided that we should get at least as far as Winkle Bar before even looking for a camp. Well, I saw this sweet little hidden spot that looked perfect for a group of four. We checked it out. It had a swim beach. It had easy unloading. It had shade. It has sun. It had space for tents or cots. What was it missing? Well, it was hardly very far from where we had just left. Later, I think as the cooks were making supper, I checked the map and realized we went like 1.7 miles that day.

I love the Rogue.

Got skunked on permits again in the lottery. I will try to pick up a cancellation. I turned one back in last year becaue of COVID. Probably a reasonably good idea, but I sure miss the place.
 
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