Man … I’m not going to lie to you, I have had very few good camping experiences. I don’t mind the stuff that goes along with the camping; in fact, I really like the outdoors! I do! And whether it’s hiking, or canoeing, or festivaling (that’s a verb now), I always have a good time doing the stuff that comes before and after the tent part. That’s really what the problem is: I hate sleeping in tents. And waking up in tents, for that matter. Campfire? Love it. Spending all day outside, lounging by and in a lake? Bring it on. Trying to get a good night’s sleep laying in a plastic container on the forest floor? No. Thank. You.
And I know what all you avid campers will say to me, because I’ve been told the same thing time and time again by other avid campers, and it’s that “you just have to be prepared and know what you’re doing!” And sure. I get that. I’m sure that I would have had a much better experience that one time in England when it pissed down rain all night if I’d had a tarp over my tent (more on that fiasco later), and yes, I should have probably brought more to eat than a couple of granola bars. I know. I was wildly under-prepared. I get that. But I’ve slept in tents with an air mattress, with people who knew what the were doing, at festivals, and I still didn’t like it.
I understand that festivals aren’t a real camping experience, like an out-in-the-woods-fix-day-portage situation. But I think that goes to prove my point even more! If I can’t even get comfortable on a flat piece of land, meant to be camped on, with a car right beside me with a whole whack of extra stuff in it, and access to electricity, how in the hell am I expected to get comfortable in the middle of bloody nowhere with nothing but what I’ve brought on my back? Answer: I can’t. I think I’ve only slept through the night in a tent once. Once! And, granted, I woke up with the birds and the sun, and I didn’t totally hate my life, and it was nice.
But then I was dirty and felt smelly for the rest of the day because there was no WAY I was using those gross little outhouse showers that are provided at those camp grounds. I know many of you are reading this and rolling your eyes, and thinking that I’m so high maintenance. Really, I’m not. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a shower and a warm, clean bed at the end of a long day. I’m not asking for five stars. I’m really not. I’m asking for a room, with a door, and a bed, and a shower. That’s pretty much it. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.
The thing is … I want to like camping. I do. Because, as I said, I really like all the stuff that goes with it! There had just bloody well be at least a cottage waiting for me at the end of the day. So, my piss poor attitude about camping kept in mind, I’ve decided to go over with you all the things I would need if I were ever to be convinced to sleep in the cold, wet, tick-infested wilderness. God help the next person to drag me out there.