Camping is FUN-ish
Camping is a process though, and for the most part, we’ve got a routine and genuinely enjoy camping with our kids.
So far this summer we’ve been camping twice. Our big week-long adventure is coming up around the corner very soon.
All that being said, our experience this summer has been the epitome of bad camping.
This wry parenting post is sponsored by “Sometimes the Things You Love, Suck.”
Let’s define bad camping by sharing all the things that we’ve encountered so far this summer:
1 – Hordes of Disease-Ridden Ravenous Mosquitoes
Demonic winged beasts that swoop down and plunge their proboscis into your arm, face, neck, leg or any bare, and sometimes even clothed, flesh.
Mosquito problems are made worse by children who don’t quite grasp the concept of “CLOSE THE DOOR BEHIND YOU”. Ever.
Not at home or camping. Not in the bathroom. Never.
So when the baby wakes up, or you wake up, or anyone wakes up, they have the tell-tale signs of a mosquito-gone-wild all over their body.
You can hear the mosquitoes gathering speed and numbers just overhead right at the time you’d love to be outside enjoying the last dregs of the sun-drenched afternoon.
2 – Inescapable Heat and Humidity
Speaking of sun-drenched – for those of you not in the know, Wisconsin and Minnesota are generally thought to have four seasons, the whole spectrum of weather.
The truth is, MN and WI have “lesser winter”, “greater winter”, “lesser winter part two”, and “road construction”.
During road construction, there’s not much difference between these two states and say, Florida. Well except no ocean or Orlando, and fewer retirees.
The humidity: sweat down your forehead, soak your bra, thigh chafing, horribleness.
The heat seeps into your body and turns normally rational humans into cranky, raving lunatics on the edge.
You will not sleep, and a sheen of sweat will cover you from head to toe. Yucky.
The only escape is praying for a cold front or making your own by sitting in the climate-controlled vehicle that you drove to your site in.
3 – Thunderstorms of Fury
I definitely have a love-hate relationship with thunderstorms. I LOVE to watch them, I’m fascinated by the cloud formations, lightning and thunder are awesome.
If I’m in a house.
With a basement.
When I’m camping, it doesn’t matter how well my anxiety is controlled, I’m probably sitting in the car or wishing I was.
Thunderstorms in a tent are pretty much hell.
The wind picks up, the walls of your tent sway, you start to wonder if there are any branches above you that you should’ve checked out before getting in the tent.
It sort of seems like the world is ending when it pours hard enough that all the tent sealing in the world isn’t stopping it from basically raining on you INSIDE the tent.
Fun family adventure is not your first thought while you are texting your husband to stop chatting with the extended family and get back to the tent RIGHT NOW because you are freaking out over the bombastically loud thunder cracks echoing over the lake.
Camping reaches a new level of ‘not ideal’ when you have to pee so bad, but it is literally pissing rain. There ain’t no way you are making it to the bathroom, so you end up sticking your tail just far enough out the door that you end up peeing all over the outside of the tent.
To top it all off, now everything is wet. Everything.
4 – Wet Camping
Wet camping needs to have its own bad camping placeholder. Wet camping is the absolute worst. Your sleeping bags are wet. The ground is wet. Thankfully, the foam floor tiles (Amazon affiliate link- see here for more details) you picked up are keeping everything dry on the ground inside the tent, but underneath that – wet.
The stuff in camp is wet.
Your fire may be unstartable because it’s wet. Try to put your wood somewhere dry if you know it’s going to rain.
The kids are wet.
Your dog is wet.
Worst of the worst is when you have to pack up and everything is still freaking wet.
Because now you have to put it all back together at your house just to let it dry out again.
5 – The Hammock Incident – A Case Study on Camp Safety
All the above stuff is pretty normal summer camping fodder in these parts. Most of the time, you don’t end up experiencing ALL of those things in one weekend. Or, if you’re really lucky like us, you experience them all both times you take a weekend to go camping.
On our most recent trip, we added some new memories to our extensive repertoire.
While camping with my friends, we always try to put up our little camp hammock to have a place to just relax if it’s nice out. I got this thing for approximately 15 bucks at an outdoor store, years ago.
It’s one of those sweet little additions that my husband usually puts up for me, and this time wasn’t any different.
He guffawed and warned me that it might not hold he wasn’t ‘sure’. But I watched him lay on it, and I know he weighs more than I do.
It was clearly fine.
On Friday evening, after a day of setting up camp and getting settled in with six adults and 11 small children, I decided to take a few minutes and hang out on the hammock before it was time for dinner.
While sitting there, sitting with a drink in my hand and not a single important thought in my head, the ill-fated rope that my husband had so lovingly tied for me, unknotted.
Much to my surprise and dismay, my ass hit the ground so fast my head was spinning.
Unfortunately, I already have a sciatic nerve issue and when I hit, my sciatic nerve exploded in pain.
So I iced my butt and tried to ignore it. Then, I went and laid in the tent on our awesome new Thermarest mattresses (affiliate link) and tried to roll over. The pain hit an 8. As someone who recently evacuated a child from her lady bits, an 8 on the pain scale was concerning. I couldn’t draw my legs up toward my chest.
I couldn’t get onto my hands and knees without feeling agony in my rump.
For the first time in camping history, I had to go to urgent care. My dear friend Jen took me, and there were lots of jokes about butts and lots of limping.
It’s just bruised, thankfully, but my sciatic nerve sure took a beating and is still hurting.
Moral of that story? Don’t let your husband tie the knot for your hammock unless you really trust him.
The Butt of Every Joke
It was inevitable, but I am now the official butt of every joke from that camping trip. Probably for the foreseeable future.
To add funny insult to injury, I subsequently received a package in the mail from an anonymous campmate, containing a lovely set of hammock straps and carabiners. No butts left behind.
She also included this lovely note:
My friends are jerk faces. I love them dearly.
Camping is not always fun, but it is always memorable.
Please let our vacation go better.
What is your camping nemesis? Wet, hot, bugs — let me know in the comments!