"We like camping better!" --Raymond Alexander Kukkee

view of the north shore Critter Pond, KOA Canandaigua NY [c] 2009 jcb

But, honey, campgrounds don't have room service

by Grace Alexander guest columnist

[Editor's note - Grace is a full-time freelance author and editor.
Her new column is exclusive to Just Camping Out]

Grace Alexander, columnist for Just Camping Out I hate camping. I am the only person in my family who hates camping, so it is a lonely existence. I've been told that I am unreasonable, a poor sport and a wet blanket, so I have decided to state my case.

You don't have AC or heat, depending on the season. You have a hard lumpy bed no matter how many rocks you chunk away from the sleeping bag portion of the tent, and someone invariably forgets their pillow, or dunks it in the creek while attempting to see if it will function as a flotation device, or inadvertently sets it on fire while trying to warm it up on the charcoal pit. Therefore as the mom I have to sacrifice my pillow and prop my neck on a rock. Which I have to re-fetch from where I chunked it two hours before. Which I have to explain to my husband why I am bringing said rock back INTO the tent, and wrapping it in a towel.

Also, I am in charge of cooking, which blows. I don't personally feel that hot dogs and marshmallows and beer four times a day qualifies as a meal, but the limitations of a charcoal fire in a pit are kind of severe. Plus I don't think a cooler filled with water that used to be ice is going to keep food cold enough to ward off horrible food borne diseases, so perishables are out. Hubby and the kids eat hot dogs, roast marshmallows and drink beer all day (OK, OK, the kids drink ROOT beer) and I nibble on crackers and drink as little as possible so I don't have to brave the bushes to pee.

I chase kids all day, lugging a assortment of first aid accoutrements, and sweating. At sundown I am exhausted, but of course the kids are on a sugar high due to the nineteen and a half s'mores they consumed and insist on running about in the dark screeching. By the time they fall asleep, I am too tired to even mind the rock pillow. Of course, this is when hubby starts snoring, since the outdoors gives him allergies. It is too hot or too cold, depending, and there are NOISES all around. Plus even if it is dead winter a lone mosquito survivor will find me and bite me multiple times. No one else will have even one bite. Ants also apparently found the missing half of s'more glued to the underside of my sleeping bag.

On the drive home, kids are overtired and cranky, and hubby is unbearably jolly. "Wasn't that a blast?" he asks. "And such a cheap way to vacation!!" I don't answer. I am adding up the receipts for gas, first aid supplies, the tire that blew out and two cases of beer and realizing I could have had a whole weekend in a Holiday Inn and eaten out three times a day. I'm talking the one with the INDOOR pool.

Copyright 2008, all rights reserved - Grace Alexander for Just Camping Out

Read Grace's Profile on Helium.com

I'm not sure I'd want to go camping with Grace and her family, but I do enjoy her writing immensely. I'm pleased and proud to host her new column here. Do you think there's any hope for her -- any chance we might win her over to the "I love camping" camp? ~Jim


  1. Grace, would some pre-planning camping tips help? (Surely there's an article or two on Helium with that title.) I cannot imagine taking three young kids tent camping! LOL

    I'd be checking into the Holiday Inn too......:-)


  2. Grace, did you know you could rent a cabin at most campgrounds? You'd still get to build a fire, eat marshmallows, and swat bugs; but at least you'd have a decent pillow and a bed -- and maybe even a microwave oven!

  3. Also, you could lock the kids inside of the cabin when the sugar high kicks in! :-)

  4. At this point in time, I'm thinking Grace is going to convert me to the Holiday Inn rather than me trying to convert her to the tent.

    The cabins sound good, but do they have bathroom facilities? I never was very good at finding bushes to hide behind.

    I have some good memories of camping, although some a little strange. Right now, I kind of like my big comfy bed and bathroom right down the hall.


  5. I'm with you, Molly. That's why we opted for a camper (see pics right here) after years of tent camping. Having a bed, bathroom, and at least a basic kitchen has made all the difference.

    By the way, we've found that we sleep better and more comfortably on the bed in our camper than on our regular mattress! Seriously thinking of slipping a sheet of plywood under our bed at home.

  6. Anonymous9:00 PM


    I think my wife and you are on the same wavelength. She made me promise that our tent camping days in the Sierras were over because of the bear problems in the campgrounds up there.

    The black bears walk through the campground day and night, unafraid of the campers, many of which follow them around like they're Yogi and Boo Boo.

    So lately, sad to say, it's been the motels and lodges for us, although last trip a bear and I came nose to nose through the living room window.