On Sarah and Camping

I’m not really the outdoorsy type.

In fact, I fear nature.

I like the beach, I like the ocean, I don’t mind open air cafes or football stadiums, but when it comes to outside outside I get a little bit squeamish. I don’t even really like going in my yard that much.grizzly_tent

Don’t laugh. Snakes could be anywhere out there.

Or bears.

Here is the thing. I am going camping this weekend.

I haven’t been camping since girl scouts.

What do I need to know?

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  1. Do NOT wipe with any leaf you do know, with one hundred percent certainty, that it is NOT poison ivy. Personal experience!

  2. I am with you. I do not like camping unless it consists of me being able to sleep in a hotel or cabin and then I guess technically it is not camping. Just don’t leave food out around your campsite. :) Have fun.

  3. Biggest thing – You are going to get dirty. Last summer we went camping like 3-4 times and as long as I went in knowing we were going to be dirty (even though we took showers, the kids would be dirty right after) I was ok. Have fun! :)

  4. Take lots of alcohol? Or get seriously ill before then so you can call in sick.

  5. What kind of camping are we talking about here? I assume you’re going with someone who knows the camping basics? The most important thing re: bears is to remember not to have any smelly stuff in the tent with you, even toothpaste, lotions, etc. To really protect your food against bears overnight, you should do a bear hang.

    And I would never laugh at the snake thing. On my last trip to the boundary waters, we saw a garter snake and I flipped out. I have a snake phobia (don’t know what it’s called) so consider it a badge of honor that I’m still willing to go camping.

  6. You are going camping??? Why? Isn’t there someone you can pay to go in your place? Do you think if your kids see your reaction to nature that they will fear the woods forever? If you insist on going Try and pretend you are into it and don’t eat.. bears like food.

  7. Lots of Booze. Lots of toys. Family friendly camp site with real washrooms and preferably showers.
    Family friendly is the best..if there are lots of other kids you can watch them all turn into something from Lord of the Flies as you drink beer by the camp fire and pretend to be paying attention.

    Lots of antiseptic spray is good too and a car big enough to stuff everything in at night.

    Oh and tarps..you always need tarps

  8. I *love* camping!! Where you going? Why are you going?

    Here’s some things I’ve learned: if the tent says it’s a two person, it’s really better for one person. If it’s a four person, put two people in there. Those tent manufacturers LIE.

    Put a tarp down before pitching the tent. And if you have a heavy pad or egg crates or even an air mattress, take and sleep on it. Earplugs. Alcohol.

    Don’t plan elaborate meals. KISS (you know what that stands for, right?).

    Um…what else? DO you or whomever you’re going with have all supplies?

  9. Wear bear-bells to avoid startling black bears.

    Carry pepper spray to fight off black bears.

    Know that grizzly bear poop is peppery and has bells in it.

  10. I agree with Melissa. Just embrace the dirt, and things will go much more smoothly. I don’t know what else to say, since I LOVE camping, and I’m totally jealous that you’re going.

    Probably my top tips:

    1. Teach the kids what poison ivy looks like, so they don’t bring you a lovely bouquet of it.

    2. Maybe get a kids’ tree ID book so that the Squad can look for leaves they recognize while you relax with a beer 😉

    3. Be prepared for bugs, because there will be some.


    Good luck!

  11. Uh, what is this camping of which you speak?

    Flask. Nuf said.

  12. Camping advice:

    1. If you’re in a tent, get a sleeping pad. Wal-Mart and Target or any outdoorsy store will have them. Your back will thank you
    2. Don’t even think about showering. Brushing teeth, yes. Washing face, yes. Full-on shower usually requires use of a creepy facility with lots of spiders in the shower with you. Avoid it.
    3. Keep the food locked in the car at night as to avoid critters invading camp. Even if you’re not in bear country.
    4. Take a flashlight. Take two, in fact. And extra batteries. Headlamps are the best thing to happen to camping since the RV.
    5. Wear jeans unless you’re just sitting at the campsite. Even then, wear jeans. It won’t guarantee you won’t get ticks, but it will at least be discouraging.
    6. Bug spray and sun screen. Slather, spray and repeat every few hours.
    7. Call first shower for when you finally make it home.

    I’m going camping this weekend, too, and will be doing a camping-related post this week sometime. Come over and check it out!

  13. toliet paper. when you think you have enough, take 2 more rolls.

    garbage bags (at least 5 more than you think you’ll need)

    zip lock bags.

  14. Ugh, I don’t like camping either.


  15. The only kind of camping I do involves a cabin. I don’t do tents — or at least, I haven’t since I was about 9 years old. My mom used to bring her vacuum cleaner with us when we went “camping” in Maine in the summer. (All that sand being tracked into the cabin, you know.)

  16. I just got back from camping I chose to sleep under the stars, not even in a tent – it was great. I love the woods and camping (but not really hiking because, seriously, why weigh yourself down to walk somewhere?)
    First – Black Box Shiraz
    Second – something warmer than you think you will need
    Third – S’mores

    That’s really all you need

  17. You’ll need more clothes for cold weather than you will for warm – trust me. For the amount of time you spend in shorts on any given day, it’s worth it only to pack one pair. But sweats/jeans? You’ll need several pairs, because if you get rain, you’ll covet dry. And, unless I miss my guess, it’ll be cold at night – you’ll really want warm stuff then. In fact, keep a bag with a pair of dry pants and a dry sweater in your car, and hope you never need it. But if you do, you’ll think fondly of me for dispensing that advice.

