The (almost) 30-year-old (camping) virgin


The closest I’ve ever been to camping has to be the time my college friend thought sleeping in her parents’ yard after a wedding was the best arrangement for our group.  This was July 2009 in Central Iowa.  I was young and full of hope; never felt pain.

That would all change that night.

I woke up to my friends huddled around me, seated in a semicircle as the unmistakable pattering of rain hit the tent over our heads.  I was disoriented; was I really sleeping outside?  How did I get talked into this?  Didn’t I act PRETTY HIGH MAINTENANCE about this idea last night?

Yes, friends.  Yes I had.  Which is why my friends were crowded around me, intensely whispering in the wee hours of Sunday morning. The rain had started to seep into the tent, waking up these outdoorsy fools.  Wordlessly, they all decided to use their absorbent bodies to soak up the rainfall while they debated waking me up.  I am never a treat to rouse, but, it is even worse when I am woken up in the wilderness (suburban Des Moines) with a HEAPING HELPING OF I TOLD YOU SO LOCKED AND LOADED.

The next thing I remember is running across her parents lawn with a blanket over my head shouting, “THIS IS WHY YOU DON’T SLEEP OUTSIDE.”

Now I am older.  Crankier.  World weary and with more non-negotiables.  And with a less forgiving appearance.  Thus, pretending to be homeless on the weekends holds far less romance than ever.


I now live in California.

These GD people.

And their love of the great outdoors.

So, on the third weekend of January, the year of our lord 2018, months from my 30th birthday, I will be camping for the first time.

I am determined to have a good attitude.  I am determined to take a reasonable shower.  I am determined to not shriek at a bug.  I am determined to go into the ocean.

But, to do that, I need your help.

Share your BEST CAMPING ADVICE WITH ME HERE!  We’re on the same team, guys.

Here is the only camping advice I have gotten so far, as I am also polling unsuspecting men on Tinder because this is my life now:


Comment below or find me on social media to make sure I survive while I camp.  Here is a little info about the campground, if that does it for you.


4 thoughts on “The (almost) 30-year-old (camping) virgin

  1. Aunt Mary January 9, 2018 / 4:58 pm

    I, too, am not a fan of camping outside! I have managed to survive a few times, but not without a bit of disgust…I prefer putting an air mattress in the back of my van…good luck and have fun! I do enjoy Star Gazing, though…so I guess that would be my advice to you…be sure to admire the night sky – I’ll pray for a clear sky night just for you! Love you, Girl – Aunt Mary 🙂

  2. ladiekatielife January 9, 2018 / 3:38 pm

    I second Jessica’s advice on flashlights and add to make sure they are high voltage (brighter) flashlights… battery-powered lanterns wouldn’t be a bad option either. Bug repellent. Pack your belongings in ziplock bags and keep the air in them. (not sure if you’ll be by bodies of water, but in case something falls into said body of water, it will remain dry and when the air is left in the bag, it will float!) Socks are necessary, as are a GOOD PAIR of hiking BOOTS (not shoes.) Always assume it will rain, Cait. Thus, pack a poncho, long, warm pants, etc. to stay both warm and dry. Maps/GPS are crucial, especially in large woodsy areas. Cait… animals are wild out there. DO NOT TRY TO PET THEM. Bring a roll of TP. Read up on local flora and fauna to see what you can or cannot touch/come into contact with. Always go potty with a buddy. And…if the weather is nice, spend at LEAST an hour outside, in your sleeping bag, looking up at the stars. It’s a camping cliche requirement. Hobos with banjos/guitars to sing diddies about their travels are optional.

    Oh! and HAVE FUCKING FUN! Not all of us have the opportunity to play outside in January, ma’am.

  3. Jessica Schiermeister January 9, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    Don’t keep any food outside or in your tent. Put it all in your car before you go to sleep. Bring a pad to sleep on; the ground is hard and it sucks for sleeping. Flashlights. Plan to maybe not be able to start any fires; bring lots of bars and other food stuffs you don’t have to cook. Water water water.

  4. Mom January 9, 2018 / 1:23 pm

    Unfortunately I am of the same ilk and do not appreciate camping. So my advice? Shake out your shoes before putting them back on. nasties crawl inside I’ve heard.

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