It’s a long weekend here. Our church is holding it’s annual camp, and we are going. I wasn’t planning on going this year because of the logistics of camping with a baby, but Big Boy has been asking for the last eleven months when we would be going on Family Camp again, so off we go.
The problem with camping is the amount of equipment we need, and how much I need to get organised. Tent, sleeping bags, something to sleep on, cooking equipment, food, chairs, clothes. It’s hard to pack small when you have to fit everything in the car with four people. And I have to do it all myself this time because my husband is working overtime to get his report cards written.
I’m doing my best to take only what we need, which is a fair bit when we are travelling with small children who need entertaining during the grown-ups talks, and who are likely to get too dirty to re-wear clothes. We need a table and stand for our little BBQ to make meals easier and safer. We don’t need chairs, but I’d rather have a chair to sit in while breastfeeding, and it’s nice to chill back in a comfy folding chair. It’s also expected to be a little colder than usual this weekend. I’m doing fairly simple food so as to take as little equipment as possible , but I need to make sure we have enough food so that we aren’t caught short.
We do love camping, but unfortunately we haven’t done much of it for the last few years. I think we have only used our tent five times in the last 2 1/2 years since we bought it. Our options for going camping are for a one night trip on a weekend, but weekends during term time are full of doing schoolwork and “stuff maintenance”, or we can go for a few days during on or more of the school holidays, two of which we spend travelling down to visit my in-laws who are unable to come to us because of ill health, and we spend the other two holidays catching up on “stuff maintenance” that we’ve fallen behind on during the school terms. And it all seems like a lot of effort with little kids when we can’t find others who want to come with us.
If we had less “stuff maintenance” because we had less “stuff” - lawns, windows, overstuffed cupboards that need sorting, that sort of thing - then we could spend more weekends or a few days in the holidays, throwing a tent and some food in the back of the car and spending a night in a National Park somewhere. Being too busy with “stuff” means we are missing out on an activity that we actually like doing, and have to allocate a portion of our house for storing camping equipment that we only use once a year. In reality, we need to either ditch the surplus “stuff” or ditch the camping gear.