Monday, April 2, 2012

Camping Commandments

Went on a "hike" the other day with my kids. This walk was less than a mile and included passing all of ten feet of actual "nature". On this walk, my 4 year-old picked up a pine cone and said "Look guys! Squirrel nuts!"

This. Can. Not. Stand.
Not looking for my kids to be the next Bear Grylls (although I do love accents), but they do at least need to know how to live roughly. I camped with the kids in the backyard that night, but am planning a more robust trip for my boys this summer (the girl is only left out because she's still young enough to eat poison ivy if left to her own devices).

As such, here are the ten commandments for camping with kids. At least once.
  1. Thou shalt not plug anything in while you are camping. at all.
  2. Thou shalt not eat anything that requires more cooking utensils than a piece of aluminium foil and/or a stick.
  3. Thou shalt not bring that stick with you. The woods have plenty of sticks.
  4. Thou shalt not shower. If you're dirty, live with it. If you absolutely can't live with it, jump in the lake.
  5. Thou shalt not freak out when you child gets too close to the fire. We don't want anyone immolated, but nothing gives a child a healthy fear of fire like a little first degree burn.
  6. Thou shalt be ready for a month of steroids if that's what it takes to get your kids off of the beaten path.
  7. Thou shalt not scream like a horror movie bimbo if a spider ends up in your tent. It's a bad example to set.
  8. Thou shalt respect the environment. I'm not saying you have to go native here, but if you mess it up, clean it up. 
  9. Thou shalt make your kids bait their own hooks.
  10. Thou shalt not bring a checklist of activities into the woods. Thou ist out here to teach your kids that camping is fun. 
Happy camping everyone. Make the time to do it, have some fun, and be (largely) safe.

That's no pool, people.


  1. My wife grew up in the city and never camped, ever. Never even slept outside, lest she be mugged or worse. A couple years ago we were in Africa and "camped" (in a fancy tent with a plastic floor and two cots!) in the Serengeti. After the lion started making a fuss outside in the middle of the night, I think that'll be both her first and last camping adventure. I think you're taking the smarter route, beginning with the back yard, then actual electricity-free and utensil-less nature, and maybe someday sleeping with the kind of wildlife that wants to eat you.

  2. I remember once when I was in Boy Scouts (my being an Eagle Scout only makes this whole post more embarrassing) I was paired with a tentmate who had never seen a bear. Towards the end of the trip I found out he had been smearing peanut butter on a tree outside our tent every night to see if one would come close.

    It couldn't have been very comfortable for him hiking back to basecamp with my boot lodged squarely... well, you know.