I grew up in the suburbs, surrounded by paved roads, city parks, the occasional stream and plenty of Target stores. I’m a knitter, a reader and a Netflix binger among many other things. I’ve NEVER thought of myself as an outdoorsy person. Sure, I had some tennis shoes and plenty of workout gear, but all of it was pristine thanks to my local sparkly gym…no dirt please, and thank you.
The Big Move
Two and a half years ago my wife Catherine and I moved from Massachusetts to Los Angeles for work. To say this was a bit of a culture shock would be a gross understatement!
In my mind LA was one overpriced green juice bar after the other, surrounded by the nipped, tucked and Botoxed who were most likely lounging beside an infinity pool or pointing at me and telling me to get off their private beach.
While this might be the case in certain zip codes, thankfully this has not been the LA I’ve lived in at all. Sure, some of the Californians I’ve met may have gone under the knife, but they spend their spare time hiking, surfing, camping or at the beach (the public ones).
As I started to get comfortable in my new home I began noticing a large number of people heading off on the weekends with camping gear in tow. Several of my co-workers would return on Monday with tales of hikes, river crossings, Joshua Tree pictures and a glow of renewal. A little niggle of jealousy popped up in me and got me wondering if I could be a camper?
I’ve always been what Jim Gaffigan would call “indoorsy”. You’re probably indoorsy too if you’ve:
- Jumped in your own house because you think you saw a bug (which turns out to be a chocolate covered raisin).
- You insist on showering daily….because if you don’t the world could end…I mean not end, but come pretty damn close.
- You place a high value on cool dry air conditioned air (and not the crappy kind of A/C….the good stuff…what I sometimes refer to as “Texas air conditioning”) because it’s big, bold, and hits you with a cold slap in the face when you enter the room.
As of the beginning of 2018 I had officially gone camping 8 times in my life. I slept in a tent only one of those times (and it was terrible!). Truth be told there were two camping trips in there where I was in an air conditioned cabin (does that even count as camping?). So number of camping trips few….number of hotel stays many.
If you asked me two and a half years ago if I wanted to go camping I would have laughed and then politely said, “no thank you”.
Why would I spend my hard earned money on a sleeping bag and a tent so I could lay on the ground in the cold and have bugs crawl all over me? When I say it like that the answer is crystal clear.
BUT here’s the thing. I’m totally wrong. Camping doesn’t have to be expensive, if you bring the right gear you won’t be cold, the ground won’t be uncomfortable and at least where I’ve been camping bugs aren’t even a problem…plus, bug spray.
How to make the leap from indoorsy to indoorsy camper:
Camping can seem pretty intimidating. There’s all the gear you need, deciding where to go and if you’re in California, bears.
Here are some easy steps indoorsy campers can take to get outside and enjoy their first camping trip:
- Ask for advice, whether it’s through the Camping for Women community, friends, family or a helpful sales associate at REI.
- Rent or borrow gear before you buy. We did this for our first camping trip. Renting takes some of the financial pressure off and helps you decide if this whole camping thing is for you.
- Two words, Car Camping. I highly recommend car camping for the indoorsy camper. It means you can bring most of your comforts from home and not be literally dragged down by their weight. If it fits in your car you can bring it, you have plenty of time to pair down your camping necessities later.
- Bring food you love. Camp cooking might seem difficult, but I’ve found the easiest way to make awesome camp meals is to cook them before you even get there. Catherine and I spent Easter in Joshua Tree eating lamb tagine….not because we’re bougie, but because I made it the weekend before, froze half and threw it in the cooler before we left.
- Taking pictures and video while camping is pretty irresistible…I know I’m guilty. But remember you’re camping to be outside in nature so turn off your phone, open your eyes, listen and breathe in the fresh air.
There’s no reason “indoorsy” folks can’t take the leap and go camping. Prepare a little, have an open mind, go with the flow and see where your adventure takes you.