I Hate Camping

I remember the day with startling clarity. It was the day that I finally accepted my disdain for camping. I was in the mountains of New Mexico, gazing out across a picturesque valley with a deep blue lake surrounded by lush pine. The water was sparkling in the sun like a thousand white diamonds while a cool breeze caressed my face… and I was elbow-deep in nasty, tepid, grey water… washing dishes.

“I think I hate camping.” I said to my friend who was sunning herself on a nearby picnic table. Now, to convey the actual weight of this statement coming out of my mouth you must understand something. My ex and I owned a camper. A REAL camper, loaded down with all of the trappings for camp life… from the fireside cookware to the pump-it-yourself travel toilet (which never got used anyway because no one wanted to clean it). And the friend that I was speaking to was one-half of the couple that we always camped with.

“Seriously?” she asked me. “You don’t like camping!?” Her voice raised an octave and cracked as though I had just confided in her that I was, in reality, a Russian spy working undercover in America’s desert southwest.

“Yes. Yes I do.” I said matter-of-factly with a growing air of confidence. “I mean, look at us. We are on VA-CA-TION (said extra slowly and loudly for maximum emphasis and effect). We took actual time off from work to come all the way up here, set up camp, don filthy flannel and sport greasy hair only to do DISHES in nasty water, sit in the dirt and stare at one another. IT’S WORK. It’s all work (again with the slow yelling for effect). And I can be doing this WORK at home. Except that at least there I have hot running water and an actual toilet that flushes and clean, soft things in which to wear, sit and sleep on!”

She sat on the picnic table staring at me in utter shock and disbelief while I poured out my dirty little confession. I didn’t care if she disagreed. I didn’t care if I offended her. It was my moment. My epiphany. WHY must I love camping? Who decided that humans should just LUUUUUUUV camping? Because it sure as hell seems like everybody does. Or at least that’s what they tell you. It’s what they want you to believe so that you will think they’re this outdoorsy, tree-hugging, adventurous individual capable of just “goin’ with the flow” and bein’ “one” with nature… Well, it’s a load of crap. And if they think it, they should just admit it. Like I did on that day.

It was a thing of beauty I tell you. Making peace with the fact that I did NOT enjoy this thing that I was supposed to enjoy and not being afraid to say so.

So today, for anyone reading this, I’m going on public record and proclaiming that I DON’T LIKE CAMPING!!! Why should I set up an entire HOME outdoors when I already have one indoors? Why should I wash my dishes in gross, tepid water, carry a damp roll of toilet paper under one arm and a shovel under the other while trotting off to the bushes to “do my business,” sleep downhill with my head or other critical body parts on a rock (when tent camping at least), schlup around camp all dirty and smelly with nappy hair and covered in scratches and bruises from aforementioned bush-peeing or rock-sleeping? Hmmmm?

I love to do all SORTS of outdoorsy things. Fishing, hiking, mountain climbing, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, SCUBA diving… the list goes on. In fact I’ll try just about anything… once. But when I am done with my adventure for the day, I want to order dinner from a menu and for someone else to set said dinner on a warm plate in front me. I want to sleep in a fresh bed surrounded by endless, fluffly layers of down-filled goodness. I want a hot shower and clean underwear. I don’t think this is too much to ask.

In one way or another, if you are going away somewhere, camping or otherwise, you are most likely taking time off from work, packing your things, and spending money. Therefore, why shouldn’t my precious time and money be spent paying SOMEONE ELSE to do the dishes?


20 thoughts on “I Hate Camping

  1. Tara Canestraro says:

    Love this – reminds of the time I told friends I hated skiing. Feel the same way – it is work!
    Keep em coming- Love that I am greeted every morning with Coffee and Joanna!

  2. Yeah, I’ve never understood camping. I love nature and the great outdoors. And I don’t even mind the cooking bit, but I need a bug-free, climate-controlled sanctuary at the end of the day.

  3. Marie says:

    I SOOOOOOO Agree with you on this!!!!!!!!!!!! I do not understand the whole “Camping” idea. Why leave the comfort of you home to live in a camper? I have friends who camp and they are packing up every weekend to go camping…. I say stay home and do not waste all of the time packing and unpacking.

  4. I must THANK you for writing this! It seems that admitting your disdain for the great outdoors is so taboo… I’ve always been afraid to say it haha! Well it’s the truth – I also hate camping. Very well done Joanna:)

  5. Deletrius says:

    Exactly! My mom loves to camp and so do a lot of my friends. I hate it! It’s just NOT my thing, and people look at me weird because I’m that athletic type, and it just seems to go with my personality. But nope. I’m a city girl. I like to go to people’s lake houses and have a little fun and all but when it comes to going to sleep, I want a nice, clean bed! Funny post 🙂

  6. I completely get this! I often find myself receiving that look of shock and horror when people find out that I hate to camp- you know the one where they make you feel like there’s a flesh-consuming alien growing out of your forehead that you are blissfully unaware of?

    Glad that I’m not alone!!

