Car Camping

I am writing this post literally off the heels of a weekend up in the mountains. I have been wanting to go camping for sometime now, but it just never seems to work out. Either the weather is bad or I don’t have the equipment, whatever it is, I have not gone camping for a long, long time. That all changed this weekend, where I went “Car Camping”.

First, before I give a brief definition of “Car Camping” I must say that Utah is has the luxury of being extremely close to some beautiful forests, mountains, and landscapes. It took us less than 45 mins from house door to tent zipper. That is unheard of, outside of a few states, states that you wouldn’t really want to live in. So, tip of the cap to Utah.

As with any camping trip there are some last minute items that need to be picked up. We stopped at REI to get sleeping pad, rain ponchos, and whatever looked like we NEEDED to have. By the way, REI has lots of things that look like you need to have them. The camping industry has really exploded. I mean, I saw some gear that just blew my socks off – Reclining chairs, rocking chairs, intense looking one person tents, hundreds of knives, etc. I could spend a lot of money there.

I ask a sales rep where I can get a sleeping pad. She gives me the up down look and repeats back to me, as if we are in 5th grade grammar class and says, “You mean a sleeping pad?”. I can tell already that I am not one of her people. Her people aren’t mine.

“Yes,” I respond “a sleeping pad”.

“What kind of camping are you doing?”

“We are going to the mountains tonight. We are just, I dunno, camping.”

“Are you backpack camping? Car camping?….”

I cut her off before she could say another type of camping, “We are just going normal camping.” Her demeanor darkens when she hears me say ‘normal camping’.

“So you are driving up to your campsite?” she says. The very sentence seems to be a violation of everything that she holds sacred in life.

The air is heavy from her question. I pause for a moment, letting her question sink in. I had never considered that this was a problem or looked down upon. It seemed like I was violating some code that was made since the dawn of time. “Yeah.” I say, almost ashamed. I look around to see if anyone else is around that could hear my sin.

“That’s car camping…” She gives up on me completely and points to the section dedicated to sleeping pads.

I slink away to the sleeping pads. The pads range from the traditional bright blue quarter inch pad of “you’re going to sleep horrible” to the $200 self-inflating pad that can fit inside of a tin can. I was out of my realm. This decision was too much for a “Car Camper”.

I’m a car camper?

I choose the bright blue pad and hurry to the check out line. The cashier seems to know I am “Car Camper” as he nods his head to me. I want to say aloud – It’s a made up term that doesn’t even make sense. I’m not sleeping in my car! Only God can judge me. 

“Two rain ponchos, a bright blue sleeping pad, and a beenie… that will be $43, sir.”

I hand him my credit card. He swipes it and then looks at me and says, “Sorry, I failed to mention, you owe us some of your pride. Thanks for shopping with REI.”

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