    Rubber boots are also a good foot choice.

  18. The most important piece of information I’ve learned while camping: Peeing in a port-a-potty is eleventy billion times harder when you are drunk. Pee behind a tree.

  19. where the nearest sonic/mcdonalds/burger king is for fast food breakfast and what time they open!

  20. Start praying right now for NO rain. I don’t care how much money you spend on a tent, they ALL leak.
    Warning; The first morning you will wake up tired, (hung over if you listen to the other comments), cold, wet & dirty. Then, you will realize it’s only been one night!

    So, you have FUN!

  21. 1. I assume you are going to a park where the assign camping sites…? Go to your site number and look at it, then continue driving around and make note of sites you like better, then go back to the desk. They will usually be able to change you to the site you want. Things that make the site desirable: proximity to bathroom (you don’t want to be right next to it, mind you, or everyone will cut through your site), size of the site, and what the neighbours to the site seem to be there for. (Is it a family? Or is it four guys with loads of beer and guitars?)

    2. Do not leave ANY food outside at night, it all has to go back in your car when you go to bed. Yes, it does. No really, it does, unless you want to give the kids a 3 am nature lesson on raccoons.

  22. Carol Parks says:

    If you really hate it why are you going. Although if taking the kids it will be fun. They like all kinds of fun things. Good walking shoes are a must, something you can pitch if gets to muddy. Camera you know something really funny is going to happen. A reading light and a good book. It takes a while to get to sleep when you think you feel things biting that aren’t there at least 80% of the time. Just getting over a brown recluse spider bite from Mexico in February. Oh well, it will be another interesting experience. Hi. to all

  23. Did you learn nothing from my last week?

  24. Jeff, you made me laugh at loud.

    BIG-ARSE FLASHLIGHT! Big, huge one. With extra batteries. And a headlamp, too. The headlamp is essential for post-dusk outhouse trips. You want both hands free for those nighttime operations.

    Also, if you hook the whole family up with headlamps, you can entertain the whole campsite by choreographing a headlamp-based dance piece.

  25. Where you going? Taking the kids? I keep threatening to go, we’ll see…

  26. You’re going to need some beer.

  27. Layers and layers of crappy clothes. Lots of beer. Toilet paper in ziplocks. Lots of extra ziplocks.

  28. Um, eat the dessert first? Because you never know when something might get you?

    Just kidding!

  29. My camping secret is Tylenol PM. It helps overcome the aches from hiking and/or setting up a tent, and it puts me into a deeper sleep so that every little noise doesn’t wake me up. Also make sure you have comfortable bedding, like an air mattress or egg crate pad to sleep on. It makes all the difference in attitude the next morning.

    Have fun! Remember, dirt washes off.

  30. Wet Wipes. Not joking.

  31. 1. Agree – Wet wipes
    2. Ziploc bags, lots
    3. Contact lenses are hard to take out while holding a mirror
    4. Possibility of bears changes the landscape re: no toothpaste or makeup or lotion etc in the tent
    5. Definitely find an air mattress or sleeping pad
    6. If it is cold, put all your clothes in the sleeping bag with you. In the cold am when you have to get dressed you will be thankful.


  32. Bring toilet paper and antibacterial wipes… but do NOT confuse the two.

  33. What you need to know…the location of the closest hotel/motel. NEVER GO CAMPING. BLECHHH

  34. We took Hunter and Maddy camping last summer for the first time, and I was pregnant with Sammy. It was like the hottest weekend of the summer. Make sure you put the cooler and all of your food in the car before you go to bed. Take plenty of blankets. Stay away from the edges of the tent….even water proof tents leak if you lean on the inside edges. Take coloring books and down time toys for the squad. Make sure you have lanters for inside the tent. They are a life saver if you have one that is afraid of the dark. Air mattress is a MUST. I even got one for each of the kids. Simple food ideas. Aluminum foil so you can cook on the firepit thingy. Long sticks/pole thingy for hotdog/marchmallow roasters. Wood for the fire pit…i know that it is obvious, but those are always the things I forget. bug spray, sun screen. Just have fun…I’m sure it will be just fine.

  35. A nice flat stone makes perfect toliet paper if you happen to run out. If you would rather use leaves, make sure you don’t use three-point ones with red underbellies. It sure won’t help you to love camping if you walk away with an inflammed, itchy coochie, ya know?

  36. You need to know that faking sick is always an option. An option I would highly recommend.

  37. If you have any choice – don’t do it. But, I’ll be following in your footsteps in a couple of weeks – camping; in tents; with three or four 9 and 10 year old girls. And I’ll just BET the Girl Scouts do not allow alcohol at their Camporee’s.

  38. My husband is taking the boys camping this weekend while I will be luxuriating in a hotel suite with some girlfriends. I hate nature but I do enjoy viewing it from a rocking chair on the porch with a gin & tonic in my hand.

  39. Be sure to go to sleep with a pork chop tied around your neck. It keeps away mosquitoes. If that doesn’t work, try OFF.

  40. Do not pet the bears.

  41. Apparently I was conceived in a sleeping bag (thanks for that Mom!) and I’ve camped my entire life. Stay dry. Bring fun food. It’s going to be beautiful this weekend so camping should be cake.

  42. P.S. Despite spending almost an entire summer in a tent the idea of taking TD and The Comedian camping this summer makes me want to light myself on fire.

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