Friends of mine have already started planning camping trips for the summer. I see the number of camping invites is increasing as the summer months come closer and it forces me to reminisce about my past camping experiences and once again remind myself why I hate camping.
First of all, I have a home and that home has a bed, a bathroom with running water, and a fair amount of light, electrical outlets and other “electrical” type items. For all of this (and many other reasons), I consider myself civilized. Yes, that’s right, I do not live in a cave and hike 12 miles to work. I do not wash in a river and sleep under a tree. I have never been “uncivilized” so I don’t have the nostalgia or warm memories of when I used to forage for food and build a fire using two sticks.
I once went on a camping trip with my family and our family friends. This camping trip took place in Utah and came with a fair amount of marketing materials as a precursor to the magical event. All of the marketing materials sold this camping experience as “5 star”. Welcome to Gourmet Camping where your tents are assembled for you, your meals are prepared for you, and every aspect of the experience is taken care of. I was skeptical but figured it couldn’t be that bad. Everything would be done for me, I just had to enjoy the scenery and probably wash in a river, but I could live with that for 5 days.
A few details seemed to be left out of the marketing materials. They failed to mention the part where you shit in a can and carry it with you for the remainder of the trip. “Leave no trace” means bring all your traces with you, even if your gourmet meals cause volatile diarrhea. I did not realize that the smiling people in the camping brochure were in fact Mormons and they were our guides. None of the pictures showed Mormons quietly judging you and your group’s alcohol consumption. No one said anything about a talent show with your guides. In case anyone was wondering, Mormon camping guides do not recognize doing 3 shots of Jameson in 30 seconds as a talent. Needless to say, I hated that camping experience and I also had to face the fact that on top of everything, I’m not cut out for any shows that require me to be talented. Camping fail.
The only other time I went camping, my man did all the work and preparation in an attempt to show me how wonderful camping really could be. Bless his heart for trying. He even made peach cobbler in a cast iron pot over the camp fire. It was good. I’ll tell you what’s better though, a peach cobbler out of a god damn stove in your own kitchen. There, you can amazingly control the temperature, and the baking dish goes in your dishwasher at the end of the meal. We had an air mattress and sleeping bags. I always hear tell of people that love sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag. They speak of how comfortably they sleep. I don’t understand this. When did hard, rocky, uneven ground become comfortable? I personally sleep comfortably at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton. Not only is that bed extremely comfortable, but you receive a warm cookie as an added bonus. That cookie is not baked for you over a fire pit so it doesn’t have a bonus smoky flavor.
Back to the aforementioned trip…I had the fortune of sharing my camping experience with a pyromaniac. It seems to be a requirement for all camping groups. There must be at least one person who can’t control himself and will constantly fuck with the fire. What is it with this guy that has to incessantly move logs around in the fire and throw beer or lighter fluid about for added dramatics? Has anyone ever been on a camping trip with a group of people where there wasn’t a self-proclaimed camping pyrotechnician? I didn’t think so. Please, leave the fire alone because when you flip the log one too many times and it falls out of the fire pit and onto my nearby blanket, I don’t jump from my blanket and scream “I LOVE camping!”
Other than the pyromaniac, the cold, the smoky flavored food, the uneven ground, the carrying of my feces with me wherever I go, peeing in the wilderness, bugs, dirt, rain and sandstorms have all also contributed to my hatred of camping. I can drink beer with my friends in my house or on my back porch, I can experience wilderness outside a cabin or on a day trip to a national forest. I do not need nor understand the need to actually live without things that our forefathers fought so hard to discover and perfect. I love electricity, plumbing, gas, air conditioning, automobiles and most importantly mattresses and box springs. Please stop denying me of civilization and convincing me that it will be fun. It will not be and I will hate it. Unless your camping invites references nights spent at the Doubletree Hotel, you can count me out. I HATE camping.
– Emily Lund