A few weeks ago I had 17 entire glorious days off from work to do whatever I pleased. My plans for this time off were a mix of travel, staycation and me time – a perfect combination! The first weekend, the fella and I went down to Portland to celebrate our anniversary (more on Portland later – but in a nutshell, it’s everything you’ve heard and more!), I had some time off to pamper myself (including a visit to Bombay Brow Bar) and I also went on my first real camping trip as an adult. Though I was very excited to try tent camping again – the first time since I was in Girl Guides! – as the weekend of the trip came nearer, I began to get anxious about how I would survive being in the “great outdoors” for two whole days and nights without all the comforts of modern living like my television and, oh yeah, plumbing.
If you haven’t already guessed, I am not an avid outdoors-woman. Far from it in fact, but there were a few reasons I decided to push myself outside my normal limits and agree to go camping. First, I live in a beautiful part of the world (British Columbia, Canada) where it is considered a crime to not enjoy the outdoors in some form. Since the only way I normally do this is the occasional walk on the beach (drinks on a patio on a hot sunny day don’t count!), I felt I had to see what I was missing out on. Second, camping is something my fella enjoys a few times a year, I had to at least try to see if this was something he and I could enjoy together in the future. Last, my friend Gina who is about as picky as me when it comes to things like personal comfort assured me the outhouses in this campground were immaculate. So, if Gina was ok with it, I thought I could be too!
There were a few things that I did to prepare myself best for the trip (other than the inner pep talk I gave myself that this is how people used to live before running water, electricity and so on). I am all about feeling at ease and comfortable in situations that I am not used to, so here are my three ways to get comfortable and survive camping:
1. Bring the comforts of home with you.
Whatever this means to you, bring it! For me it was my super awesome memory foam pillow on top of a fantastic air-filled mattress. You see, I have neck and back issues and there is no less fun way to enjoy a night or two away from home as there is waking up with a stiff neck and sore back. So I made sure I had something comfortable to sleep on.
Other items that kept me comfortable and warm were a blanket to wear when sitting around the campfire, tights to go under yoga pants or jeans to stay extra toasty, a hat to coverup the bad hair you will inevitably get since there are no showers, and mittens if the mornings or evenings are extra cold.
2. Bring the necessities.
While planning to get comfortable and cozy with the camping experience, don’t forget every campers list of essentials. I found a great list via Glamping Girl but some of the key items you don’t want to forget are insect spray (sorry to break it to you but there are bugs outside!), a first aid kit, sunscreen and toilet paper. Thankfully I did not need the toilet paper since our outhouse was so clean and well stocked, but it is one of those things you will not regret bringing if you do ever need it!
3. Bring something that helps you relax.
Whether this is your favourite bottle of wine (hello Hester Creek Pinot Gris!), trashy tabloid magazines (guilty!), your iPad to watch a movie before bed (who cares what the hardcore campers say!), or all of the above, make sure you bring something that helps you relax and thus enjoy your trip more. Yes, you are outside in nature and should enjoy the sounds and sights, but if that does not kick in immediately, you will want something to help you ease into the unique experience that camping is.
So, did my three rules help me survive my first tent camping trip as an adult? They did and more! In a nutshell, I truly enjoyed camping – so much so that I am looking forward to the next trip, whenever that might be. The overall (lady) lesson here? Don’t hold yourself back from experiences that you may not jump at the chance for – you might be surprised at what you could enjoy if you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone once in a while!