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Why I Hate Camping

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Camping is a fundamentally ridiculous proposition. We spend hours and hours of our lives trying to make a decent living so that we can pay to live in the apartment complex or house that affords us certain comforts according to our income range. We budget for food, create complex, mathematical formulas to maximize the use of our air conditioning for the least amount of cost, and we sneak pocket shots into bars so we can get drunk in public without paying a hefty tab. Basically, we spend the majority of our lives trying to create as much comfort as possible for ourselves. Once we’ve built up our vacation days, some doofus comes up with the brilliant plan of going camping.

On the surface, some of it makes sense. We came from nature, we’re ostensibly a part of nature, and it’s fun to check out of our busy lives and shut down the technology, right? Well, yeah, but you can also do that at a fucking spa on the beach. Maybe you can’t afford a spa weekend, but you can certainly afford to drive a few hours and rent a cheap hotel room in a small town and do some exploring, right? That has just as much isolation and therapeutic value as a camping trip, minus having to set up a Rubik’s Cube of vinyl and poles while being feasted on by mosquitos.

All this talk about getting “into nature” is bullshit. Aren’t we all cheating with technology anyway? I mean, sure, it’s fine to bring in your own shelter and everything, but once you add the Coleman stove, the beer cooler, and the heater for the tent, aren’t you basically just replicating a shitty version of a house? How woodsy are you really if you’re hauling in the outdoor equivalent of beds and a thermostat? I mean, even the most hardcore guys are still showing up in neoprene and Gore-Tex and fucktech. You couldn’t have a bigger clash of modern technology and wilderness without actually building a skyscraper in the middle of the woods.

Now, I imagine most of you probably just think I’m a product of the pussy, indoor generation who spent the entirety of his childhood locked in a basement playing video games and trying to figure out how to use Cheeto dust as a masturbation aid. Quite the opposite, actually. I went camping with my dad at least six or seven times a year, worked on a farm every summer, and hunted with friends every deer season. And I still fucking hate camping. Or, at least, the “let’s go into the woods so that we’ll be in the woods” type of camping.

Maybe what I’m advocating for is activities. Hunting, rafting, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, mountain climbing, polar bear watching, goose migration tracking, beaver dam surfing, hog fucking–all of these are acceptable reasons to camp. Camping for the sole purpose of camping is like running on a treadmill. Yeah, there are some benefits, but it’s literally the most boring version of the thing you’re trying to do. Just like a treadmill is surrounded by the same four walls, with the same stupid equipment, and same idiot people all around you, camping for the sake of camping is sitting in a circle, telling your same stupid stories, with your same idiot friends. Who’s ever gone on a camping trip and talked about anything other than what you would on an average Friday night?

So as the summer gets underway, my only request is that you think a little more carefully about your plans. Try to persuade your friends to actually do something other than sit around a fire, tell tales that everyone knows are made up, and retire at the end of the night to your weird-material spread over thin rods. Seriously, if you gain nothing else out of this, just ponder for a moment how fucking weird tents are as a concept. Really fucking weird is the answer, dear readers. Really fucking weird.

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Randall J. Knox

Randall J. Knox (known colloquially to his friends as "Knox") left his native Texas a few years ago, and moved to Los Angeles in his '03 Buick Regal named LeRoi to write movies with his jackass college buddies. His favorite things in life include bourbon that's above his pay grade, mix CDs, and Kevin Costner films. He isn't sure what "dad jeans" are exactly, but he knows he wants a pair.

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