Saturday, April 13, 2013

I'm sorry. You want me to sleep where?

When I was a kid my parents decided to join a camping club. On the weekends during the summer and early fall, we would pack up and head to a campground. They were big woodsy places, usually on Cape Cod or in Connecticut, with a clubhouse with a pool at the top of the Hill and a few random bathhouses strategically placed around the grounds. Invariably, there was a lake and a small, sad playground.

During the day, we kids would play in the woods or down at the lake. In the evenings there were often games at the clubhouses or late night swims at the pool. Late night went until about 9:00 PM. At the campsite, we would build a fire. By we, I mean my parents and whichever of the other campers were our weekend friends.

For some reason, even after my parents purchased a camper, the kids (myself, my sister, and two brothers) had to sleep in tents. Mom said something about not wanting to track dirt into the camper. There were rules about the camper. (They usually involved not being allowed to go into it and pretending that there wasn't a toilet in it.)

From Glamping Hub
I hated camping. There were bugs, spiders, wildlife, spiders, possible serial killers, and spiders in those woods. When it was time for bed, I wished I could sleep, but nature was too close. I was eleven when we started camping - practically and adult! - I knew that canvas wasn't keeping bears out! We never actually camped in bear country, but it wouldn't keep anything else out that wanted in. My point stands.

I still dislike the idea of camping and avoid actually doing it whenever possible. Even though it seems more appealing, I do not understand glamping. However, I have to admit, I learned some valuable survival skills during those summers of boredom and bugs.


I learned how to build a camp fire by watching then later, when I was Old Enough, helping to build them. Of course, I had read books and seen films in which fires were built. But, trying and failing and failing and getting angry and failing but eventually working it out and getting the stupid logs to catch actually taught me how to get a fire going.

I also learned to respect the fire. While it's technically not alive, fire may as well be. It consumes and leaves waste. It needs to breathe. If it sees an opportunity to move and grow, it will take it.


Pitching tents is a huge pain in the ass. There are poles and lots of canvas and the assumption that everyone who buys a tent knows how to put it up. Unless you have put up a tent repeatedly, you do not know how to pitch a tent. 

Camping is good practice for this because you will keep trying until you get it right or sleep outside with the spiders and bugs and spiders and bears and spiders. Nature will climb over you and taste you while you sleep unless you pitch your tent, sleep in it, and remember to zip the door.

Personally, I cannot wait for the tents from cartoons where they put a little box on the ground, press a button, and it sets up itself. Come on Science, get on it!


Catching dinner is a big part of the camping experience. Dad always went fishing to get away from whatever shenanigans we kids were getting up to at the campsite. He claimed it cleared his head. I always found it incredibly dull. 

Well, the waiting bit was dull. The part where I caught a fish, reeled it in, removed it from the hook, and let it go was exciting. We usually let the fish go since we had food at the campsite and didn't actually have to catch our dinner. However, we got loads of practice. 

Occasionally, we would bring the fish back to the site, kill them, and prepare them. I didn't care for this, but even then I thought it was something I should learn.

What have you learned from camping? Let us know in the comments!

Follow me on Twitter: @Anypocalypse

Suggest a topic!

No comments:

Post a Comment