Hi my name is DadCAMP and I suck at camping.
When I first started this blog, it was meant to be a way to get dads together for ‘playdates.’ As a new father, I was frustrated that I couldn’t attend many of the local networking events, ‘Camps,’ because I was at home looking after my son. I took the unconference model and applied it to parenting, creating meetups for dads on the weekend where we could meet, network, share business and parenting ideas. DadCAMP is what I called it.
While DadCAMP has been a success and grown, I still suck at camping.
I mean, I like the adventures of going out with my boys to the wilderness, but I’m just not really good at the camping part. Our tent is a few year’s old and very flimsy. It doesn’t do well in wind or rain. I can’t tell you how to tie various knots, I can’t trouble shoot a fire, I don’t have a closet full of MEC clothing.
I’m a city slicker. While I grew up camping in my tweens, I never continued it through my youth and into adulthood.
But my boys love it. And I love the idea of unplugging and getting out to nature. My boys are different when they’re at a campground. They listen, they share, they help. It’s a good time.
But I still suck at it.
Take for example this weekend’s adventure. We had 2 choices: camp in the mountains, or camp at a lake. With the temperature forecast near 30, I steered the boys to pick the lake. We packed up our gear, and headed 2 hours north.
When we got to the campground, the site was covered in large, pebbly gravel. Fine if you’re in a trailer, or RV, not so fine if you’re in a tent sleeping on nothing but thin rubber mats.
I thought it would be okay, so we popped up the tent and went to the lake.
You have to know you’re at a different kind of campground when there is a horseshoe pit and people have their own horseshoes to play in the pit. When we got back to the campsite and started to get ready for dinner, I knew things would go sideways. There was loud laughing coming from the site 2 spots over. It was a double campsite with half a dozen tents and twice as many camp chairs in a circle. Big shirtless guys were loudly arguing over scorekeeping for some wood toss game, while the women cheered and howled.
We were in a party camp. The kind of campground where people go to relive drunken high school bush parties instead of taking a time out to get back to nature.
I wasn’t about to toss and turn all night long listening to the parties while trying to find a comfortable pebble to lean on. I told the boys if we bolted, I’d set the tent up in the backyard and make them ‘smores on the barbecue. It was a deal.
So, for the 4th time in 2 years, I ‘uncamped.’ Uncamping happens when you go to a campsite, do all the activities at the campground, but come home and slept in my own bed. I love everything about camping – the nature, the campfire, the ‘smores, the wildlife, the crisp air, but I don’t like the camping part.
We’ve packed up the tent and supplies for the year. The weather is getting cooler and this city slicker isn’t in the mood for subzero sleeping bags. Next spring, I will reserve spots at our favorite campgrounds starting on Father’s Day weekend. I just wonder if we will actually camp at any of them.