Indoorsy Camper – My Story

Indoorsy Camper 1 - Indoorsy

By Kristi Westberg

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

Indoorsy Camper 2 - TheBigMove

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!

Indoorsy Camper 3 - JoshuaTree
Joshua Tree

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?

 

“Indoorsy”

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.
Another shot of beautiful nature found at Joshua Tree

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.

 

Blogger & Multiple Contributor at | Website

Kristi Westberg is a writer, indoorsy camper, hiker and bookworm living in Pasadena, CA.

She is the creator of “Indoorsy Camper” a blog that helps scaredy-cat’s like herself gain the confidence and bravery to get outside.

A self-professed “indoorsy” person, Kristi tries to make camping, hiking and backpacking approachable for everyone.

45 thoughts on “Indoorsy Camper – My Story

  • August 20, 2018 at 1:53 am
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    I love your voice! You had me cracking up. “Not because we’re bougie…” ?
    I was a city kid until I was 30. I can absolutely relate to this. Now I live in Oregon which, by LA standards, is the Last Frontier. I’ve become less indoorsy. I might become even more outdoorsy if I can cook up the same campfire fanciness you all did!

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  • August 14, 2018 at 3:10 pm
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    My very first camping was in Bhutan 3 years back. Though at first, I was not very comfortable camping, I don’t mind if I am with the right company. I can totally get your points and I personally know people who are fanatic about hygiene, comfort and food while camping. One can start with little steps. Bringing food from home is one comfort area to getting going in the outdoors.

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  • August 13, 2018 at 8:18 pm
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    Camping is such an overwhelming experience spending some good time with nature! I need to go for more weekend camping getaways!

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  • August 13, 2018 at 3:32 pm
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    This is the first time I’ve heard about car camping. It totally makes a lot of sense too. I would love to give it a try one day soon.

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  • August 13, 2018 at 2:04 pm
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    I Love the idea of camping there is so much to explore. Different ways to have fun.

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  • August 13, 2018 at 3:29 am
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    Wow, what great tips for people who are afraid of camping and spend their whole life in the urban community. I too never opted a night out camp though I love nature, reading your post, I too want to start. As you have correctly said, that initially I have to start with car camping to make me used to of this camping practice. I loved the picture of Joshua tree taken by you.

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  • August 13, 2018 at 3:28 am
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    I am “indoorsy” too! haha I would rather in an aircon room. mostly because the heat causes me break out in a rash. If I were to go camping in cool places, it would take a long drive and another long hike to get there. But good for you to have found this endeavor. Right now, I am already struggling just finding time to walk in the park.

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  • August 12, 2018 at 9:30 pm
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    Wow, good for you! I honestly have not gone on a camping trip in a long while. Yes, like you I am an indoorsy type person – I gotta have my daily showers and I don’t like sleeping in a room without air conditioning too, lol. And one more” I hate bugs! Sleeping with them around is not a great idea for me 😀

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    • August 13, 2018 at 4:04 am
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      Yea, not a fan of bugs either. This is where living in southern California has been really good for me. I moved here from Massachusetts and the bug count is WAY lower here.

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  • August 12, 2018 at 9:27 pm
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    I am definitely an outdoorsy individual, I get bored if I stay indoors too much. I need action, I need to see what`s going out in the real world, whether we talk about a vibrant city or the beautiful countryside. Love the indoorsy camp mug, so cute.

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    • August 13, 2018 at 4:03 am
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      Thanks! I love my indoorsy mug too. Don’t need it every weekend, but this weekend was an indoorsy one.

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  • August 12, 2018 at 7:44 pm
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    Great post and I am planing to do some camping going forward with the kids. Some top tips here. Get correct hear the main aspect. If you love any food take that as this makes life easier. Overall a great post to come out of indoors.

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  • August 12, 2018 at 3:13 pm
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    It looks like you had so much fun! I need to try glamping with a group of girlfriends.

