For the Love of Camping

Posted 5 May, 2015 by Trish in Life, Road Trip, Travel / 39 Comments

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for the love of camping

The other day I mentioned allowing myself to live on whimsy for a little while. After I mentioned planning a camping trip, someone asked me if this would allow me that whimsy-living time. This gave me a bit of a pause because camping is a lot of work. It’s a lot of work get prepare for the trip–it’s not as though you can just run out to the market if you’ve forgotten something (depending on where you are camping). It’s a lot of work during the trip–oh goodness gracious is camping a lot of work. And it’s a lot of work coming home from camping–just trying to get rid of that campfire smell is work enough!

But despite my tendencies to stress-out easily over silly things, I absolutely love camping and the freedom I feel.

I didn’t grow up in a camping family. I attended a few church camps over the years and loved those trips, but my dad’s joke is that his idea of camping is staying at a Holiday Inn. We experienced a lot as kids, but camping as a family was not one of them. It wasn’t until Scott and I were just barely married that I camped for the first time in a tent, and I absolutely fell in love.

Since that first camping trip, we’ve taken a few others with my mom, sisters, and brother as well as other camping trips just as a couple. After we had kids, we knew we didn’t want to camp under the stars with little ones (big huge kuddos to those families who do it with little ones!), so we cut our camping until two years ago when we borrowed a camper. I’ve shared a bit of our huge camping trip we took last year, and I’m already looking forward to some of the camping we have planned for this year. While it isn’t always sunshine and roses camping with little ones, I’m hoping that we can pass on our love of outdoors and camping with them.

Things I Love About Camping

I could tell you all about the park that we visited (Lake Bob Sandlin, about two hours east of Dallas), but I thought I’d share what I love about camping instead.

Dining Alfresco Makes Everything Tastier
camping breakfast

Here’s where we are a little spoiled with the camper–though we cook everything outside, we don’t have to worry about refrigeration or storage. But even before we had “real” plates and silverware, camp meals have always been so delicious. Chili, hobo packs, fajitas, burgers, pancakes and bacon. There’s nothing like tucking into a good meal in the open.


Nature. Everywhere.

We won’t mention the smell of bug spray or how filthy we might be by the end of the day. Ok, or the allergies that plague us. Being surrounded by nature has such a calming and refreshing effect.


Being Unconnected
swing time

Sometimes it’s tough to escape the internet, even on phones, but I love the feeling of being absolutely focused in the right here and now while we are camping. When we retreat to the campground, it’s amazing how all of my other worries and concerns just disappear.


Messy Hands = Happy Hearts

Digging in dirt, bubbles spilled all over hands, sticky drippy ice cream, layers of bug spray and sunscreen. Sweat. No one cares!


cooking s'mores

I’ve been teaching Elle the art to perfectly roasting a marshmallow. I like mine caught just a little on fire…several times.


Together Time

As a family we normally spend quite a bit time together, but this is time together without distractions. There are chores that need to be done, but we all chip in and help. But mostly, we can simply enjoy each other’s company and have a silly good time.


No Schedules, No Time-lines

No set time to eat breakfast. No agenda for the day. Lots of room for improvisation. Dinner is served whenever it is cooked. Bedtime? What? While camping can be a lot of work (how many damn trips do I have to take back and forth to get all of the food ready for Scott to cook!), there is something so relaxing about letting go of the regular daily worries. I don’t experience this on any other kind of vacation. So does camping allow me to experience whimsy-time? Absolutely.

Now if I could just recover from all that laundry!!

Do you camp? What do you love about camping?


39 Responses to “For the Love of Camping”

  1. I’m with your Dad on this one, over here in New Zealand everyone is camping mad except for me, nothing less than 5 poor children few up so deprived!

  2. That last picture of you and the girls is so perfect!
    I must confess, I have never been camping because I always thought I wouldn’t like it. I’ve been slowly changing my mind however and I’ll be going to a festival this summer, and that means camping in the English countryside for three days. I’m so excited!

  3. Kay

    My family was not a camping family until I was in my late teens. By then, I was kind of ick about the whole thing. So, for me, not just a Holiday Inn, more like a 4 or 5 star hotel. Thank you very much! However, your pictures are lovely and you guys look like you are having a wonderful time. I did those church camps too and also went along when our girl was a teen. Hmmm…I still didn’t like the outdoor life all that much. :-)

  4. Laura

    I always forget how much work camping is until we start packing the truck up with ALL. THE. STUFF!!! It is really fun, and something we plan to do frequently with our kids, but it isn’t the relaxing weekend that I always picture it will be in my head. I think the next time we go, I’m going to be asking you for some good camping recipes, because we always do the really basic things, and I think it’s time to branch out :) I love the picture of you and your girls!

