I am no longer cut out for camping

With the long weekend fast approaching I am fighting a battle with my delusional husband. He wants to go camping. I said, we went once already, isn't that enough? I guess he enjoys torture.

We have been married a little over a year now and last summer we decided to go camping for the first time together. He is an avid camper and loves the outdoors. One of his dreams is to set off in the bush with a knife and a buttflap, I'll save that for my own birthday one year. I used to love camping but I think that age has something to do with my falling out of love with this great Canadian pass time.

My issues with camping are few, but quite large battles to fight and they all appeared in my first (and hopefully last) time camping with my husband.

We went to a ditch of a lake outside of our city, not too far of a drive but far enough that (issue #1) we had to pack the entire kitchen, and I still missed some important utensils. Camping is supposed to be this cheap and easy get-away, but it's not. You have to pack the entire kitchen, but not the kitchen that you ever want to use in your home again because everything comes home smelling like fire and black as pitch. It takes almost a whole year to return utensils to normal before you go out an do it again. And there is always that one thing that you forget from your kitchen, for us that year it was a spatula to flip things with. We went through an ungodly amount of tin foil, if there are any racoons reading this, I am sorry.

On top of packing your whole kitchen you have to spend (issue #2) an absurd amount of money on food. I think we were gone for three days and we spent nearly $200 on groceries. That is what we normally spend in two to three weeks around the house. I think it's the thought of roughing it that brings out my inner foodie, I imagine that food will taste much better over an open fire... don't worry I will get to that soon enough.

I can admit that I'm a bit of a princess, but even a commoner (issue #3) needs a pillow and a level grond to sleep on. I forgot to pack a pillow and sleeping mats. Perhaps I subconsciously forgot my pillow on purpose since I didn't want it to come home smelling of soot for months. My hair acts like a sponge for smoke and pillows seem to absorb a lot of that smoke. Anyway, I forgot the pillows, and we used an extra sleeping bag as a mattress. May I remind you that sleeping bags are made of satin? Yeah, not so great to layer on top of each other.

I also forgot my eye mask. An aside: I started wearing an eye mask a few years ago when I was too cheap to buy curtains for my apartment windows (I was on the 14th floor, no one could see in since the nearest high-rise was only 3 stories) and it has become a bit of a security blanket. So on top of sleeping with no pillow on hard satiny slippery ground, I forgot my eye mask. Our 'pillows' were rolled up sweatshirts and I pulled the sleeve over my face but I woke up at 4:30 in the morning  (issue #4) sweating like I was in a Swedish sauna, with the birds chirping beside my head because (issue #5) a tent is literally paper thin. I laid there sweating, and uncomfortable (issue #6) because of the lumpy ground, exhausted from too much (issue #7) smoke inhalation while cooking supper, and completely distraught since the only way to fall back to sleep at 5 in the morning was to pull a sweatshirt over my head.

We finally rolled, no crawled, out of bed and on to the dewy grass at around 7 am because (issue #8) the neighbour kids were doing their laps around the campground on their bikes and ringing their bells. Again, tents aren't exactly soundproof. Their parents were all comfortable in their campers with air conditioners, running water, electricity, and oh yeah, mattresses!

Where we live camp sites are (issue #9) booked solid in January. I think people are just so sick of the snow that they start planning summer right after Christmas so that they don't die of seasonal depression. My husband and I had the only camping site left, in the over flow, in the middle of nothing. We didn't have a speck of shade because there were no trees anywhere near our camp site. And as it happened, it was one of the hottest days of the summer. We ate a hot noodle lunch, because even though I bought out the grocery store of food, I had a meal plan to follow. The sun could have cooked our lunch for us. In our search for shade we ended up draping towels over our head to get out of the sun. We didn't know which was worse, fry under the sun or enjoy a mini sweat lodge under our terry cloth protective covers.

We enjoyed paddle boarding around the lake, but (issue #10) couldn't swim in the lake because it was gangrenous by that time in the year. We finally found shade at the beach and had a nap there to make up for our sleep deprivation.

