Camping: my Happy Place

Camping makes me forget about the busy reality of life for a weekend. This is one of the reasons I love it so much. Everytime I’m driving to a campground whatever might have been weighing on my mind just fades to the background. When I look in my car’s rearview mirror and see the camper behind me, it kickstarts my relaxation mode. Once I’m at the campground and set up, I’m focused on the park I’m in, hiking some trails and enjoying outdoor activities with my family. Assuming the weather is cooperating, my biggest stressor might be whether I should set up the folding chairs first or throw a Frisbee™ with my kids? You will have to make these difficult decisions when camping.

I’ll provide a case in point to illustrate how camping allows me to fully chill out. In October our kids were out of school for Fall Break. They had a 4-day weekend from school (Fri-Mon) so we took a longer than normal camping trip. On Monday morning- our last day of the trip- while we’re all eating breakfast my wife reminded me about tennis that afternoon at 4:00. We were not in danger of missing it, but I had completely forgotten about it. Granted, we are not typically at the campground on a Monday morning. It left like a Sunday to me and I was still in my relaxed camping mode. For five months now our oldest son has played tennis on Mondays at 4:00pm. Every Monday, I am the one that takes him there! Yet, on this morning I’d forgotten all about it. When I’m camping, I get in a relaxed state of mind that just doesn’t happen when I’m at home.

camping, Fall camping, outdoor activities
2016 Fall Break camping trip. Harmonie State Park in Indiana, located on the Indiana/Illinois state border. They have a nice campground with several playgrounds and great hiking trails. The park also has family cabins available for rent.

Here is this post’s tip:

I prepare for a camping trip by making a list of everything I’m taking. On the list I not only have camping gear, but the food and the cookware needed to make it also. Until the items are in my car or my camper I don’t check them off the list. At this point they are really packed and pretty difficult to forget. If you arrive and find that you have forgotten something, don’t let it wreck your mood or your weekend. You might honestly be okay without it. If you really need what you forgot, ask a neighboring camper for help. The kindness of strangers can be seen in campgrounds. Some of the nicest people you’ll meet are campers. Don’t hesitate to ask them to borrow something. Come to think of it, maybe I’ll do a blog post on all the acts of kindness I’ve been granted while camping. I have forgotten plenty of things myself over the years!

(Some campgrounds will have a camp store that sells basic items. Consider these stores a last resort fallback plan. My experience has been they normally don’t stock a wide variety of items. Don’t look for low prices here either. Camp stores are more the exception than the rule. I consider it a bonus if the park that I’m staying in has one.)

There are some great lists online to help you pack for a camping trip. Want my camping list? Let me know in the comments section and leave me an email address to use for contacting you.

-Rob