Posted by: George | July 16, 2010

Reflections on Camping

July 15, 2010 (evening)

I thought it was about time to have some reflections on camping.

1. Packing

When I was packing for the trip, I thought I was being rational and organized. I thought about where I was going to pack items so that I could easily retrieve them. I packed my cycling gear in a small duffle so I could grab it when I was going for a bike ride and have everything I needed: my helmet, gloves, shoes, socks, etc. I packed everything I would need in the tent at night in another small duffle. This way, as soon as I set up my tent, I could throw in that duffle and I would be set for bedtime.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Then the trip started. My organization lasted for about two days. Now, whenever I break camp, I just throw stuff in my car, anywhere.

I do keep some important items, like bug spray, in the floor of the backseat so I can find them quickly. However, just about anything else takes considerable searching.

2. Breaking Camp

On the days when I am going to drive for a while, I don’t make breakfast in camp. I break camp as soon as I wake, start the drive, then stop later for breakfast.

The morning sounds of a campsite tend to follow a pattern. At first light, about 30 minutes or so before sunrise, when the light is being bent around the earth’s curve by gravity, the birds begin to sing. For most of my trip, this has been around 5:30.

I usually wake up with the birds. I try to go back to slept for a while, but usually give up at about 6:00.

When I wake up, I dress and pack everything in the tent. I deflate my air mattress and roll it up. Roll up the sleeping bags—the cold weather one and the warm weather one. Everything else goes into my nighttime duffle. All this goes in the car.

I have turned off the dome light of my car so, as I break camp, I can leave my car doors slightly open. If you are one of those people who try to sleep late, you probably get woken eventually by car doors slamming and zippers zipping. In a campsite, you can hear the zipper of a tent door from a half a mile; a car door slam from a mile. So, I try to keep slamming my car door down.

When I started this trip, I was careful about breaking down my tent. I swept out the inside, wiped dirt and condensation from the bottom, and packed it in its travel bag. Now, the only thing I pack in the travel bag is the rain fly, poles, and pegs. Everything else is thrown in the luggage box on top of the car. The tent and tarp dry out as I drive. Before I pitch the tent at the next camp, I brush off the dirt and leaves with my hand.

Without rushing, I am usually on the road by 6:30.

3. Bladder Problems

Before I started this trip, my friend Jim asked me, “What do you do if you need to pee at night?” He thought that I would walk to the camp bathroom in the dark, get attacked by a bear, and find myself dead by first light.

Well, a walk to the bathroom at night is not all that dangerous. But it is a bother.

My solution is a GaterAid bottle. I wash it out so that it won’t have a smell to attract animals; then, I put it in my tent where I can grab it in the dark.

If I need to go, I pee into the GaterAid bottle. It has a wide opening and its volume is slightly larger than the volume of my bladder.

In the morning, I dump the contents in the campsite, wash it out, and I am ready for the next night’s sleep.

More later on this subject (camping, that’s enough on bladder problems).

My camp in the Redwoods



  1. Gatorade bottle. That’s rich. I spent my whole first semester at UALR peeing in McDonalds cups on the weekend because I didn’t have access to bathrooms.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: