After our weekend campout, I have decided on a few things:
One, don’t reinvent the wheel. Two, don’t make it harder than it has to be. And three, I DO like certain comforts.
Now, the first two are no-brainers, and virtually the same thing. And the first really has nothing to do with this camping trip, and well, neither does the second. But my points are still valid.
As for the third, well, I truly believe camping should be out in the wilderness, or at least a park or a place where you don’t have access to too many “civilized” comforts. We could all stand to toughen up a bit, yes? But on the other side of “comfort,” you have “this is really painful on my old body.”
In light of that, I’m making a few changes before the next trip in June:
I enjoy washing dishes over the fire—I have my two fire buckets, wash in one, rinse in the second; the wash water is thrown out and refilled and the rinse water becomes the next wash water. But I am a bit tired of lugging those buckets over to the table (to use as a drying rack), and squatting down on the pad while I do this.
Purchase #1: a kitchen rack/counter/whatever you want to call it.
I can deal with the cold—I have plenty of layers and a great sleeping bag, and yes, it was 37 degrees Saturday morning. Again. In May. Argh. But I cannot sleep on the ground—I would be miserable and immobile for at least a day, even with copious doses of Advil. And air mattresses are hit-or-miss around here. Had another slow leak Saturday night. A good night’s sleep is really important, no matter where you are.
Purchase #2: a really thick foam pad—6-8 inches—or an actual mattress.
Speaking of the cold, skipping a shower or two (yes, I WASH, if anyone’s interested) isn’t a big deal when the temps only get up to 60 degrees. But I do like a hot shower—or at least warmish—to loosen up my muscles and clear my head. And since the warmer weather will surely be here for the next trip, this is something I must have:
Purchase #3: a solar shower.
And finally, electronics. They are a fact of life, and indeed, much of my work is done online. And, too, if one is camping alone, regardless of how often it’s used, a cell phone can be mighty handy. My battery does well, but I still had to power down Saturday night; 48 hours on a charge isn’t bad, but Sunday morning the darn thing was being stubborn until it, too, warmed up.
Purchase #4: solar cell charger
Now, I know a lot of people whose idea of camping is the local Marriott, and I know some who own and use every camping gadget invented, just because they can. I even know a few who wouldn’t be caught dead using any comforts whatsoever—and I was one of them, oh, maybe 10 years ago. Or five.
But hey, it’s a choice, right? And all of these things will enable me to stay out in the woods just a little bit longer than I do now, and even work from there if I want to do that. And there are some things where I draw the line: RVs, running water, and electricity, to name a few.
On the other hand, I’m sure some of you have seen pictures of my pot. Er, bathroom. Yes, I have one, and yes, I make no apologies. There’s a big difference, to me, in using a latrine built and equipped for oneself versus those hideous vault toilets in many campgrounds, used by many. (Seriously, it’s like sitting on a tall tin can—ugh!)