The Troubles with Camping
Each year, thousands of people throughout the United States choose to spend their summer vacations camping. Depending on individual sense of adventure, there are various types of camping to choose from, including log cabin camping, recreational vehicle camping and tent camping. Of these, tent camping by far requires the most “roughing it,” and with proper planning can be very gratifying. However, even the with the best planning, tent camping can be an extremely frustrating experience due to uncontrolled factors such as bad weather, wildlife encounters and equipment failure.
Nothing can dampen the excited anticipation of a camping trip than a dark, rainy day. Even the most adventurous campers can lose some of their enthusiasm on the drive to a campsite if the skies are dreary. After reaching their destination, campers must then set up camp in the downpour. This includes keeping the inside of the tent dry and free from mud, getting the sleeping bags situated dryly, and protecting food from getting wet. If the sleeping bags happen to get wet, the cold also becomes a major factor. A sleeping bag usually provides warmth on a camping trip; a wet sleeping bag provides none. Combining wind and rain can cause frigid temperatures, causing any outside activities to be delayed. Even inside the tent problems may arise due to heavy winds. More than a few campers have had their tents blown down because of the wind, which again begins the frustrating task of setting up camp in the downpour.
Another problem likely to be faced during a camping trip is run-ins with wildlife, which can range mildly annoying to dangerous. Minor inconveniences include mosquitos and ants. The swarming mosquitos can literally drive annoyed campers indoors for the night. If an effective repellent is not used, the campers can spend an interminable night scratching. Ants do not usually attack campers, but keeping them out of food can be quite a challenge. Extreme care must be taken not to leave food out before or after meals. If food is stored inside the tent, the tent must never be left open. Besides swarming the food, ants inside a tent can crawl into sleeping bags and clothing. Although these insects cause minor discomfort, some wildlife encounters are potentially dangerous. An encounter with a bear, a snake or any number of wild animals can be very dangerous and campers must always be aware of their surroundings.
Perhaps the least serious camping trouble is equipment failure; these troubles often plague families camping for the first time. They arrive at their campsite and hazardously set up their nine-person tent, unsure if it is really the right way. They then settle down for a peaceful night of rest. Sometime during the night the campers are awakened by the crash of their tent falling to the ground. They then have to sleepily set it back up in the dark. In the morning, everyone emerges from the tent except two. Their sleeping bag zippers have gotten caught. Finally, after fifteen minutes of struggling, they are free, only to realize the family has encountered another problem. They do not have enough propane to make even one meal on their portable stove. Frustrated and tired, the family packs up immediately and drives home. Equipment failures may not seem very serious, but after campers encounter bad weather and annoying pests or wild animals, these failures can end any remaining hope for a peaceful vacation.
These three types of camping troubles can strike campers almost anywhere. Until some brilliant scientist invents a weather machine to control bad weather or kind of wildlife repellant, unlucky campers will continue to shake their fists in frustration. More than likely, equipment will continue to malfunction. Even so, the rewards of camping are plentiful, and it continues to be a favorite pastime.