This is a pretty primitive campground, great for coming in, parking, setting up and spending one night. There are very few amenities at this place: just a few fire rings (note fire bans), no potable water, pit toilets and no tables. On the good side there are no camper fees and only a $5 car fee.
Offers an entry to some great hikes/ runs. on St Helens.
The Climbers Bivouac Campground is at the foot of the summer summit trailhead for Mt. St. Helens and predominately used for one night stays by summit hikers. Our group of nine spent the night here before our St Helens summit hike and I used the opportunity to test out 3 different Leatherman knives that I purchased with the $100 Leatherman gift card that I won in the Oregon summer camping contest.
All sites at Campers Bivouac are first come and there is no charge for camping. On the summer weekends you'll want to arrive by 3-4pm if you've got a big group and want to camp together.
At first glance the campground isn't very interesting at all--it's basically a trailhead parking lot with sites around and a few fire pits. Most groups seem to vie for the spots closest to the parking lot so they can pack in and out quickly (since the main feature is getting on the trail quickly in the morning). We opted to explore down some of the trails and found some much more interesting non-parking lot camping options with great hammocking trees and a much better site to hang out in for the evening.
There are pit toilets (that are busy in the morning when everyone is heading to the trail) and there is NO running water. Make sure you pack in enough water for all of your camping needs as well as for your climb the next day (3-4 liters per person minimum). The closest town is 15 miles of mountain road away.
Camping here is free-but you will need a NW Forest Pass, NP interagency pass, or 5$. To climb St Helens above the treeline you need a permit from the Mt St Helens Institute (these go on sale Feb 1 each year and sell out quickly)
Camping here for the night before the summit hike is highly recommended.
The Crater and the Skeletool are both single blade knives, while the the Juice is a multi-tool.
Here's how I used my different Leatherman knives and what I loved about camping (and hiking) with them:
- The Juice C2 multi-tool came in super handy at the campground with its 12 different tools- especially at dinner time with the wine opener and the can opener --because these are always 2 things I forget to pack.
- This is silly, but I love that the Juice C2 is Yellow. Both other knives are black and disappear into my gear. (I also got it monogrammed so my camping friends can't steal it because it is so awesome).
- The Crater c33x mostly got used in the kitchen too, and a little bit for carving up some kindling for our cooking fire. The mix of the serated and straight blades were great for chopping up dinner ingredients -- they are awesomely sharp! (The only con was that I accidentally cut a hole in my Icebreaker shirt when I threw the knife down on it without closing it first!)
- I love that the Skeletool is small and powerful with a super sharp straight blade. I tested this one out by carving pointy roasting sticks for marshmallows. This was also the knife that I chose to bring on the trail as part of my emergency kit because it was so small and lightweight (yet powerful). Thankfully there were no emergencies on the trail that required me to cut anything or use my Leatherman to save my life--but if you're wondering why carrying a knife in your kit is important you can read Leathermans Tool Tales of people who've actually had to use theirs in emergencies
- I was able to buy all three of these knives for under $100 (which was the amount of the gift card I won). This surprised me because I always have bought knock off multi-tools in the past because I had assumed that a Leatherman was much more expensive.
I probably won't carry all 3 of my Leatherman on every trip, but I'll definitely be keeping one in my emergency kit and one in my car, and one with my camp gear for the future!