When discussing camping with a new acquaintance, a detail that is often asked immediately is whether or not we sleep in a tent. Up until this summer that answer was “yeah, we’re tent campers” and this was followed by a congratulatory wink and a nod. I half expected to break out in a secret handshake.
So over time this became one of those details you can tell someone and they somehow understand who you are without even knowing you. Like the facts I adore Pride and Prejudice and The X-Files and REM and am adamantly raising my two girls to appreciate good music, Labyrinth and the St. Louis Cardinals… I also sleep in a tent when I camp.
I expected many more years of tent camping before we took the plunge and graduated to a popup camper. Part of me believes tents are the more pure form of camping. You’re sleeping on the ground and therefore closer to nature. You can get that killer morning picture of the wilderness outside framed by the nylon flaps of your tent. I guess I also expected my girls’ memories of camping -like my own- would involve a tent instead of a camper…
But my husband’s bad back, a desire to prolong our camping season and a great deal that fell in our lap made this year the year to say goodbye to our tent and hello to the most recent addition to our family.
But I was reluctant. Feeling a little treacherous to the imaginary club I was an imaginary card carrier.
Our first morning at Big South Campground on our camper’s maiden voyage, the flies were relentless. They weren’t the ordinary pesky flies, they were the evil biting kind. We began to unpack the bacon and eggs for a big camping breakfast, but I was slapping my calves every couple seconds, the girls were miserable and I realized we had another option.
And so the bacon and eggs went back in the cooler, I grabbed the cereal and oranges and we took refuge in our camper. We ate our breakfast free of biting flies around a table. C entertained us all with her shenanigans and as I laughed out loud I let go of whatever the heck it means to be a tent camper vs. any other kind of camper and let our popup into the family with open arms.
And rightfully so, my husband reminds me, we can still tent camp whenever the hell we want.