The Challenges of Tent Camping

The Challenges of Tent Camping

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The Challenges of Tent Camping

 

 

     Each year, thousands of people throughout the United States

choose to spend their vacations camping in the great outdoors.

Depending on an individual's sense of adventure, there are

various types of camping to choose from, including log cabin

camping, recreational vehicle camping, and tent camping.  Of

these, tent camping involves "roughing it" the most, and with

proper planning the experience can be gratifying.  However, even

with the best planning, tent camping can be an extremely

frustrating experience due to uncontrolled factors such as bad

weather, wildlife encounters, and equipment failures.

 

     Nothing can dampen the excited anticipation of camping more

than a dark, rainy day.  Even the most adventurous campers can

lose some of their enthusiasm on the drive to the campsite if the

skies are dreary and damp.  After reaching their destination,

campers must then "set up camp" in the downpour.  This includes

keeping the inside of the tent dry and free from mud, getting the

sleeping bags situated dryly, and protecting food from the

downpour.  If the sleeping bags happen to get wet, the cold also

becomes a major factor.  A sleeping bag usually provides warmth

on a camping trip;  a wet sleeping bag provides none.  Combining

wind with rain can cause frigid temperatures, causing any outside

activities to be delayed.  Even inside the tent problems may

arise due to heavy winds.  More than a few campers have had their

tents blown down because of the wind, which once again begins the

frustrating task of "setting up camp" in the downpour.  It is

wise to check the weather forecast before embarking on camping

trips; however, mother nature is often unpredictable and there is

no guarantee bad weather will be eluded. 

 

     Another problem likely to be faced during a camping trip is

run-ins with wildlife, which can range from mildly annoying to

dangerous.  Minor inconveniences include mosquitos and ants.  The

swarming of mosquitos can literally drive annoyed campers

indoors.  If an effective repellant is not used, the camper can

spend an interminable night scratching, which will only worsen

the itch.  Ants do not usually attack campers, but keeping them

out of the food can be quite an inconvenience.  Extreme care must

be taken not to leave food out before or after meals.  If food is

stored inside the tent, the tent must never be left open.

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  In

addition to swarming the food, ants inside a tent can crawl into

sleeping bags and clothing.  Although these insects cause minor

discomfort, some wildlife encounters are potentially dangerous.

There are many poisonous snakes in the United States, such as the

water moccasin and the diamond-back rattlesnake.  When hiking in

the woods, the camper must be careful where he steps.  Also, the

tent must never be left open.  Snakes, searching for either shade

from the sun or shelter from the rain, can enter a tent.  An

encounter between an unwary camper and a surprised snake can

prove to be fatal.  Run-ins can range from unpleasant to

dangerous, but the camper must realize that they are sometimes

inevitable.

 

     Perhaps the least serious camping troubles are equipment

failures; these troubles often plague families camping for the

first time. They arrive at the campsite at night and haphazardly

set up their nine-person tent.  They then settle down for a

peaceful night's rest.  Sometime during the night the family is

awakened by a huge crash.  The tent has fallen down.  Sleepily,

they awake and proceed to set up the tent in the rain.  In the

morning, everyone emerges from the tent, except for two.  Their

sleeping bag zippers have gotten caught.  Finally, after fifteen

minutes of struggling, they free themselves, only to realize

another problem.  Each of the family members' sleeping bags has

been touching the sides of the tent.  A tent is only waterproof

if the sides are not touched.  Their sleeping bags and clothing

are all drenched.  Totally disillusioned with their "vacation,"

the frustrated family packs up immediately and drives home.

Equipment failures may not seem very serious, but after

campers encounter bad weather and annoying pests or wild animals,

these failures can end any remaining hope for a peaceful

vacation. 

 

     These three types of camping troubles can strike campers

almost anywhere.  Until some brilliant scientist invents a

weather machine to control bad weather or a kind of wildlife

repellant, unlucky campers will continue to shake their fists in

frustration.  And, more than likely, equipment will continue to

malfunction.  Even so, the rewards of camping are plentiful, and

it continues to be a favorite pastime of people all across the

United States. 
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