To Camp or Not To Camp… That Is The Question
If you’ve never been camping, it can be incredibly daunting to willingly venture out into the woods. You hear people and advertisements telling you “It’s so relaxing! Out in the great outdoors, with the fresh air, clear water, and stars as far as the eye can see!”
Relax?! Are you kidding me? How can I relax when I am completely unprepared? I don’t know how to camp. I don’t even own a tent. And don’t get me started on the bugs.
It also isn’t very motivating when people ask if you’ve lost yo dang mind at the thought of leaving A/C and your comfy bed.
Story Time — Buckle Up
The last time I went camping with my Pops for Father’s Day, we watched the family in the campsite next to us pitch a tent and set out some crisp new camping chairs. The Missus was incredibly supportive of her husband, wrangling two kiddos under the age of 6, as he did the dance of the tent poles.
As the sun set on a sweltering Alabama day in June, I built my fire and started cooking my dad’s favorite camp meal, red beans and rice with Conecuh sausage. I’ve been keeping an eye on this family next to me because I know it’s their first time camping together — and maybe even ever. This sweet father tried his hardest to get a fire going to roast some hot dogs. These kids are fussy and hungry. The mother is patient and understanding. I’m debating in my head whether to go over and help him. Is it emasculating? Would it embarrass him? Does he know what he is doing but he just got some wet wood? He gets a fire started but it is still having trouble catching. There is enough of a flame to warm the hotdogs. The kids are eating but the parents aren’t.
I have music playing as the sun sets over the water. Family friendly music for the most part but I don’t want to disrupt their experience by playing music that drives them mad. I get up, walk over, and let them know that if my music is bothering them, I’ll happily cut it down or off. They say they enjoy it and I could actually turn it up a bit. I see an opportunity to offer up some of my extra Red Beans. They politely decline. I return to my camp.
A few hours pass and then the worst happens. This sweet family packs up their campsite and leaves. They didn’t even last 24 hours. What are the odds that they try camping again? Was it the lack of preparedness? Was it a fussy kid? Allergies? I should have helped that family. I should have passed down my dad’s knowledge. The worst thing that would have happened is they declined assistance. One key thing about camping is if you don’t have something you need, another campsite probably does.
Take A Chance and Be Rewarded
Growing up, my family went camping all the time. It was an inexpensive vacation that gave us some quality family time. My dad was a Boy Scout and completed Basic Training for the Navy. He taught us how to tie knots, build fires, pick the perfect campsite, campfire cooking 101… Things we didn’t learn — how to drive through snow covered mountains. I empathize with people who get anxiety from the mere thought of camping. I get the same anxiety from the thought of driving in the snow.
The camping community is unique in that they believe
- Sharing Is Caring. If you don’t have something you need, someone nearby probably does and they are happy to help.
- Gear To Swear By. It does take a bit of trial and error but if someone swears by a brand, a method, a tent, boots — whatever — it’s worth looking into because odds are the person tried out numerous different brands or methods and found one that works. Every camper SHOULD learn something new when the venture out into the great outdoors.
- Know Your Limits. Trying new things often take a leap of faith. It’s crucial to remember that the great outdoors deserve your respect. Stay on the trails. Leave native wildlife alone. Abide by the rules of the park. Assume it’s poison ivy or poison oak until you know 100% it isn’t. The more knowledge you have under your belt, the better prepared you will be to try new things SAFELY especially if children or pets are involved.
- Relax. If you follow the Black Folks Camp Too: Beginners Guides, you will be in a great place to finally sit back, pop open a cold one, throw some grub on the grill, and reconnect with the things that matter most — family, friends, and nature.
Let me help you be confident enough to venture out into your backyard with your family and friends. I’m going to share with you how to pick the type of camping that is best for you, your family, and the season. We will discuss the basics of selecting a location and campsite, pitching a tent, building a fire that lasts, what gear is a necessity for first time camping, and so much more. It’ll be a lot of information but the more prepared you are before you go, the easier and more enjoyable your weekend away will be. I promise a great time filled with laughter and love. Ultimately, the more you learn, the more adventurous you will become with what type of camping you WANT to do, in locations that span the United States, and there will be nothing to stop you!