We went car camping this weekend. Let me tell you what car camping entails:

Car camping is when you load all of your worldly possessions into your Buick LeSabre and drive one hour into the woods for the weekend. If you have a new baby, you will need to purchase a larger tent about the size of your first studio apartment. You will also bring an air mattress for the first time this year, because the last time you went camping you may have been 5 months pregnant and sleeping on the ground plus the constant need to get up in the night to pee made it the most uncomfortable you have ever been.

You might camp with 3 other couples, one of which might also have a new baby and a new tent the size of a 3-bedroom condo, so you will need to secure a second campsite to fit you all. The only one available on short notice is down the road a ways and around the corner from the main, waterfront site and is wedged between blackberry bushes, but you will be happy for the extra space.

You will wonder how your new baby will fare in the outdoor environment and will be amazed that he actually sleeps through the night in the tent, even though you yourself were totally freezing your ass off. When you feel that your baby’s hands are as cold as ice you will experience guilt and store that feeling in your guilt pouch that you wear near your sternum.

You will spend your day in the main camp site with the other couples and lament that your beautiful watering hole is filled with snow water and way too cold for swimming. The weather is also not quite hot enough to tempt you into the freezing water & your swim suit, towels and multi-colored raft go unused. Since there will be no swimming or showering, car camping becomes about marinating in your own filth. Your hands will be covered in grime, bug spray, antibacterial sanitizer and disease form the communal port-a-potty.

On the second day, a better campsite might open up right next to your main site near the water, so your friends could possibly carry your tent like an Easter parade float to the new spot. That might look a little like this:

It will be much easier being closer in, but the move could cause a misplacement of most of your things and days later you still won’t be able to locate your sandals or cell phone.

The four couples will share cooking and cleaning duties each taking either a breakfast meal or a dinner meal. You will eat well with sloppy Joes and an excellent sausage stew. Breakfast is made to order with egg mcmuffins, pancakes, sausage and French toast. None of the meals will be cooked over the campfire, but a 1993 Coleman double burner gas stove could be used to great success. The campfire is to be used only to spin yarns around and toast marshmallows for the S’mores. You could use the fire for Jiffy Pop popcorn, but you will forget to bring any. There will still be a great deal of snack food available for the duration of the stay.

In years past you may have used the camping excuse to drink yourself into a tizzy, but this year you drink only one gin & juice per day and almost fall asleep in front of the fire in your camp chair before 10:00pm.

You might make a fleeting comment that you hope it rains and you will in fact wake up on the last day to the sweet pitter patter of raindrops hitting the Gore-Tex. You might then be lulled back to sleep until 10:00am until it is time to cook breakfast in between rain drops. You probably will only think to bring one pair of long pants and one sweatshirt, which you will wear for the entire 3 days and 2 nights, because it will never quite get warm enough for the several cute short outfits you have stuffed in your duffle bag.

It will be a little harder to pack up in the deluge and by the time you are all packed up and your car is filled to the brim, you will be a cold, soaking, muddy mess. You might need to go to a drive through latte hut once you reach civilization. Once you unpack your car, and fill your house with piles of crap that will take hours to put away, you might need to lie down on the couch and clutch your tummy and groan for about one hour.

By the next day you might already be planning your car camping trip for next year!

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10 Comments on “CAR CAMPING 101”

  1. lannylee Says:

    Ouch, I feel your pain, but I totally understand the camping thing! Every year I say never again, but yet every year we go.

  2. Becky Says:

    Oh, lawzy. I rain-camped earlier this summer and mud factor was completely out of control. This *past* camping trip, I too was really cold in the night (esp. since i forgot my sleeping bag, yes i did) but I was too scared of BEAR to go 10 feet to my car to get more blankets.

  3. kathy Says:

    That about sums it up. When we camped in Oregon, we thought about how maybe some day you guys might want to camp with us in a good, “meet us half way” destination like Oregon. We have a kayak, and there’s lots of good fishing in the lakes of the Cascade. Lots of dirt too!

  4. Annette Says:

    Oh my god! That was the funniest thing I have read in a long time! I loved the picture of the relocation! How did the babies fair. They probably had a great time in the mud!

  5. geekbetty Says:

    you couldn’t PAY me to go camping. I would whine the whole time. I like my showers and air conditioning way too much.

  6. poopiebitch Says:

    That was awesome. Did you ever find your phone?

    And yes, everyone should have their cake. (It took all of my restraint to not say “and eat it too!”, thus forever sealing my fate as That One Girl Who Said The Stupidest Thing Ever On TV).

  7. Kim Says:

    Hahah!! This is so funny!! I *almost* want to go camping now…

    (Oh, and THAT is where my ‘guilt pouch’ is… I have been wondering!!)

  8. Kristen Says:

    Oooh, guilt pouch. Yeah.

    Oh, and if I were around your campfire, I’d actually be spinning yarns.

  9. madwag Says:

    julian and I need to make more friends so that we can go camping… with friends…. we plan on going sometime this summer…. with the dog. I love the tent float…that is such a fab pic

  10. Ashley Says:

    planning car camping trip #1 with a 4 year old this summer in our buick lesabre…and praying we survive the 1800 mile trek to Tofino from MN. This might be the worst idea I’ve ever had. Thanks for the story!

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