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  • August 12, 2018 at 2:47 pm
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    While I love the outdoors, when it comes to sleeping, I personally prefer to stay indoors but sometimes I do feel like pushing myself out of my comfort zone and go camping. Glamping is more comfortable though.

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    • August 13, 2018 at 4:06 am
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      Glamping is much more comfortable :)…but there’s so much stuff to set up and take down. There’s just no pleasing me 🙂

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  • August 12, 2018 at 11:24 am
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    “Indoorsy camper” – love it haha! I do quite enjoy camping, but I have to say I hate not being able to shower! I usually opt for campsites with shower facilities if there’s a choice. But wild camping can be fun for a couple of nights 🙂

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    • August 12, 2018 at 7:33 pm
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      I always seek out the places with a shower too. I’m hoping to start doing some short backpacking trips in the next year…we’ll see how I survive without a shower.

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  • August 12, 2018 at 10:27 am
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    I thoroughly enjoyed this post, not just for the information, but its humour. I found myself constantly smiling throughout. Chocolate covered raisin! I did lots of camping as a teen, but my poor kids, the closest we’ve done is the 4-man tent in the back garden! I really, really need to do it for them! Thanks for the car camping tip, I love that.

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    • August 12, 2018 at 7:32 pm
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      Glad I gave you a little chuckle…and the raisin thing ACTUALLY happened to me! LOL. My dad used to set up his tent in the backyard for us and I loved it! We never made it much further, but it was loads of fun and I have lots of good memories from backyard camping.

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  • August 12, 2018 at 9:50 am
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    I think I am bit indoorsy too. I miss daily showers only if I am ill and unable to. Not gone traditional camping as such in years.

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    • August 12, 2018 at 7:30 pm
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      Yep, the showering thing is hard to get over…and truth be told I’m not completely over it yet. Luckily a lot of car camping sites have showers for a small fee. OR you can always camp near the beach or a lake to get a little cleaner 🙂

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  • August 11, 2018 at 6:38 pm
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    I can completely relate to this post. My boyfriend took me to a festival recently, I was a bit worried about the camping side of it as I hadn’t been since I was 16 years old (13 years ago). The last time I had done it I was taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award, so had walked about 20 miles with a backpack the size of myself on my back, which had rubbed so badly that I had blisters on my hips (didn’t know this could happen)! Not a great experience! I was pleasantly surprised after camping at the festival, we endured all types of weather too; from scorching hot sun to an electrical storm! It was actually quite fun, I would happily go camping again 🙂

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    • August 12, 2018 at 7:26 pm
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      Wow! Blisters on your hips reminds me of reading Wild, she had the same problem. Sounds like that must have been quite the trip. Glad your camping experience was better…not sure about an electrical storm, but I bet it was pretty amazing to watch (from a distance of course). Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  • August 11, 2018 at 5:29 pm
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    I’ve always loved camping. I love the idea of borrowing or renting a tent first. The last thing you want to do is drop a lot of money on something you end up hating.

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    • August 12, 2018 at 7:28 pm
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      Exactly! The first time I decided to try camping I counted up all the money I would need to spend to go and completely gave up. Luckily I have people around me who are willing to share their gear, and companies that rent. It really made all the difference for me.

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  • August 11, 2018 at 12:25 pm
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    I absolutely love this idea!! I’m definitely an indoorsy, and trying hard to make the transition to oudoorsy. However, I don’t live in LA, but I will certainly try out your tips in Italy. Car camping sounds perfect for me, and by the way, your lamb tagine sounds delicious too!

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    • August 12, 2018 at 7:29 pm
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      Yay! The lamb tagine IS delicious! I highly recommend making it! Italy must be an amazing place to get outdoors! I would love to camp there someday.

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  • August 11, 2018 at 10:18 am
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    This definitely resonates with me. I love the outdoors but camping isn’t a love of mine, I am definitely more a ‘glamper’ – This was a really interesting read indeed and maybe one day I can say I am an outdoorsy camper afterall.

