Monday, January 18, 2010

Myth Busters - The Camping Edition

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.


Ecce Quam Bonam said...

Tooooo funny and soooooo true!

Kelly said...

Thanks! How did the surgery go? I loved the website you mentioned. How I would like to be able to take photos like that!

Rachel said...

I am on the same page with you here! I can't believe how much time and money all this preparing is taking us (me and Paul). When does it start paying for itself, this camping thing?

Ecce Quam Bonam said...

The surgery went fine; the pain management afterward in recovery was an unmitigated disaster of hesitation and obtuseness. Thankfully, she's getting over it all pretty well.

I loved the pictures too, especially paired with the lines of poetry. That was really nice.

Kelly said...

Rach -

The big items you can reuse and pass down, but I find that many smaller items get lost or broken. It really isn't cheap! Ironically, I have contemplated buying a pop-up camper to make it easier if not less expensive.

I have great memories of Girl Scout camping, so I'm hoping it's worth the investment.

I would love to hear your stories of family camping. Did you love it or tolerate it?

Camping is sort of like owning a pet - I have this ideal in mind that may not be realistic.

- Kelly

gmomhpa said...

Love this! I don't remember Girl Scout camping getting that costly many years ago -- not so many things required before "What might happen?" consumed society.

It was easier in a tent camper but did take many hours to pack/load.

Hubby and I used a quick set-up back packing tent till we couldn't crawl on the ground anymore. One special trip b4 retirement: tent/air mattress/dbl. sleeping bag/grasshopper stove/ship to a western motel/fly/buy foam cooler/rent car/camp 2 wks. @ Grand Canyon-Zion-Brice/ship stuff back/fly home. Great vacation!

After retirement we had RVs for 23 yrs. Wonderful memories and great photos! I'll always miss the rural parks! Beat motels any day.

Kelly said...

gmompha - I'm so jealous! I have this fantasy about pop up campers and seeing America.

Over the next few years, we have my 50th birthday and our 20th anniversary. The Grand Canyon will figure into one of these. I'd also love to canoe park of the Lewis and Clark route.