I’m not that in to campgrounds. They make me feel claustrophobic, you have neighbors, you can hear them, your dog has to be on a leash, you have to pay, you feel bad for peeing outside your tent in the middle of the night. I always feel like I need to keep my kids quiet… and it’s just sorta stressful for me.
I go camping to get away from the world.
This is why I love camping on public lands. You can pretty much set up camp wherever you want, which is technically known as ‘dispersed camping‘. I have topo maps of just about every state in the west for the sole purpose of knowing exactly where to find Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. I pour over the maps, until I’ve located the perfect obscure road.
We drive down some nearly nonexistent two-track in search of some real estate. We typically don’t camp in the same place more than one night (if so we usually sleep in our van), but if we plan to stay awhile, each patch of flat ground is critically evaluated. I envision it as our camp, getting out to kick at the dirt a bit while I mull it over… weighing the benefits of ‘settling’ at a spot with the costs of going further in search of an even better spot and having to set up in the dark.
The perfect camp has: A few trees (or at least a bush or two if we’re in the desert). An old abandoned fire ring. Dirt soft enough for hammering in some stakes. Flat ground. And a hill somewhere nearby to hike up, in order to look down on camp first thing in the morning.
Once we’ve found the perfect spot I then employ my horribly suppressed homemaker skills to turn my patch of bare dirt in the middle of nowhere into a cozy dwelling for five. I find a rock that appears ‘meant’ to hold my water jug. Two trees that are placed ‘just so’ to hold up my hammock. A branch that was destined to serve as a hanger for my drying dish rags.
I set up the ‘bedroom’ where the tent goes, with a rug in front for shoes and sand. Way over there (WAY over there) I stick the shovel in the ground, topped with TP, in front of a giant bush that grants privacy for bathroom activities. The kitchen is set up near the fire ring, but not too close to the bedrooms, with an open bar for daily activities. If I am forced to rig up a tarp to protect the eating area, well, that’s just an added bonus.
I came across a few pics to help illustrate my point:
I guess I’ve just come to crave that feeling of being totally alone in the world; but camping preferences are different for everyone. There are a few other bloggers blogging about their camping styles this week. Check these out:
What’s your camping style?