What did you learn on your first camping trip this year?

The first camp of the season is unique. It’s one of the only trips of the year (at least for me) with any kind of objective.

Generally, camping for me is about escaping any kind of goal or responsibility. When I am at home there is always stuff to clean, or organize, or tend to – phone calls to make, people to see, Facebook to check.

The objective of camping is precisely to avoid this long list of responsibilities. But the first camp trip of the season comes with its own list of responsibilities.

They aren’t arduous. They aren’t commitments to anyone else. Just tying up all the loose ends a long off-season leaves behind.

1. Finding that “critical” thing you promised yourself you wouldn’t forget to replace. It’s inevitable.

This year’s debate around our campsite was whether the most critical miss was the hand sanitizer or the tinfoil. At least it wasn’t the “matches and good sleeping bags” incident of ’95.

2. Relearning the right ratio of snack food to meal food. You can’t go all weekend on marshmallows and spitz, but running out would be tragic.

There is a knack to making sure you have all the food you need “without going over” (thanks, Mr Barker). We pack our vehicles pretty tight, so there is a bit of a mandatory degree of consumption required to offset the expansion that comes when packing up at the campsite.

3. Incorporating the spoils of the off-season.

I seem to spend so much of the off-season pining for the next camping trip that I acquire a plethora of new camping paraphernalia. For example, a new set of camp pots and the newest coffee system.

I got two new ones this year (I now have five different ways to make coffee at the site). Obviously, some decisions need to be made by the end of the weekend – which stuff goes to the family camping pile, and which to the canoe camping pile?

The good news is that the kids will eventually be old enough to camp on their own, and we’ll have a place for that really old crap we just won’t use any more.

4. Re-acclimating your system to the toxin left behind by the Nobel mosquito.

There is a whole other story in that, but I’ll leave that for another time.

As of the Victoria Day long weekend, we now have the first camping trip of the season under our belts. Soon we’ll have the entire kit repaired and replenished. The rusty skills are coming back.

Which means that on the next trip I get to accomplish – exactly nothing.

It’s going to be great!

Mark is a Certified Campologist who likes to escape the the Big City and get Out & Away