  7. Heather says:

    As someone who LUUUUVVVSSSSS camping, let me say this: I totally get where you’re coming from. I do, I really do. And I don’t think you’re weird or unenlightened for not liking camping. Because it IS stupid to leave the comfort of your house only to set up shop in another, smaller, less convenient house 100 miles away. What is the point?

    That being said, I like REAL camping, i.e. backpacking, where the only items you get are those you can carry on your back. Where you don’t bother with toilet paper because you have leaves, and you don’t bother washing dishes because you eat straight out of the dehydrated-meal packet (dishes only create unnecessary weight in your pack!). I don’t like backpacking because it’s easy or fun or relaxing, I like it because it’s a challenge. I love to see how few material things I need to survive. It’s not really a vacation for me, it’s a triumph. And when I get back from a trip, I usually high-tail it to the spa for some REAL R&R.

    So I 100% understand why you hate camping. It’s not usually a vacation and it shouldn’t be treated as such.I’m on your side with this, friend!

    • “where you don’t bother with toilet paper because you have leaves, and you don’t bother washing dishes because you eat straight out of the dehydrated-meal packet.”

      That sounds horrible!

      • You two are funny. I can see both sides. IF I’m going to camp, I’d rather do the total roughing it thing b/c then it is a new experience and not as much about the work. But I’d STILL rather have the fluffy pillows, warm meals and NOT do any of the work!

  8. I love and totally relate to this. My dad used to take my brother and I camping when we were small. When I was about 12, I finally broke down in tears and said I loathed it and made him promise never to take me again. All of the reasons you wrote were what I thought. Also, I hated being cold. And all the spiders and mosquitoes. Yay civilization!

  9. I laughed outloud…AGAIN. I know I have already read this but it is so right on. I also know that you have heard your mother complain AND your grandmother about this very topic. But you capture so well the essence of “camp hating”. I love hiking and mountain climbing etc., but one needs the modern ammenities at the close of the day. great job, again.

      • I Love camping. Yes I am from the other side. *scary wolf howl* I like the fresh air, the smell of trees, the streams and the quiet nights. But I do wash my hair daily with a large plastic basin. I have to get the water from the clean clear waters and heat in a kettle over the fire and fill the basin with about half and half with the cold water. I use a coffee cup and scoop away with my head in the basin. Clean hair has a real invigorating affect on me. And baby wipes for other areas. All the basin in big enough to sit in. There are standing toilets to sit on that are easy to clean. They have a plastic bag. I suppose something more environmentally friendly would be better. There are specialty stores that have multitudes of ideas to make your camping enjoyable. With all that said…..we bought a motorhome. LOL Greatest gift we gave ourselves. We are leaving the house behind.and moving into the “Moving House”. 35 feet of all the amenities. Shower, toilet, queen size bed and these beautiful hidden valance lighting. The point is. When you really love the feeling of the breeze and fresh air you will search and strive to make it comfortable. If it is really important to you to sleep in real quiet without the sirens and the tv blaring the news. Remembering what we really are. Creatures of the earth.

        • Hi Cindy! Thank you for stopping by and for commenting 🙂 Your new adventure on wheels sounds exciting! I always love when people trade in their traditional lives for something unconventional and adventurous. I just prefer to stay in a hotel or cabin instead of a tent or camper 😉 Best of luck to you in your new endeavor! I too love the outdoors and being in the outdoors…

  10. Shawdiane says:

    HEY! THANK YOU ,,, I TOO HATE CAMPING & AGREE WITH ALL OF YOUR REASONS! I have only ever camped once & that was far too much. Never Again. As they say, a holiday is a week or two of rest & luxury away from home & that is what I have. I was only a child when I had to suffer my two weeks & I was never as glad to get back home as from ‘that camping experience’ & it was a luxury park. I have travelled to India, Moroco, China & seen & experienced ‘some things’ in my holiday experience’s. But nothing has ever come near to ‘camping’. Camping is cramping, in body & style !

  11. Amanda says:

    Well, well, well. Finally, someone is speaking my language. I just got back from the living hell that is tent camping on a long weekend. I am Canadian (which makes camp-hate all the more taboo) and a group of us all do an annual trip. After years of silent screaming while not sleeping all night and peeing in the bush, dirty, cold and reeling with self pity, I finally said it 2 years ago, “I hate camping! I don’t get it. I don’t want to do it and I think a lot of people feel the same way but are too scared to deal with the looks of distain”. I still go…once a year but no longer fake it. I make cracks during camp pack up, “this is awesome! I can see why you love this!” or when my husband has to rush outside in the middle of the night in his underwear in the rain to secure the fly on our tent, “so fun, right?”. Once a year.

    • Well, well, well Amanda… It is so nice to meet a fellow camping-hater! Thank you for commenting and sharing your thoughts and experiences on the matter 🙂 I apologize for the late reply. I have been on a non-camping vacation for a week and since been recovering from said vacation so I am just now getting around to tending to the blog again. It is SO nice to know that I am not alone in my disdain for this thing that I am “suppose” to love. Good for you once a year. Once a year. Keep it at that… at the most. 😛

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