Yesterday turned out to be one of those days where we look around at the end of it and say, “… and let us never speak of it again.” Nothing horrible, really, just not a good day in terms of patience and kindness to your fellow family members. It turns out that sometimes absence DOES make the heart grow fonder, especially if you’re talking about escaping a small box by taking a walk for a while. So.
Accordingly, then, rather than regaling you with more tales of our exploits, I thought there’s been so much general interest in camping that I might help some of the on-the-fence amongst you decide if camping is right for your family. You know, because I’m an expert. Or I play one on the Internet. Or something. I forget.
Really, there are just a few key things you need to ask yourself if you’re considering taking your family camping. And—as usual—I’m here to help. Don’t be scared.
Do you enjoy sleeping under the stars, and by “under the stars” I mean “with nothing but nylon separating you from the wild, in extreme temperatures, and possibly being eaten by bears?”
If the answer is yes, you’re probably ready to go camping in a tent. Also, I think you’re nuts, but whatever.
If the answer is no, don’t worry! Camping may still be right for you! Keep going.
Has it always been your desire to either tow a small room around OR spend your kids’ inheritance on a house-on-wheels?
If the answer is yes, congratulations! You should go shopping for a camper. Spend accordingly: If you are like me you should feel free to calculate out the cost of the average hotel room and meals vs. the average campground fee and after some fancy math arrive at the amount of money you can spend on a small camper (preferably a bank repossession, because, you know, BARGAIN). But if you’re independently wealthy and can justify skipping braces and college for the kids, feel free to go straight for the motor home.
If the answer is no, you may be interested in renting a camper for a trip. Be advised, however, that rentable rigs generally say WOOHOO RENT A CAMPER ACROSS AMERICA YEEHA 1-800-CAMPER-RENTAL or somesuch on the sides, which is the campground equivalent of an I’M A NOOB, KICK ME sign on your back. Just sayin’.
Do you enjoy miniatures?
If yes, camping in a trailer is right up your alley! You’ll enjoy a miniature kitchen, a wee dear little stove, and a tiny fridge where that infernal stick of butter is always hiding behind the beer. Don’t forget about the bathroom too small to turn around in, either. It’s all simply adorable.
If no, don’t worry! You can either buy a giant rig where your kitchen is actually kitchen-sized, or you can eat out all the time and use the campground facilities. See? Problem solved!
Is someone in your family incredibly handy?
If yes, perfect. It’s always good to have someone with a bit of fix-it know-how along, so that when random things go wrong, it’s not a disaster. Say, for example, that you turned on the little exhaust fan in the bathroom and the blades whirred to life and then EXPLODED. Sounds crazy, right? It happened! Yesterday!! Otto ran over to Camping World and purchased a replacement, and he actually knows what to do with it. Me, I stood in the bathroom looking up at the blade shards sitting there on the screen and said, “Holy crap.” (Not actually all that helpful, in case you were wondering.)
If no, well then you now have the perfect excuse to find yourself a “handyman.” I put it in quotes because personal interpretations may vary and there’s probably not anything wrong with that. I mean, I understand that not everyone has an Otto.
Do you have a dog or three?
If yes, you are totally ready to go camping. Cat people are not allowed to camp. (Kidding! You are allowed to camp, but don’t bring your cats. They are perfectly happy hating you from home, no need to bring them along.) Here’s a handy guide to dogs and camping:
If you own…
1 or 2 really big dogs: Camp in a tent.
1 or 2 little dogs: Camp in a modest trailer.
3 little dogs OR 2 medium dogs OR 1 big dog and 2 little dogs: Camp in a giant motor home.
4 or more dogs of any size: You live in a permanently parked trailer in the campground.
If you don’t own any dogs, don’t worry! You can still go camping and glare at all the dog people at the campground. In fact, the glaring will probably take up most of your time, saving you the trouble of finding things to do.
Do you own any number of family board and card games that make you want to chew off your own face to escape them?
If yes, hooray! Every night is family game night when you’re camping! Feigning your own death to escape is generally frowned upon. And who doesn’t love a really cutthroat game of Apples to Apples now and then, anyway? Exactly.
If no, well, listen. Uno will cost you about $4. There; you’re ready to go.
Do you enjoy spending two solid days packing, beforehand, and two solid days doing laundry, afterward, so that your kids can kick at the dirt and proclaim “I’m booooored!” for the majority of the time you’re away?
If yes, camping is DEFINITELY for you.
If no, and if you’re saying no because your kids never complain of boredom, I would like to switch kids with you before our next trip. Thanks.
Do you own a wireless Internet connectivity device? A smartphone? Several laptop computers?
If yes, getting back to nature is for you. On account of you can still have all of the trappings of home, including clients emailing you asking for things while you’re trying to roast marshmallows, dammit.
If no, you probably already live in the woods, so why on earth do you want to go camping?
In conclusion, camping really is for just about everyone. Except cats.