Monthly Archives: July 2009

What is Camping?

I’ve always been fascinated with folks’ zealous guardianship of the term “camping”. When we got our pop-up, I was told, “That’s not camping. You gotta be in a tent.” A similar conversation ensued when a neighbor was able to walk 100 feet, to a bar, from their tent.  When we got our trailer, I was told, “That’s not camping, ya can’t be in a bed, and you gotta take a dump in an outhouse.” Um..what the heck did the settlers do, on their way across the country?  No fancy outhouses for them. Thus, the formula should, historically, tend toward “If outhouse, or worse, public restroom, exists, then camping = NOT”.  So really, unless someone takes a dump, in the woods, and wipes with foliage, one is not camping. Me, I think an old-school definition of the word ‘camp’ — numbers 1,2, and 5 at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/camp — is more general, and gets to the heart of the matter. A temporary dwelling (for the camper, not necessarily for all-time), in a temporary location. Anything else is quibbling. The strong reaction simply comes from the number, and quality, of the AMENITIES, a discussion of which, in both men and women, seems to trigger the “I can survive better without my ____ than you can” friendly competitive banter.

Perhaps this speaks simply to hierarchal primate social positioning behaviors, something we are destined to be wired to do…like taking a dump in the woods, or better yet, Build a Bar by the Camp, and We Will Come.

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