Joe’s 3 Theories of Summer Camping

sunAfter 3 days of camping, BBQs and lots of hot sun, I have come up with 3 important theories. There are those who will argue I came up with them after a mild case of heat stroke or after drinking my weight in Gatorade, but does it matter where inspiration comes from? I think not.

So, sit back, rest your brain a bit cuz I’ve done some thinkin’ for ya.

Heat and Flies

mosquitoesOk, here’s my theory on this one. The madder you get, the more the flies and mosquitoes will come. Or, more specifically, the more they decide to land on your face, fly into your ear or sneak up your pant legs.

This theory played out at our Kettle River campsite, a place of beautiful snow in the winter and scorching temperatures in the summer.

Some of us, (The Youngest and the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world), seemed immune to buggy things, or at least not too bothered by them.

Others, (me and The Oldest), fought a constant battle with the little blood-sucking denizens of hell.

By the end of the first day, The Oldest looked like he had a case of measles. I looked frazzled enough to pop a vein in my head. He’d spent a day chasing them with a fly swatter like an evil villain out to rid the world of all insects, and I spazzed around like someone being constantly electrocuted whenever one flew up my nose.

flamethrowerSo, take my advice. Buy the best anti-bug gear you can find, don’t be shy with the bug spray, and learn from the zen masters – the bugs can sense your hate, like creatures of the dark side of the force.

You will always forget something.

Me, I usually forget a whole ton of somethings. But traveling with the well-organized and attentive Prettiest-girl-in-the-world, those ‘somethings’ are few. However, it’s not zero, either.

So why do we forget things?

Yes, I have a theory.

It’s not about lists. I have lists, and lists of lists. It’s not about being organized – the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world has that down pat. It’s not even about being a sieve-head.

It’s just that we rely on too much stuff.

That’s right. You read me. ‘Too much stuff.”

pillowIt’s a problem of the first world. In the 3rd world, when they go camping, or ‘what they call hunting for food’, they seem less concerned with bringing a therapeutic pillow and more concerned with them remembering to bring a skin of water or some dried rhino jerky.

Here in the 1st world, we think we need so many things. But do we?

Do I really need to bring my solar-powered iphone charger on a camping trip? Do I need my pineapple-coconut hair conditioner? (which may, in fact, have something to do with the mosquitoes and flies loving me so much.) Do I need to bring my self-heating batman coffee mug?

Probably not.


saskatoon berries. Personally, I thought that was just another name for mouse poo.

So if we are destined to forget something, why not make it a fun adventure to figure out a way to compensate? Forget a mug, use a glass. Forget a condom, try to fashion one from a goat’s bladder (what, you forgot the goat, why then, there’s another challenge for you.) Forget cheerios? Eat a bowl of Saskatoon berries.

Embrace the lack of things, I say. Embrace it.

Now someone pass me my timmies.

Unplugging Can Be Fun.

I know, who would have guessed? But get the boys out of the house and even if they have the option of loading up Clash of Clans and attacking some kid in Korea, you may just find them hopping from rock to rock or inventing all sorts of outdoor games.

My theory?

Being inside a house all the time limits what they can do. I mean, hey, they’re not allowed to leap from sofa to sofa or climb the stair railings or throw things into a bathtub full of water. They aren’t allowed to make dams in the backyard. They aren’t permitted to scream at the top of their lungs or build fortresses out of tree branches and boulders.

The Dam the boy 's built

The Dam the boy ‘s built

While camping, though, all things are possible, and just being outside of a house can inspire the boys to play more, laugh more, goof around more.

Like monkeys let out of the zoo.

Or, to put it in their terms, it’s like real-life minecraft. You can build and create and run around (and one of you could even be a zombie). How cool is that?

However, you have to be sure not to mention that it’s cool. They have to discover it for themselves. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that if I say it’s good for you, or cool, or fun, the boys will automatically assume the exact opposite. So tell them there’s no way anyone could make a dam in that river. Or no way you could run around the trailer 30 times while humming the theme to the Terminator.

True, being outdoors with them can be exhausting, but give them a day of running around, and they’re pretty tired, too.

It’s not a bad thing.


So thus endeth my thoughts on camping.

Anyone else have any theories?

About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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5 Responses to Joe’s 3 Theories of Summer Camping

  1. Diane Young says:

    Just one question, Joe. What’s a timmie?

  2. Oh yeah I’d agree with all of these, especially the bit about always forgetting something.

  3. michaelscummings says:

    I think you’re absolutely correct. Most children don’t really like change, so it’s good to force them to encounter it. I’m glad you avoid the moralizing tone I hear too often these days: if you don’t take your children camping you’re a bad parent and bad Canadian. But the bugs, yes, the bugs. They’re the biggest thing (that, and as someone with IBS, a lack of flush toilets) that keeps us out of the woods most of the time. It’s why my favourite hiking is done after the first frost.
    If you got the boys home free from ticks, untouched by poison ivy, poison oak or wild parsnip, and free from skunk juice, you’ve done well.

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