Into The Woods

Last weekend I went camping.
Like in a tent.
In the woods.

With no shower.
… (moment of silence)

I know, right?  I went CAMPING, which is a situation I was spectacularly unprepared for.  I had a feeling, despite my list-making and some extensive internet research* in preparation for the trip, that I was going to forget something important – like shoes – because I was so concerned about how I was going to put on my makeup in the morning that I was pretty sure the actual basics were going to go by the wayside.  Like underwear, or wine.

*Try Googling “what do i pack for camping” – as usual, the interwebs prove to be extremely useful…and amusing. See here for particularly helpful tips – did you know that some lip balms come with U.V. protection?! Thank God this little tidbit was on the list** or my lips would have been puff pastry by the end of the weekend!
**This is what I get for being stupid enough to Google “what do i pack for camping” to begin with.

So prior to leaving, I did a little research (see above) and in conducting this unofficial study began to grow more alarmed with each article by both the actual items that I was supposed to remember to pack as well as the sheer volume of them.  It’s not enough, it seems, to assume that there will be daily functional facilities such as toilets at a campground.  Apparently, one must prepare for the worst by bringing not only one’s own toilet paper, but also a little shovel.


Now, if I hadn’t done my research, my camping list would have gone something like this:  fedora, cute tees (one for each morning and each evening), cardigans (light one for day, sweater for night), cute sporty Pumas (for lounging), running shoes (in case of bear), flashlight (for re-checking makeup at night), plenty of hair ties (for braiding what will surely be a curly rat’s nest of a head of hair), watch (for checking whether or not it was time to eat yet), earrings/necklace (really, one shouldn’t forego jewelry just because one is in the woods), iPod, books, portable speaker, chocolate snacks, Diet Coke and wine (naturally).

However, this list proves both impractical and incomplete, as apparently one is also supposed to remember the following:  lip balm (“Now with UV protection!”), tents (oh yeah, that), sleeping bags, handi-wipes  (for removing tree sap and the stench of propane), sanitizer, toothbrush, hairbrush, mirror*, flip flops, hiking shoes, water shoes, bug repellent, bug bite kit (I hate bugs), Band-Aids, water bottles, your own water, pots, pans**, pillow, hat, sunglasses, sponges***, duct tape, gloves, batteries, matches, compass, books, handsaw/hammer/nails (for building your own hut when the poles on your tent break), spear (for hunting your own food, since there’s no possible way you can pack as much food as 7 people are going to eat in two days), a trash compactor (given what the suggested list of food items I think this is necessary if you’re supposed to pack out your own trash), trash bags and an extra paper sack to cover your (read:  my) head, which will be necessary to save face at the end of this “roughing it” adventure.

*Well, duh.
**Note:  portable size.  I started to put my Calphalons into my bag, but apparently these fall into the category of “high maintenance camper no-nos”.
***Okay, but why? I already kind of assume nothing about this is going to be clean.

I’d like to think I’m organized, and I always make a list before every trip, but packing for this outing totally stumped me. I don’t possess 99% of the items on the suggested packing list for actual camping (my most recent camping adventure – almost 10 years ago – was in a KOA, which mercifully offered both toilets AND showers!) and most of my attire is better suited for urban happy hour than campfire story time.  So I packed what I could (thankfully remembering at least one of these essentials – ahem, the mirror) and set forth into the woods.

At the end of the day, I was about half prepared.

I was so focused on the damn mirror that I forgot my contact case.  I remembered the wine for the adults but forgot the special chocolates I bought for the kids*.  And while the routine of not putting on my makeup every day was kind of awesome (I forgot how long it takes each day until I didn’t have to do it) the end result of not having my “face” on was frightening*.

*They were funny little minnow-shaped ones – like a “catch”.  Turns out when you are camping you also have s’mores and not gourmet chocolates, so I narrowly escaped being pegged “high maintenance” with that one anyway.
**That was the point at which I really wished I had actually forgotten the mirror and realized I could have forgone the sneakers as well, since my bare face alone would have sent the
bear running.

Scary face and dry eyes aside, camping was…awesome.  Sitting in the woods with no distractions save those of our group was totally relaxing.  The bathrooms had running water (cold, but even so) and some kind campers brought hand soap for the campground at large to use*.  The wine was amazing but it was way more fun to crack open a cold Miller Lite** first thing in the morning with our breakfast.  And when you travel with experienced campers, everything is a surprising luxury…like coffee.  And half & half with it.  And plenty of food for every meal, including gigantic chili dogs and also homemade potato salad.

*Note to self:  Pay it forward on next camping excursion, but leave Molton Brown at home; Softsoap will suffice.
**I think I actually achieved hillbilly status on this trip.

So yeah, I’d say Kelsey’s Camping Outing 2011 was a total success – which was a total surprise.  Would I go again?  Hell yeah!  With experienced campers, though.  If you’ll remember to pack the T.P. …you know I’ll remember the wine.


6 responses to “Into The Woods

  1. I’m taking you backpacking sometime! If you liked camping, you’ll LOVE backpacking!

  2. Next time I wanna come. You made my day once again with your delightful and true-to-life run-down on a family favorite.

  3. I’ll second the backpacking. It’s camping, but with better scenery.

  4. Thanks guys! I’d consider backpacking except that I imagine it’s hard to refrigerate half and half for the coffee when backpacking.

    …Half and half falls into the category of Things I’m Not Willing to Forego in the Woods.

  5. Travis Von Rotz

    I’ll go camping with you. You’ll have to do the lions share of the packing however because all I’m bringing is cigarettes and a gun. Nice post Kelsey. Good stuff.

    • Kelsey Hunsinger

      Thanks Trav! Cigarettes and a gun huh…essentials I wasn’t aware of in the camping department. Maybe just a hike – I lost my watch in the woods so I’m officially “camped out” for the summer. 🙂

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