There's a myth out there - widely believed - wholly untrue. It says that camping is cheap. A cheap way to vacation. A cheap form of recreation.
In the early years of married life, Dave and I camped any number of times. Each and every camping trip required a trip to a sporting goods store to pick up a few items that, I promise you, cost more than a night or two in a mid-range hotel.
First we shelled out a pretty penny for a good tent. Then it was the cook stove. The lantern. The pots and pans. A coffee maker that never worked.
Each time we camped, we thought "Well, once we accumulate the basics, it won't cost so much."
There in, my friends, lies the heart of the myth. You're never done. There is an ever growing and evolving list of wares so vast I promise you camping will never mean throwing a few things in the back of the truck and peeling out of the driveway.
Last fall, prior to a One Night Event, we began to assemble an enormous pile of gear. We took stock of air mattresses in the house - queen that leaks - one each, queen that doesn't leak - one each, twin - one each, air mattress pump with missing attachments - one each. Off I went to pick up a second single air mattress and a pump that would work. Not cheap.
Tim and Dave leave next Friday for three days in the North Georgia mountains. Cold weather! Snow possible! The sound I'm hearing isn't woodland animals in a muffled blanket of snow. No, it's more like cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching!
Long underwear that fits? Zip, zero, nada! Chemical feet and hand warmers? Fresh out! Water bottle? Never made it home from the last camp out. Off to the big box up the street.
Two batteries for a headlamp? $5.99
Original price of the headlamp? $4.99
Spending a weekend hiking with your Dad? It had better be priceless.