Filed under: Family Camping
The Economics of Camping
I almost didn’t write this blog entry, but the more I thought about it, the more I knew I needed to do it. After my last entry about our backyard test run, there were some comments from experienced campers about the quality of our tents. I have read similar comments on various forums and blogs. Some experienced campers like to lecture new campers about the “quality” (read this as expensive) equipment they should own. Through the experience of preparing to tent camp, I have learned to keep the main thing the main thing. Enjoying time as a family, not owning expensive equipment, is the main thing.
Just before the Woodall’s blog launched this year, my husband, the sole wage earner in our family, found out that he would be losing his job. Before getting this news, our intention was to purchase a pop-up camper or lightweight travel trailer and hit the road every chance we got. Yes, we want to see God’s great outdoors, and yes, we want to enjoy the amenities that campgrounds have to offer. (I mentioned in my very first post that we are citified, and I meant it!) Because of the turn of events in our lives, we had to find a more economical way to do those things. Tent camping has been the answer.
I didn’t include these personal details for sympathy. So many others are in the same position. We have shifted gears and adjusted well. We are totally okay with the fact that our vacation this year may very well be spent in a tent. (Fees for a tent camping site are so much less expensive than a hotel room.) I tend to be a “pull yourself up by the boot straps” kind of gal. I can see that half-full glass almost every time. I see this situation we find ourselves in now as a blessing. Through camping, we will spend more time together. We are already learning to work better together. When we got our new tent recently, and we were putting it up for the very first time, my husband and I didn’t get agitated at one another at all. I didn’t even get mad when he refused to read the directions. That is a miracle!
I have been pleasantly surprised at how little money we have had to spend to get started camping. Granted, we already had a tent and sleeping bags to get us going, but we haven’t had to spend a whole lot of money to round out our camping gear. Is our new tent of the finest quality? No. We got the best one we could afford. It will keep us reasonably protected from the elements so that we will be well rested for bird watching, fishing, hiking, swimming, and spending quality time as a family. I am glad that we didn’t wait until we could afford all of the camping niceties that are available to start camping. We are just getting out there to be together.
I said all of this to say that I hope others of you who have hit a rough patch during this challenging economy will consider tent camping. I think we would be hard pressed to find a more family friendly activity that creates fond memories that our children will treasure for a lifetime.