Speak Eagle

The Evolution of Camping

Long ago we were courageous hunters and diligent gatherers. We slept in caves at night and walked the land in the day.

And then we had a brilliant idea. What if we created a shelter outside of the cave that wouldn’t limit us to cave-dwelling? So we created make-shift tents out of wooden poles and fabric and caught our food from the field or the sea.

camping1905Tents were necessary because we needed shelter, but we also needed to be able to pick up our tent and move quickly, should our situation require relocating for safety or resources. People who lived in the sweetest tents were asked, “Could you make me one like that?” They became the tent manufacturers.

But daily life in our tents was far from brilliant. The ground was rocky and uncomfortable, our blankets were often wet from dripping rainwater, and we awoke to sounds of wild animals. Not to mention having to get up in the night and tiptoe through mosquito-infested woods to go to the bathroom.

As we began to plant crops and establish vocations, the need to relocate diminished and we built more permanent dwellings of wood and bricks. Houses. The tent manufacturers were financially devastated.

However, we enjoyed the brilliant luxuries of running water and air conditioning, comfortable beds and windows that closed out the sounds of the wild animals. We no longer had to build fires to cook our food- we had ovens. womanwithovenAnd if we needed to go to the bathroom in the night, we need not tiptoe through the mosquito-infested woods, we need only tiptoe across the cushy carpet to our indoor plumbing.

But the disgruntled tent manufacturers did not die off. They had children who had children who had children to whom they passed on the dream of recouping the lost profits from generations of permanent-dwellers. These brilliant communicators banned together and brainstormed their plan: To make tent-camping look fun. They would create banners which would market the excitement of, “The Great Outdoors!” They would design tents with skylights, tents with windows, tents with 572 simple poles for easy assembly.tentassembly

They would create zero-degree sleeping bags, over-the-fire popcorn poppers, and long sticks to roast marshmallows. Not to mention bug spray and propane lanterns- with a warning not to put them together.

And somehow, people believed them. And they bought the tents and the sleeping bags and the popcorn poppers. And they traveled hours away from their comfortable dwellings and paid money to brilliant landowners to set up their tents on the rocky ground, build fires to cook their food they caught from the sea, and tiptoe through mosquito-infested woods to go to the bathroom in the night.

FullSizeRender-3But as sweaty and hard and uncomfortable as it was, they found that in those challenging circumstances, they made memories. Memories that perhaps their ancestor, cave-dwellers made, like playing games, collecting wildflowers, watching stars, laying in hammocks, and of babes in arms sleeping in the firelight.

And the memories made it all worth it.

Unless you want to get a pop-up camper, which I highly recommend. Then you can enjoy a few of the brilliant comforts of home- like a bed. And a…bed. Okay, you’ll enjoy just one of the comforts of home. You’ll still have to cook your food outside and tiptoe through mosquito-infested woods to go to the bathroom, and one of your children might fall off of the narrow couch where he sleeps a few times in the night. And the camper won’t exactly “pop up.” It will crank up loudly by ratcheting it 160 times, waking up everyone within a 5-mile radius, but you will have a bed.

And the memories. Right. The memories make it all worth it.

Unless you want to stay at a resort, which I also highly recommend.  Talk about brilliant.

But if, like us, you choose to camp, I salute you.

Here’s to campers everywhere.


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