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    • August 11, 2018 at 7:21 pm
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      I have a glamper side as well…although when I see pictures of glamping I always think to myself, “how long did it take to build that campsite”. I would love to just arrive at a glamp site and enjoy it without the hassle of putting everything up and then taking it down.

      Maybe someday I’ll be “outdoorsy”, but I don’t mind if I’m not. I say everyone should camp the way they want to, so long as you enjoy it it doesn’t matter how rough or glampy the camping is :).

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  • August 11, 2018 at 10:04 am
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    I can understand about the cultural shock part. Glad you got adjusted to new home. Taking your favorite food while camping is a good tip. I like the thoughts you shared. LA has such amazing options for weekend trips.

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    • August 11, 2018 at 7:23 pm
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      Thanks! LA is so different than I thought it would be, but in SO many good ways. Honestly, I love it here and can’t see myself moving anytime soon. Too many places to see, experiences to experience and too much fun to be had.

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  • August 11, 2018 at 8:13 am
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    Living in a bustling metropolis, I can easily identify with you. Indoorsy is the right word. But there is a whole new world outside waiting. So pleasures of camping do beckon us and we head out once in a while. But you have provided some really good pointers to make it more inexpensive and also comfortable.

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    • August 11, 2018 at 7:24 pm
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      Thank you! That’s exactly what I was hoping to do. Camping is accessible, you just might need to be creative and ask for help.

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  • August 11, 2018 at 7:13 am
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    I used to camp with my family for 13 years as a kid. Now my hubby doesn’t want to hear about it. Maybe if I read this to him he will change his mind!

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    • August 11, 2018 at 7:27 pm
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      It’s worth a try right?! Or you could start off with an easy hike…might get him excited about the outdoors. That’s kind of what happened to me.

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  • August 11, 2018 at 6:41 am
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    My husband has been harping about camping for quite some time now and I am the one who had been pulling back due to various concerns about safety, hygiene etc. Thanks for all the tips which I will definitely take home with me. Or rather take out when I camp 😀
    I wish I could see more pictures of the Joshua tree, they look great!

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    • August 11, 2018 at 7:26 pm
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      Yay! I’m so glad you are feeling more like you can get outside and camp! I had MANY concerns about hygiene….and honestly it still freaks me out a bit. Starting with car camping really helped me though. You can check out more Joshua Tree pics on my instagram feed @indoorsycamper :). It’s beautiful.

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  • August 11, 2018 at 2:03 am
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    I am definitely the car camping type of person! I love the idea of having all of my luxuries while still being able to be one with nature! sounds good to me!!! Love all of the tips you gave! They are super helpful!

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    • August 12, 2018 at 4:35 am
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      Love me some car camping. Bringing the luxuries is what got me on board with the whole idea. Glad you enjoyed the tips and that they might come in handy.

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  • August 11, 2018 at 1:08 am
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    This is definitely me! I’m big on the outdoors, but not that big on camping as such – but I can handle some “light” camping.

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  • August 10, 2018 at 10:51 pm
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    Joshua tree looks gorgeous. We used to go camping when I was a kid, jump in the 4wd and head out bush, have tents, roasting marshmallows, making toast on a stick. All dinner was cooked over the fire (sometimes in a pot over the fire, or a camping jaffle maker) and it was so great.

    I can’t wait to take my son, he’s only been twice (he’s 5) but I have many plans to go more. Just need to get myself a 4wd haha

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    • August 10, 2018 at 11:57 pm
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      That sounds amazing! Part of me wishes my parents had taken me camping as a kid…but I probably would have given them a hard time :). Starting them young is a great way to encourage a life long appreciation for the outdoors.

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  • August 10, 2018 at 6:17 pm
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    Great tips! I definitely consider myself more of a glamper than an outdoorsy camper!

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    • August 10, 2018 at 11:58 pm
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      Me too…although I’m slowly leaving the glamper behind…mind you she’ll never go away completely.

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  • August 10, 2018 at 5:51 am
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    I agree camping doesn’t have to be too expensive. I would probably have to rent a bigger car to do the car camping or use things from my house for shelter.

    Reply

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