Camping outdoors is a great way to enjoy nature and relax. Back in the day, the “Baby Boomers” were master tent campers. This was a time when we would pile into our station wagons and head to the nearest campsite. Some of these spots were legitimate campgrounds, others were not.
Roughing it has changed. These days camping means you can see a tree out of the window from the Holiday Inn or watching a big screen tv inside a huge RV with a generator running full force. If the generator breaks or the hot water heater fails, that is roughing it.
Tents today are offered in a variety of fabrics and layouts. Some have multiple rooms, acres of screens, miles of zippers and Velcro. Unique support pole configurations make tents compact and quick to set up. Simply place a ground cloth down and set up the tent. Old school outfitter tents are also spacious and vintage.
Tent camping in public campgrounds today is not the same. The RV’ers ruin the ambience with the roar of their generators. If the windows are open, since AC is not needed, you can hear the shows they are watching a mile away. With campsites so close together, an RV’s slide outs can be right next to the fabric of your tent.
Real camping is about solitude, privacy, quiet, and roughing it. Learning to survive without luxuries is important. Leaving the cell phone and I Pads at home are a good idea. I know that to some, this sounds like a nightmare. But…try it, you’ll like it! Find a more rustic and remote campsite, and sleep under a tent.
With some preparation and proper outfitting, you can plan a wonderful adventure that all will remember. First pick a good place. If you plan to canoe or raft, water is important. Hiking and backpacks requires another plan. Keep your family and friends likes in mind when planning. Certain foods, drinks, and equipment will become the luxury. Try to cook special meals and desserts when outdoors. They always taste better. Even hot dogs and beans are tasty after a fun day of exploring.
Invite, invest, and share in the ownership of camping. Roughing it is about problem solving. If you forget something, no problem, adapt and overcome. Everyone has a job and a way to contribute.
Campfires are always great fun. Make them into a ceremony. Have a special trick to light them. I once secretly placed a wire from a tree to the fire center. An attached, weighted can, filled with a kerosene-soaked rag was inserted. At the right time, I lit the rag and sent the fire ball into the fire. It was a lightning bolt from heaven.
Don’t forget the campfire stories, skits, and games. Oh, and most importantly, the S’mores. Invent your own variation of S’mores.
Make an “In-Tents City” when you camp with a whole herd of family and friends.
For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.