    • ALLLLLLL THE STUFFFFFFFF. OMG so much stuff. :) I picked up a camp recipe book last year but haven’t looked at it too much yet. For breakfast we do typical breakfast stuff (pancakes are easy enough with mix and water…nothing from scratch when we camp!), lunch is usually sandwiches, dinner is usually burgers/hotdogs, fajitas, BBQ, or sometimes I’ll make dinner at home and bring it with us to heat up (chili or stew or spaghetti). I fear it’s getting to hot to camp again this summer (at least here), but wouldn’t it be fun to camp together in the fall?? I bet our kids would love it!

      • So much stuff to camp! Even when you have a permanent camper at a campsite, it still felt like the entire car was stuffed every time. But camping, so much fun! love and miss it.

  5. I have to confess that I am not big on the idea of camping, but your girls look so happy and D has been asking lately…I might have to reexamine my thoughts about that!

  6. Beautiful photos, but I’m with your Dad. When I was a Girl Scout leader, the saying was always “Mrs. S is a HOTEL camper!” We did a couple of lodges and even spent the night at the Franklin Institute in Philly… but no tents for me ;-)

  7. As usual, I love your photos! :)
    Rich and I have camped since before we were married. All our kiddos love camping, and always have. We’re completely tent people though. And that’s how we camped even when the kids were little sprouts. Though we never took any of them camping as a baby (before walking). But tent camping was never a problem with toddlers, so I don’t think kudos are in order. Maybe it’s just that tent camping is all we’ve ever known. Unfortunately, only four of us can go camping at once these days (unless it’s somewhere fairly close to home so we can make two trips) because we only have one small car, and it’s impossible to fit 5 adult-size people, tents, sleeping bags, coolers, etc. all in the car. :(

    • Evie was about 7 months the first time we took her camping and I’ve learned some since then…like we could have used a pack and play for outside since she wasn’t even really crawling at that point! I didn’t know where exactly to put her down when we were busy cooking. But I can’t imagine getting any sleep with kids in a tent! It’s a struggle as it is. :) But I’m glad that we share a love of camping, Debi!

  8. I have to say I am not a lover of camping, the very few times I’ve done it, the only thing I liked was the “absolute” being together without distractions. My eldest son loves it, and he’s very primative about it. (dehydrating food and all). Can’t understand him, I always thought he’d be a Hilton five star kind of guy. Enjoy you trips.

  9. Yeah, I’m not a camping gal. I’ve done it with a tent and I’ve done it a few times in a camper. Although the camper made it tolerable, I’m still not a huge fan. Bugs, dirt, sunscreen, dirt, bug spray, dirt. Did I mention dirt? This OCD-suffering lady cannot handle that!

    However, I do see the appeal and can totally understand why people love it so much. Your pictures say it all!

  10. I’ve never been camping. Between the allergies, my fear of the dark, and all the creatures one might encounter, I just can’t do it. My friends went camping a couple years back with me, and came back talking about how they had slept on a scorpion’s nest unwittingly, plus it rained. I shudder just thinking about that scenario.

  11. I am not a camper. Every time I’ve gone camping something has gone terribly wrong. Last time I had to be flied back home with a horrible allergic reaction (to this day we don’t know to what) and even ended up being hospitalized. I’m afraid I am more of a chalet person and even then. Love my garden but just can’t deal with camping :/

  12. I wish I loved camping the way you do. My dad was always big into camping and we went often when I was growing up. I enjoyed it to an extent–oh, how I loved being able to wander off on my own, lost in my thoughts–either to read or to write or just take in the sights! The food, the restless nights from sleeping on the hard ground (I always ended up sleeping on a rock in the worst of places no matter how much we cleared the ground before setting up the tent) and freezing in my sleeping bag, the bathroom issue . . . Those things I never took a liking to. My dad used to say camping wasn’t camping unless you were in a tent or out under the stars–no mattresses or cots. All that took away from the meaning of “real” camping. LOL (Oh, and can I say how resentful I felt when my parents began using a mattress in the tent after my brother and I were no longer camping with them? What happened to “real” camping, Dad?! Haha).

    My husband and I have talked about renting a cabin on the lake, but it’s been all about the thinking and less about the doing. Ho hum. Someday. This year we are going to the beach for our vacation. I wanted to stay at a hotel on the beach, but financially it wasn’t practical. A girl can dream, right? Anyway, it will be fun just the same. We aren’t straying too far from home, but at least it will be AWAY.

  13. Oh gosh, I’m not a camper. Too much with the creepy crawlies and the dirty-ness. Hubs and I are indoor people on the whole, LOL. I’m glad your family has such a blast with it, though. That’s fabulous!

  14. I love camping. I grew up camping on an island in a tent for many weeks out of every summer. No electricity, no nothing. It was so much fun. I bet we ran back to land every other day for ice and stuff. We finally fixed our camper, so I’m hoping we can take it out a lot this year. I’d love to try camping WITHOUT the kids again tho.

  15. Yes, yes, and yes to all your reasons. I love camping and used to go occasionally when I was growing up. But it wasn’t until I was dating my now husband that I really embraced it. We’ve camped all over Montana, South Dakota, Alabama, etc. We always have fun and everything seems like an adventure.

