A Conversation With A Camper For Non-Campers
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If you, like so many before you, are commandeered into the nightmare that is a camping trip than this is the list for you.
As much as you can love nature and escaping the struggles of everyday life that doesn’t mean you want to head into the disgusting woods with nothing but a thin tent to protect you. You, as a normal person think of a vacation as, “Hey, let’s go to a resort in Cancun and drink tequila out of a taco!”
I know when your friends are excitedly planning their “fun” camping trip outside in the cold and you feel like the odd one out because you are not excited and hates the outside and doing things in the outside, you can feel very lonely. But, as much as you feel alone, you are not! There are many people who, like you, hate camping. They too have friends, significant others and family members that love camping and they wrongfully coerce you into going with them.
As hard as it is to believe there are ways to enjoy camping when you, deep in your soul, despise everything about it. Now, I’m not saying you won’t experience bugs or outside or trees but you can make it more enjoyable and hopefully make you a more enjoyable companion for your weirdo camp loving friends.
Nasty Creepy Crawly Thingys
Let’s talk about bugs. Bugs are outside. Camping is also outside. One plus one equals two and you are now outside where the bugs are. Spiders, bees, mosquitoes, younger siblings, whatever is a pest to you may be out their lurking in the woods.
Creepy crawlies be out there in them woods! Despicable creatures out here behaving like they belong in the wild… well, now you’re outside with these delinquents and it is time to figure out how you should deal with them.
Mosquitoes are the pests that are the most annoying. They provide that small, high-pitched buzzing deep in your ear while you’re trying to sleep. It’s insane how that noise is both equally quiet like a whisper and loud like scream and it’s enough to drive anyone crazy. Here are some great tricks for deterring mosquitoes.
First things first–AVOID SMELLY TOILETRIES. Mosquitoes are attracted to smell and it’s best to use unscented lotions, shampoos and soaps (plus, in all-honesty, fragrances are terrible for you). Next, you can burn sage or coffee grounds near/around your campsite so that the bugs will be like, “EW” and fly to your neighboring campers. Do not be the neighboring camper, be the smart camper.
If your fear is spiders then grab some peppermint essential oil because you could watch a spider crawl up to you, spray peppermint oil in front of it and it will turn away just to avoid it. I know it’s hard to imagine when deep-down you know that all that eight-legged freak wants to do is crawl up your pant leg and lay its eggs anywhere and everywhere.
I know, I fear it too and I’m shivering just thinking about it.
Mice and rodents can also be an issue while you’re camping but just think of them as Mickey and Minnie and they instantly become less threatening. The best way to avoid mice is by pre-camping preparation. Make sure your camping buddies (because we all know you have no camping gear of your own) keeps their stuff clean and sealed as to avoid mice from ruining the party.
So Uncomfortable, So Get Comfortable!
One of the best ways to deter stress while you’re in an uncomfortable situation, like camping, is to eat comfort foods and dress in comfy clothes.
I’m talking about cuddling up by the fire with your sweatpants, a hoodie, a blanket, and some delicious food that bring you to your optimal level of comfort.
Now, food can obviously lead to overeating which is no good. But, one good thing about camping is that you have to ingest more calories than normal in order to survive. So I say, “screw i!” Eat that pizza, snack on all of the homemade cookies your friend who planned the entire thing baked, and eat everything you can see.
You are allowed to have a cheat day, so enjoy your cookies, Cheetos, Doritos and whatever else you can bring that won’t rot without a fridge!
When you get back home you can return to your kale and juice cleanse but, for now, you are going through something traumatic and you should be able to eat comfortably.
Speaking of being comfortable you should also bring the right gear so that you can sleep and sit comfortably with the book you brought to ignore the woods. You should bring a cot or an air-mattress, a high-end sleeping bag, extra blankets and if you are going to sleep on the ground then bring a mat. The ground is hard, cold and dirty so make sure you take the proper precautions to avoid insomnia. Earplugs are also great for blocking out any animal sounds or serial killer sounds as they creep by your tent.
This way, while you are camping against your will, you can escape it for several hours in your own comfortable sleeping spot.
Dirty by Christina Aguilera
I don’t know about you but when I think of that song I see Christina donning her stringy outfit, dancing seductively and singing powerfully–like she does. Unfortunately, that’s a very different kind of dirty.
When you’re out in the woods dirty means literal dirt. And I mean dirt everywhere. It’s on the ground, the rocks, the trees, your stuff and you. You have to wash everything when you get home and that’s annoying. What’s even more annoying is that there are no showers out in the woods.
Yes, you may be able to convince your “friends” to go to a campground that has showers but they’re most likely cold and you have to wear flip-flops so that you won’t get some type of fungal infection between your toes.
That already sounds awful. If it’s in the summer you can grab some biodegradable bathing products and bathe in a river or pond (but make sure it’s biodegradable so that you don’t compromise the lake).
Now, depending on the length of your trip your hygiene techniques will vary. You can grab some unscented baby wipes, unscented hand sanitizer, toothpaste and biodegradable soap. These products will help you stay clean, healthy, and you won’t harm the environment.
This next bit of advice might turn you against camping more than help to convince you that it will all be okay, but everything in the woods smells like dirt so it really is okay. You need to ditch the deodorant, the shampoo, non-biodegradable products, and any disposable products.
As I mentioned before scents attract bugs and the other products are straight-up terrible for the environment.
At the end of the day you’re going to end up giving yourself a sponge bath, diving into a body of water, or using your biodegradable soap and several liters of water.
But honestly, you’ll still feel dirty. Just less so!
You can only enjoy the outdoors for so long before you’re bored. I personally am a hiking fan, but only for so long! It is important that you bring some form of entertainment because when you’re entertained time flies by and then all of the sudden you’re home again!
Books are a great way to escape from the reality of camping (I know, I know, camping is supposed to be an escape from the real world but that’s why Netflix and Hulu exist. Go home and binge-watch Making a Murderer already)!
Without your charger or your WI-FI your options for entertainment are more limited, although not impossible. You could either buy a portable charger and download some Netflix shows onto your phone or tablet or just suck it up and go back to books. Books are amazing! Don’t deny it.
If you want to enjoy the company of the companions who dragged you into the middle of nowhere then be the bringer of games!
You could bring cards, board games, alcohol, or beach games (like corn hole, horseshoes, or a football).
That way you can suck everyone into a game night instead of suffering on your own while everyones jaunty happiness just annoys you.
If you’re musically inclined then bring your instrument so that you can sing “She F***** Hates Me” by Puddle of Mudd and discreetly make it about the friend that dragged you on this trip.
Or you can be a team-player and play whatever. Have a sing-along! As long as you’re enjoying yourself you’ll be home before you know it.
You may even find yourself enjoying camping… although I doubt it.
No matter what, at the end of the day you’ve been commandeered into camping with your “friends” and instead of declaring that you need new friends, which is a huge project to be honest, you can suck-it-up and bring some equipment to make the trip more survivable.
What Kind Of Camper Are You?Outdoor Survival
feature image credit: Photo by Jelle Canipel on Reshot