Many families are planning summer vacations and in Canada, camping is a very popular way to spend those long summer nights! My camping experiences have been miserable. Beginning with my mother sending us off for summer camping with Forest School Camps. I swear the tents were WW1 army surplus. Heavy, leaky, canvas. English summer being what they are, I endured squelchy, wet, cold, miserable weeks under the canvas. The food was horrible. I have memories of porridge for breakfast that had a consistency of mortar. We should have built a house rather than try to eat it!

In spite of my traumatic British camping experiences, I did try it a few more times.

In California, camping on a beach with sand everywhere you don’t want it compounded by high winds that came out of nowhere sand blasting all in its path including me. Dermabrasion, and not the good kind.

In France where it was either blazing hot or raining, and somehow even the chic French looked as bedraggled as we did and the food was inedible.

Then, a few times here in Canada, on a lake, with mosquitos hell-bent on sucking every ounce of blood out of my body.

I love nature, I really do. I love the great outdoors, I love the concept of quiet, peaceful solitude shared only with the loons calling to each other across the water, and Bambi and Thumper in the forest, and a simple tent between me and the starry, starry sky.

But reality just hasn’t lived up to that.

The last time I went camping was to a beautiful and remote area; the brook was making all the appropriate lapping, babbling sounds as it washed over the rocks and pebbles; it was blissfully devoid of other human presence and I was letting myself drift into a state of camping bliss. Until, someone miles away started shooting a gun, no doubt killing some poor creatures. That shotgun sound carried on the breeze and was shattering, successfully drowning out any brook-babble. “Relax, that’s the way it is in the country”, I was told. Really? I generally don’t relax when I hear a gun go off. That was the end of that trip and of camping. I packed up and headed back to the city where the sound of a gunshot is generally followed by the comforting sound of police sirens.

Net result of a weekend camping: Charred, horrible food, hair and clothes smelling of a campfire, dirt under the fingernails, and trauma of guns exploding in the far-off hills.

Camping means forgoing the basic needs of civilized living. Why do it? Do we have to suffer to be truly be at one with Nature?

I say NO!

GLAMPING has come to the rescue of all you who have lied to your girlfriend, or boyfriend, and pretended camping is one of your favourite things just cause they lied to you and said camping was one of their favourite things.

And some of you actually love camping. (I feel sorry for you).

So, whether you’re a camping loather, lover or liar some of these “finds” may make the experience work for you, or at least make it less unbearable!

Some of them actually made me think I might try it again. But I won’t.

Whatever your summer plans are, enjoy, laugh, have fun and LOVE!