The 5 Stages of a Summer Camping Trip
- Written by Michael Cogliano
- June 30, 2011
As a college kid with a limited bank account and little to no responsibility, it can be difficult to find vacations that fit into your lifestyle. However, if you see your roommate drink straight out of the milk carton one more time without a break, you’ll be taking a vacation to federal prison. So, as I found this weekend, camping is one activity that gives you a nice break from the norm while keeping the expenses minimum. As I reflect on my camping weekend, I have developed the blueprints that every camping trip follows. Despite the accuracy of these steps, one thing’s for sure: at least once you will utter the question “Why the fuck am I going camping?”
Step 1: The Phone Call
“Hey man, a couple of us are gonna go camping for a couple of days. We’ll get some beer, some burgers and crash in a tent.” Oh, the alluring siren song of a camping trip. No matter how disastrous your last camping attempt was (I peed INSIDE the tent in a drunken stupor) the prospect of relaxing around a fire with a cold beer in your hand and a burger on your plate always draws you back in. So you agree. You are unwavering in your optimism, even when your one friend (everyone has at least one of these) starts ragging on your trip. He is eager to point out that the reason society collectively developed the house is so that people didn’t have to shit into a hole in the ground anymore. But you talk yourself into his ignorance. He just doesn’t understand.
Step 2: The Packing
Packing always makes you start thinking a little more. You are beginning to realize that you are voluntarily going to a place that has none of the instruments and developments that have made our living situation different from the cavemen. So you have a conversation with yourself: “Some music would be good out there. Oops, no electricity.” Much like brides and grooms to-be inevitably get cold feet and start doubting the upcoming ceremony, so too do campers-to-be get a similar feeling and ask themselves this question for the first (but not the last) time, “Why the fuck am I going camping?”
Step 3: The Arrival
Congratulations, you’ve left your air conditioned apartment and finally arrived at your desired destination: a shitty piece of forest in the middle of nowhere that’s home to a battle between the sweltering temperatures and the determination of thousands of mosquitoes to make you want to throw yourself into the campfire. You survey the grounds with a similar expression as you would when you open the door to a disgusting motel room and see a 7 dollar hooker chain-smoking on the bed.
Step 4: The Tent
It’s simply remarkable to me that we, as a society, can construct flawless million dollar homes but manufacturers are stumped at the prospect of making a tent that doesn’t require the precision of a surgeon and the patience of a bus driver to set up. Seriously, my neighbor at home as an indoor pool with a retractable cover that operates with one button and I’m trying to get these goddamn stakes into the ground while stretching a cheap piece of nylon over a bunch of primitive metal sticks that won’t stay together. As you stare at the heap of posts and material on the ground you’ll find the similar question creeping into your mind once again, “Why the fuck am I going camping?”
Step 5: Drink Till It’s Comfy
Most people will give you a list of things that are fun to do while plastered. Camping is on a more exclusive list of things that are ONLY enjoyable if you’re bombed. This is the key to overcoming the first 4 steps I’ve described above. Don’t waste any time with manners or societal expectations: the minute your car comes to a halt on that crappy gravel road, you better have a beer open. I arrived at the campsite at 8 p.m. and was drunkenly squirting lighter fluid into the fire by 9:30. Roughly 40 beers later, I am looking back fondly at an amazingly amusing weekend with some pretty awesome people.