  16. Yes, the prep, the pack, and the post (put away and get it ready to do ALL over again). But the CAMP-TIME is… sit around and wonder. Wonder at nature, the weather, the what-to-dos… It’s a LOT like boat time. YAY!

  17. Edie Godin

    No camping for us; my parents bought a cabin on Lake Superior shortly after I was born and that’s where we spent every weekend from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. It had cold running water and an outhouse… but it also had a perfect sandy beach and water which was crystal clear no matter how deep you went. We had bonfires and marshmallows at least once a weekend, usually Saturday night, and fresh caught perch for dinner. My mom learned to fillet fish out of need – there were six of us and she didn’t have time to do it while we ate.

    It was a wonderful, laid-back way to grow up and I didn’t know how lucky I was until much later.

  18. Ti

    I like my marshmallows burnt too.

    We talked before but I could never do camping with the fam. Nope. NO way. We did Yosemite at a lodge and there were lots and lots of complaints. I could, however, go off on my own and have no problem. Well, maybe I’d be freaked over wild animals and stinging biting bugs but the solitude, the outdoors, and the overall sense of peace. I would love that.

  19. I’ve camped twice. Growing up my mom was like your dad so we never camped. I hate eating outside even picnics. Never fails that leaves fall into my food. The two camping trips I’ve been on were ok. I liked sleeping outdoors. In fact, Tai and I have thought about sleeping in our backyard. But going tent camping hasn’t appealed to us.

  20. Susan in TX

    I’m pretty much a hotel camper. That said, I do enjoy it when we go (which is rare and rarer). I basically do nothing but enjoy it – DH does all the cooking/washing up. Kids help him set up/tear down. The problem is that it is too stinkin’ HOT in Texas to camp in the summer (which is when we have the most time). Fall sports tend to tie up the good weekends then, and spring allergies for some of mine make it too miserable to go. Now, if we had a camper, where we could stay inside and read with the A/C going….okay, clearly, I’m not cut out for it that much. ;)

  21. Trish, I just read your “about me” page, and I just wanted to tell you that I LOVE how your blog includes snippets of your life. Who are blogging experts anyway? What do they know (and their advice to find a niche)! To quote Mark Darcy from Bridget Jones Diary –“I like you very much, just as you are”.
    Now…about camping….. I’ll have to get back to you on that. LOL

  22. No, I’m not particularly fond of camping. Your dad’s joke is actually mine! Only I say “three star hotel” rather than Holiday Inn :) The bizarre thing, though, is that I rather like prepping for a camping trip. There’s something very appealing about making sure we’ll have everything we need on the trip. But that’s where my enjoyment ends!

  23. Aw, you make it look like fun! I can do camping if a cabin is involved (is that still camping?) I feel too old for it now- sleeping on the ground, the bugs. No. Plus, I get terrible allergies from sleeping in a tent. It takes the pleasure out of it. :( A camper though, I might be able to do. Maybe.

    • Sure cabins count as camping!! And I don’t sleep on the ground either. Even when we were tent camping (years ago), there was a very plush air mattress involved. Now there’s a queen mattress (and blow-up for the girls), couches, AC/heat, and a working bathroom. I’m not even sure I could count the camper as camping either. ;)

  24. All those reasons you mentioned are exactly why I love to travel. We’re hoping to get a trailer in a couple of years (we’re looking at the Casita, Escape, Oliver and Scamp). Just got a Chevy Silverado, so we can tow any of these small trailers. Getting excited for retirement!

    • Scott would LOVE a Casita! They’re built so well (and just a little south of Dallas!)…though too small for our crew. You’ll love camping with a trailer!

      • We plan to visit the factory/showroom next spring when we come down to visit Amy. It’s in Rice, as I recall. Yep, not quite big enough for a family of 4, but perfect for the 2 of us. :)

  25. I have only been camping a few times, at a campground with a trailer, but I enjoyed it. It’s so much work to get ready, so I have been glad to be invited along on the trips planned by others. I love the eating outside and being disconnected the most.

  26. I have a confession – I’ve never been camping! I like going outdoors but then I like going back indoors for all the comforts. You make this sound so fun though. Especially the part about being disconnected. I think we all need to do that a bit more! :) Thank you for sharing the pics – you guys all look like you are having tons of fun!

  27. You touched on all of it! I did grow up in a camping family & went to Ricket’s Glen state park in northern Pennsylvania several times a year. Loved it! When I was newly married we bought a popup camper & eventually a travel trailer. Can’t wait to go again and I loved hearing about your experiences and memories

  28. Wonderful photos Trish. Although I no longer camp per se, I do enjoy staying over at rustic cabins and hiking etc. The back country is extensive here. I think camping is a great way to unplug and just enjoy family and nature.

  29. I admire you for taking little ones camping. I had way too much anxiety when they were that little. I won’t tell you the crazy things that went through my head because I don’t want them in your head but it was crippling. But I do miss food eaten in the great outdoors and the time to just relax. Once you get there, that is!