I went on my first camping trip in 14 years a few weeks ago. And this time I had to gear up. I had no tent to accommodate my little family, no sleeping mats, no sleeping bags and no Esky bigger than one to fit a lunchbox in.
So it was kind of a big deal.
I started off purchasing the Thunder Down Under bucket. This was to be my very own private ensuite inside the tent.
Well, it worked just fine. That is until my four year old missed the bucket and pissed all over the floor of the tent on day two. FAIL. So outside it went! Still, functionality wise, it worked just fine. And if you are remote camping, you can buy compostable liner bags that can be buried in the ground.
Despite our enthusiasm, we did hit a few hurdles that most unseasoned campers will hit at some time or another.
Here are my top camping perils in no particular order.
Unless you have the patience of Tom Hanks, you are going to get pissed with trying to light a fire in light drizzle with a half barrel and a few limp bits of kindling. Bring your own firewood that is DRY and some of those Little Lucifer things, otherwise, you’re fucked.
Yes, you can dig a hole and bury your own turd. But not in a caravan park. I suggest taking the bucket for night wees, or just hanging one outside the tent. If you have kids, make sure they are heavily sedated before bedtime to ensure no nocturnal pissing is required.
If you have had one too many beers, make sure you are near the dunnies, or at a campground that allows natural nighttime pissing.
Bring a BBQ or expect to starve. If you are in a caravan park, you may find communal BBQ’s, but their hygiene is questionable. Expect there to be bugs in your dinner and at least 80% charcoal and you will be ok.
Sausages go well with sausages and sausage bake and sausage casserole. If you get sick of that, then just fry them. After day 6 of sausages, if anyone complains they are eating sausages again, just throw them at their face raw and uncooked.
Unless you have gone off the beaten track, you may be sharing your little piece of tranquillity with a bunch of toothless fuckwits. Otherwise known as festy bogans. They will probably have foot-rot and won’t give a flying fuck that you are sharing their fungus in the warm and moist environment of the communal shower block.
Take my advice. Unless you are completely fucking desperate, just have a cheeky whores bath with some baby wipes and leave the full cleanse to the sea or the shower when you get home. A bottle of Dettol never goes astray. Thongs are a must.
I would even go so far as to suggest a fistful of hand sanitiser up your clacker in case any part of your nether regions touched a toilet seat. One can never be too careful.
These are the sort of people that give camping a bad name. The sort that cram 30 of their nearest and dearest into a single plot and talk until all hours of the morning. They are your neighbours. They will sleep until midday. They are not your friends.
Unless you are smart like me and invest in a proper tent, expect to have a lawyer on speed dial when you are putting that bastard up at the end of a long driving day. Poles are a bastard. Guy ropes are a bastard. Finding a flat spot is a bastard. Surprisingly, find a wet spot is relatively easy.
Camping can be really fun. And it can also really suck.
We ended up having a blast, but the key is preparation! If that is in the form of booking a 5-star hotel, so be it. But if you do take the plunge, let me suggest a good tent, a bucket, some baby wipes, some earplugs and a really big sense of humour. And wine. A LOT of wine.