One of the most incredible adventures you can have is taking camping trips. They can be in your backyard, a local campground, national parks, or going out in other countries’ wild. From a simple blanket roll to massive campers. What type of camping you do is up to your mood, roughing or going with a bit of comfort.
I remember in my youth almost every summer going camping with my grandparents. They had a motorhome that would fit 3-4 people comfortably, and if you folded the table down into a bed up to six. But, of course, I was a bit smaller then, so my bed was the one in front that came down from the ceiling over the front seats.
Grandpa would get the camper loaded up with all the necessary gear. Grandma would make sure the refrigerator was stock with all kinds of goodies. Then off we went sometimes to one place for a week or two, often several different locations. Many times we went to historical destinations. All these camping trips allowed me to most of what Michigan had to offer a person.
In my teens, I started tent camping with friends and family. With many of the comforts of home still close at hand. It is incredible how much one can make camping comfortable when you can drive up to your campsite. It was mostly for quick overnighters and weekend trips that consisted of some activity. Like amusements parks, hiking trails, even winter camping once to enjoy tobogganing all weekend.
Being part of cub scouts and then moving into boy scouts, there were many camping trips. I remember my first week-long one, and I thought I was roughing it; in reality, besides being attacked by bugs all night and marching around through the woods to activities, we still had many creature comforts.
True roughing it did not come for me till I started historical reenacting. It took me a couple of years to get my gear together. Being on my own and a budget made it so; I only had the bare necessities unless I grouped up with others. Often nothing more than a blanket roll. I learned many skills along the way as I worked to reenact how our forefathers here in the states lived as the expanded west across the country.
Each of my camping experiences built upon the next, I am thankful for all of them. Today I know that with some basic tools that I can carry on my person that I can survive pretty much anything that is thrown at me. Tho as I have gotten older, I do like a few more creature comforts.
If it were not for my grandparents, scout leaders, and other mentors in the reenacting community, I would not have these skills and experiences. I, in return, have worked to instill what I have learned in others. Be it camping with adults new to camping, helping out with both cub and boy scouts, and most importantly, teaching my skills to my son.
Yes, you can grab a tent, some gear and learn things on your own. However, learning from others flattens the curve.
Skills from camping can also transfer over to everyday life, from starting fires in the backyard to learning to enjoy nature. I think everyone benefits from camping, no matter if it’s a camper, tent camping, or a simple hike in the woods with a blanket roll. If you’re not out camping, you’re missing out on great experiences.
Now, if you are an avid camper, I think you have a responsibility to pass your skills on. Yes, a responsibility. For if you do not teach others, how will they learn? By trial and error, yes, that is one way, and some learned this way. Many camping trips were trial and error for me. However, I had basic knowledge to help me from a young age. I think there are few who can genuinely say someone along the way did not help them.
Teaching people how to improve their camping skills will add to the overall enjoyment of the experience. Because if it’s not fun and enjoyable, why continue to do it?
The younger the person you teach, the better off they will be as they grow up. Giving them the confidence to tackle things in everyday life. Camping pushes your comfort zone. It lets one see their boundaries and how to push past them, which is essential to growth as a person.
Get out there
Have you never been camping? Well, the time to start then is today. With the available resources, the learning curve is not steep if you stick to the basics. With the availability of the internet, you have millions of words written to help you with what you need to start. Don’t forget YouTube; there are so many documenting their experience it can almost be overwhelming.
All seasons have their flavor of camping. I prefer fall over them all. Temperatures usually keep the bugs at bay, and you shouldn’t freeze your but off either. Of course, this depends on where you camp. Winter camping, I would say, is more for advanced campers. Spring with all its rain showers can be annoying and put a damper on things. When starting, I would suggest summer and fall.
Pick a location, decide what style of camping you want to do. Then read a book, watch some videos on what you will need. The financial barrier to entry can be very low when getting basics.
Normally more advanced.
The simplest, though, it can be challenging to go as a minimalist. So I would generally suggest this for more advanced campers unless you plan to go with some friends that are either used to this style of camping or have some extras they can share to make it a better experience.
Simple tent camping, which in my opinion, is the most cost-effective and enjoyable for new campers. A tent, sleeping bag, cooler, with some cooking supplies, and boom, you are ready for your first adventure. Take the family or hook up with some friends.
They can get pricey quickly, buy your own, or keep costs down by renting one for a short time. The advantage here is you have a home on wheels. Although there are purists who say this is not camping, I will argue that, as I stated earlier, if not for the early years with my grandparents who could not do tent camping, I would have missed out on a lot.
Renting a cabin is another option. Cabins can run the gambit from four walls with a roof and a couple of beds to mini-homes. A cabin is an excellent place to have a solid structure to work from while trying out new or improving your camping skills.
If nothing more than setting up a tent in the backyard with the safety of your home nearby. To taking off on a grand adventure to the other side of the world.
Decide, plan, take action, and enjoy.
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