So I am not, historically, the camping sort.
I am someone who shrieks hysterically when bugs fly near her face. I get itchy just thinking about mosquitos. I have very poor eyesight and a supernatural ability to manage to walk through spiders' newly constructed webs. I have developed a "special" walk to help me combat the into-web-walking. It looks like a child doing the elementary school favorite "crazy walk", but the child is drunk and has vertigo. Because I love you, I made a horrible-quality animated gif of my spiderwalk. It ain't pretty.
So, we were unsure exactly how successful our first family camping expedition would be. Why did we DECIDE to camp, you might ask? Well, we had DECIDED to go on a road trip to Chicago, but then we found an amazing couch for $150, and though, oh, well, we don't have any other big expenses coming up... Ha. Ha-ha. That's the sound of our air conditioner breaking, and Brian needing a root canal. Ha. Ha-ha. So we opted for a $26-a-night campsite, and told ourselves that Chicago was lame, anyway.BUT, camping is not cheap! Or, it isn't if you've never done it and don't have all the STUFF. We were betting on the fact that we could become "camping people", and bought a GIANT tent (on sale!) and all the other junk that must accompany one in the wilderness, if one is a city-fied sissy. T'was risky, friends, I will not lie. Behold our giant tent, which is larger than our car. It took an hour or more to put up, and I had never sweat so much as I did while helping Brian assembling the thing. Afterward, I busied myself organizing our new tent-home, enjoying the breeze that came through the open tent doors. OPEN TENT DOORS. This lasted about 15 minutes, and then I noticed I had invited EVERY GIANT DUMB BUG IN THE FORST INTO MY TENT. It was a turning point in my life. It was the moment when I turned into a cold-blooded insect killer, and also someone who will CUT YOU if you do not zip up the tent door as QUICKLY AS IS HUMANLY POSSIBLE, thank you. I did what everyone in my position would do: I put a ziploc bag on my hand and started grabbing insects and smooshing them into bug-paste. I got really good. Every time I got one, I would call out to Brian, "That's SIX! I got SIX!" though he didn't seem terribly impressed. I should mention that the bigs were really dumb and slow. If I had to guess, I would say they were the unlit inbred cousins of lightening bugs, but I am no entomologist.Other things happened while we camped. We swam! We cooked! We hiked! All at 95+ degrees, because we went camping in a heat wave! Like geniuses! But what I will remember the most about our first camping trip was how many bugs I killed. The first day was only the beginning, folks, because despite my best efforts, the ants had moved into the tent by the second night. I was ruthless. I am sorry, ants, but you wanted the wrong person's graham crackers.
What would I say are the most essential camping supplies? Bug spray and ziploc bags, my friends. The former I applied about every 90 minutes when awake, and the latter I used CONSTANTLY.
Have you opened a food product? MUST GO IN ZIPLOC.
Are you putting something into the cooler? MUST GO IN ZIPLOC. (Beverages excluded.)
Do you need to marinate your kabobs? MUST GO IN ZIPLOC.
Are you about to form turkey-burger patties? ZIPLOC IS GLOVE.
Do you need to smash approximately 4,000 ants with your hand? ZIPLOC IS GLOVE.
My camping habits... might not be ecologically sound.
We survived, though, and we plan to camp again in the fall, when it will not be as heat-wave-y, and we will not have to seek refuge in the nearby WalMart/McDonalds/public library. It will be glorious, and I will know that if you run away from hornets, they follow you. Life lessons, people.