When I told friends and acquaintances that I was going camping this weekend, a lot of them gave me a confused Scooby-Doo look, usually accompanied by, “Really? You don’t seem like the type of person who likes camping.” Now, I’m not super high maintenance (no makeup? no problem!), so I was a little surprised by the response. After I thought about it awhile, I figured out why people assume I’m not fond of chilling in a tent overnight: comfort, comfort, comfort. Comfort is my main objective at all times. I love nine hours of sleep at night, a clean toilet, and air conditioning. But camping has its charms. And trust me, it’s not that hard to be comfortable in the wide wilderness. Here are some tips I’ve come across, along with things more experienced campers taught me.
1. Save some beer cans. Beer cans from the night before turn into individual kettles in the morning for coffee. Just rinse one out, fill it up with water and set it on the coals. Then pour the hot water in a mug (or just use the beer can once it cools a bit) and throw in Folgers Coffee Singles–no spoon necessary. Could be worse.
2. Forget the mirror. No, seriously. Just don’t bring it.
3. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer are your BFF’s. I think this is pretty self-explanatory. Plus, wet wipes are great for washing your face in the morning.
4. Pack light. When going on vacations, I’m a medium-heavy packer. Camping, I’m extra-light. You probably won’t even want to change except into pj’s or swimwear; changing in a tent is a feat unto itself.
5. Use an air mattress. One of the reasons I didn’t like camping as a kid was how much my back ached after a night in a sleeping bag over a foam pad. Air mattresses are easy to bring with you and SO worth it. I mean, unless you’re hard-core camping in the boonies or something.
6. Make use of logs. This one is for the ladies. My friends weed-whacked an area away from the campsite that had a fallen log for our toilet space. The log made it a LOT easier for poppin’ a squat. Just lean against it, and relax. Ahhhhh . . .
7. Bring a knife. Knives are handy for everything, from opening wet hot dog bags from the cooler to protecting you from Bigfoot.
8. Also, bring matches. And put them in a waterproof container while you’re at it. (Mom voice):”Just in caaaase!” Actually, my boyfriend, a former Life Scout, made me add this.
9. Bring/wear bobbypins. Or a hat. For folks with bangs, bobbypins are necessary for staying comfortable outside on hot summer days. Just pull those puppies back. Baseball caps work well, too, but are just a bit warmer.
10. Take a deep breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Campfire smells good, no? Don’t worry about the mud all over your legs, the flies that keep landing on your arms, or the sweat rolling down your face. Just enjoy the moment, and know a hot shower awaits when you get home. So get as dirty as you like.