Later on we cooked supper (issue #11) over an open fire, which means that half of your food is burnt and the other half is still frozen. Because (issue #12) you have to freeze everything before you go camping to ensure that you don't die of food poisoning.

As we were finishing supper we noticed that the sky had turned an ominous shade of purple. I'm ok with rain; however, my husband equates being wet when you aren't in a shower or in a bathing suit with death. I think he would rather get beaten than dry off and have a pail of water thrown at him.

It started (issue #13) to rain, and I'm sure you are thinking, no big deal, they're savvy campers, they had tarps under their tent, they went prepared. We did. Except it was the most colossal camping downpour I've ever experienced in a matter of 30 minutes. We barely made it into the tent. Once there, we thought we'd try to make the best of this ordeal and play banangrams, but games with tiles (issue #14) don't work on floors made out of blankets. While attempting to distract ourselves, out of the corner of my eye I saw that my dad's (issue #15) "waterproof" tent started to drip and I worried that we might get washed right into the lake. And then my husband jumped as high as one can jump in a tent. I thought that something bit him since he also screamed. The rain had made its way between the tent and the tarp, soaked the waterproof tent floor, through the sleeping bag we used as a mattress, through both sides of his sleeping bag, and ultimately through his shorts.

The rain let up, but he had had enough and was fed up. I tried to be a good sport and encourage him, but the sky told me that it was turning around for a second coming. He got on the phone and started calling for hotel rooms in a nearby city. The nearest city was our home city, but neither of us wanted to admit that we were total wusses to our families so we went to the next closest city that had a spa. We packed up, and by pack up I mean (issue #16) throw everything haphazardly into the car, jamming it down so that it would fit. But all of our stuff barely did fit because we had to (issue #17) be meticulously organized on the way out in order to get the entire kitchen in a little sedan. Time was of the essence since it was about to rain again so we threw things in the car as though we were robbing the camp site of our own belongings. We drove off in a horrific rain storm to a king size bed in a room with a jacuzzi tub. That was a heavenly sleep.

In the morning we had to drive home in a car that (issue #18) smelled like the inside of a well done hot dog. Upon our return, even though everything was cleaned and washed at the campsite, (issue #19) we had to rewash absolutely everything and air it all out, and for good smoke-free measure (issue #20) wash it again.

And he turned to me tonight and said, "Are you for real that you don't want to camp anymore?"
I just smiled and replied, "I'll camp once we have a cottage."

That's all.


  1. Because we were without an income for a couple of years starting Souls Harbour in Halifax, we had to revert to our favourite newlywed holiday called camping.

    Except that it's 20 years later and we were both like, "I think there's an age limit on camping. We're too old for this." We ended up doing brunch a lot at a local diner. That helped!

    And being in the Maritimes (and a campground close to home) meant we could go home in case of bad rain, and then come back and pack up when it was dry. You really do need practice camping, and an entire set of gear that can be packed in 1 or 2 little boxes.

    Seriously, if you want some advice, I can set you up, because we're kind of experts.

    Here's a few fun little tips to get you started:

    1. Grab a rotisserie chicken on the way out of town, along with a salad or veggies and dip, from your local grocery store. This can be your first meal, either before or after set up, and the veggies don't need overnight refrigeration, so you save your cooler space!

    2. Never camp in the Prairies in June. Or the Maritimes.

    3. No Banagrams!

    4. Don't forget your can opener(issue#21) if you plan to eat a lot of canned goods that require no refrigeration. A big spoon and long handled flipper are also helpful.

    5. Disposable EVERYTHING is a real treat, and still cheaper than a cabin.

    6. Buy semi-disposable items at a thrift store so you don't have to worry if they get ruined.

    7. Rubbing dishsoap on pot bottoms, and keeping camping pots in plastic bags for storage, help de-blackify (issue#22) them. But honestly, I've given up caring how sooty they get.

    This post was a hoot. Keep on writing and sharing your stories. They crack me up!


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