I once watched the show “Hoarders,” but only because I thought it was a documentary about a person preparing for a modern camping trip. Of course, I knew I was mistaken after the first five minutes. That person didn’t even come close to having enough gear.
I know. New campers are horrified by the thought of complicating a simple camping trip with too much gear. And some of them truly think that this is not something they will ever do. They actually think that they will “rough it” and “travel light” and “be one with nature” for the rest of their lives. Rookies!
Fortunately, all that goes out the window by the time they have recovered from their first camping trip – if they haven’t blocked it out entirely. If not, the mere mention of “sleeping under the stars” will cause violent, nervous twitches, and any time the new camper hears the distant buzz of mosquitoes, they will begin to laugh maniacally and start swatting at thin air. Plus, they are always watching for rain clouds and listening for thunder.
Which is why they enter their second season with a more pragmatic attitude,
That’s when the average new camper takes stock and remembers all the things he or she didn’t have on the first trip – like fun, hope, or dry clothes. And also, the little things, like a reliable camp stove and a tent that is roomy enough and mosquito-proof. And sleeping bags that are warm. And an inflatable ground mattress and ground sheet. And perhaps a proper set of camp cookware and a cooler. Oh, and a good lantern and maybe a cell phone charger. Plus, some sort of mosquito repelling unit. And bear spray. Yes, definitely, bear spray. And a flashlight that isn’t so dim, plus a hatchet or collapsible saw. And a first-aid kit, a water purification unit,and a bigger backpack to carry it all in. And, you know, a canoe would be nice, too. Along with paddles, personal floatation devices, and a safe boating kit. Or just a jet ski. I mean, how else are you going to commune with nature?
That’s how it begins. And from here on in, camping becomes a race to purchase the kind of gear that makes “roughing it” a little easier. OK, a lot easier.
Before long the new camper has enough camping gear to outfit an expedition to Mount Everest, if they could just find enough Sherpas to carry it all. Since they can’t find these, they invest in a larger vehicle – something that can tow a little tent trailer and cartop a canoe. And fit a generator or two in the back.
This allows them to drive to campsites and take a little more “camping gear” along. You know, things like a camping beer fridge just like grandpa used to have. Add to that, camping chairs and tables and an overhead awning and mosquito tent. This is generally placed not too far from the barbecue and radio, which can help you commune with nature by listening to the ball game.
And, while we are on the topic of baseball, would a big-screen TV hurt? I mean it is still technically roughing it if you don’t have Netflix, right?
Well, yes it is. So long as you don’t make smores in the microwave.