I had given up on camping. I know that’s sacrilegious to some, but it’s true. After too many trips with the guys, sleeping on the ground, freezing my tail off, and eating crappy food, I was over it.
I had not camped in years until I met her. She knew what to do to get me back in the swing of things (yes I married her), and now I’ll share those tips with you.
Talk the Talk
You can challenge his manhood, infer he’s a mama’s boy, come right out and humiliate him in public, or you can do what she did and use all three. Okay, she didn’t do that, but she did give me that incredulous look usually reserved for when you hear “the dumbest thing ever” when I said I had no desire to camp. Then she just said, “Well, you’ve obviously never camped with me.” She was right, and I was intrigued.
Get the Gear, See the Light
Show him all the cool flashlights we now have with the advent of LEDs and let the gearhead in him do the rest. For some reason we men are fascinated by flashlights and like everything else, yes it’s a competition—and the brighter the better. The best flashlight I had in the past was one of those L-shaped olive-green ones from the army surplus store; yes, I am that old. Now, one look at the new lights such as the Heavy—Duty XL Tactical Flashlight from Stansport and he’ll be drooling for nighttime. These babies crank out 580 lumens when in the old days we didn’t even know what a lumen was. Add in the convenience of head lamps that were only for miners, and making dinner at night in the woods is a whole new experience.
Get the Gear, Get Some Sleep
The number one, the biggie, the top of my list item that got me back to sleeping in the woods, was an air mattress. Not just any air mattress but a queen size puppy with accompanying auto air pump. I’ve always said the only thing better than a good night’s sleep on a campout is an even better nap the next afternoon. Well maybe I didn’t always say that, but I sure do now. She really showed she loves me, understands me, and just plain gets it when she added this piece of gear.
The Spice of Life
You know what’s better than a hot dog for dinner? A ribeye steak, seasoned to perfection, cooked over an open fire and served with a baked potato garnished with green onions and bacon bits smothered with butter and sour cream. Now we’re camping. I used to show up with a pack of hotdogs, a case of beer, and me. Now we bring two coolers full of food and drinks and life is good. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. They would be right.
Let Him Play
I know it’s against your better judgement, but let him play with sharp objects. Give a man an axe and he’ll throw it, run with it, and keep it by his side all night. Men who have never even owned a knife will carry one all weekend when camping. The good part is he’ll chop all your wood—just keep the first aid kit handy because he’s probably never held an axe in his life. Yes it’s dangerous to throw an axe around, so of course we’re going to do it. Do not let him throw an axe at a living tree, or any living thing for that matter. Find an old stump or dead tree for him to throw his axe and knife at and he’ll stay out of your way all day.
It Pays Off
So there you have it: food, sleep, toys, and you; that’s really all he’s going to need. Just do it right and you’ll have not only a new camping companion but a pack mule, wood chopper, and bed warmer all in one.