It’s dirty, hard work and the snoring from the next tent over is enough to keep the whole field awake, so if camping is so tough, why do we enjoy it so much?
Camping is tough. Full stop. Yet, despite the fact that campers will go out of their way to drive six, seven, eight or more hours to find the perfect camping spot in a wet field filled with other campers trying to escape from the real world, we keep coming back for more.
Why do we go through all the trouble of researching a potential field or wooded area where we can pitch up for the night? Why do we insist and persist of sleeping in a thinly-made shelter designed to keep most of the elements out when we could be snuggling up to our pillows wearing our warmest socks and drinking a cup of tea?
There are times when I discover that maybe I should have aired out my tent better on the last trip, or I find something in the tent pockets I thought I lost forever. But despite these minor issues, I always get excited about the prospect of another camping trip and the idea of putting my tent up somewhere new.
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Learning through doing
It’s funny, but every time I arrive at a campsite there is always the quick glance around the field to see what other tents people are using, which also acts as the perfect opportunity to see what new tent I can add to my collection.
There are those campers who obviously camp quite a bit and bring everything with them from the compact stove, to the folding chairs, to the all-important mallet. Then there are the other type of campers who have bought a brand spanking new tent, but clearly didn’t do the obligatory test-run of setting up their tent at home.
And yet despite all this, it’s easy to forget that setting up our tents is actually the fun bit of camping.
Over the years camping has gone through being fashionable, unfashionable and fashionable again. What with an array of weekend camping festivals where you can purchase a cheap tent or more luxurious camping retreats available, camping has become an activity that is something everyone can do.
Maybe it’s the fact that camping is a way of escaping from our everyday lives and retreating back to the basics and simplicities of life. All of a sudden, getting the compact cooking stove to function so you can brew yourself a cup of tea has turned into an adventure that must be conquered.
Tricks of the trade
The biggest challenge and, therefore more rewarding, is building the perfect campfire. It may take a while, and you may get frustrated along the way, but when it finally gets going you can’t help thinking this is what Bear Grylls must feel like every time he goes into the wilderness.
Of course, there’s nothing better than sitting around a campfire with a glass of wine or a can of beer meeting new people. A bit of singing might be thrown in, usually off-key, but with a mix of alcohol, good spirits and fresh air it seems to be the perfect combination for a bunch of people who’ve never met to sing cheesy songs together.
The following morning can often be a slow start and as the sun rises the inside of the tent becomes hot and humid, forcing us out to start the breaking down of the tent. Those eager to stay prolong their packing time while others make great haste to get back to their comfortable lifestyle and a proper bed.
For me, though, camping is all about making the most of our outdoor areas and using them as best as we can. Camping might not be for everyone, but I can’t image a more enjoyable diversion from our everyday lives.
Right, when is our next camping trip?