a camper i am not

We went camping this weekend.

I really don’t enjoy the act of camping, but I love my in-laws a LOT and they always manage to make it a good time, so we go on this trip every year.  I think this is our third year going out of the four-year tradition (we skipped 2009 when Eddie was born because I still had a fresh C-section scar).

We always go up Friday night to a campground on the Muskeegon River about an hour north of where we live.  Saturday we canoe all day and then we return Sunday morning.

Did I mention we tent camp?  I’ve blogged about our previous trips here (2008) (with more pics from that trip here) and here (2010).

I’ll have pictures of the trip after I get my canoe camera developed, but here are the things that I learned from this year’s trip…

1.  I have zero camping abilities.  I can’t set up a tent, blow up an air mattress, or enjoy dirt.

2. College kids have not changed at all since I was one.  They are still loud, drunk, and completely oblivious to the fact that there are other people in the campground.  Yeah, I’m looking at you, Rental Camper with the country and rap music.  Oh and you, Band of Douchebags behind the trees setting off illegal fireworks.  And no, I would never forget you, King Douche, for encouraging “Rage Paige” to vomit while sitting disturbingly close to our tent.

3. I can do my teacher voice in the summer.  Just ask the morons who tried to cut through our campsite to get to the “party” one site over.  The proof is the very wide berth they all made from then on.  They didn’t get quieter, but they didn’t come through our campsite either.

4. A sunburned face is indeed not better than a greasy one with more zits due to sunblock.

5. If you throw a football amongst four canoes going down a river?  Someone will lose their balance and fall out.  (he he…Liz).

6. My step-father-in-law will touch what he believes to be bear shit.

7. If told to be careful when picking up the incense stick thingys that keep the mosquitoes away?  Caution should be headed.  (stupid burn welts from ash).

8. Drunk girls will pull a Brittney and use public restrooms barefoot.

9. Prenatal vitamins require bringing a razor along on a weekend camping trip.  Unless of course it was my goal to blend with the woodland creatures. (Hint:  it was not).

10. An air mattress, no matter how firmly inflated, is no substitute for my own bed.

11. I can canoe for six hours without tipping us over.

12. After living on hobo pies and hot dogs, leftover anything from our fridge tastes great.

13. It is odd to not have a two year old around doing a running commentary on what vehicles are in your vicinity.

14.  Campground showers do not get you clean so much as make room for a new layer of filth.

15. My husband has a tough guy voice when it comes to drunk college kids.

16. Two people paddling a canoe is much faster than just one.  But not as relaxing.

17. Personal coolers at either end of the canoe is so much better than a shared cooler out of both of our reach.

18. College kids never miss an opportunity to point out a fart they just heard from a tent…even if they are in the middle of trying to pick up a drunk chick.

19.  It can be too hot to nap.

20. I can have fun camping…but I am glad we only do it once a year. (Thanks, Mom and Ray, for taking us along again this year!)

So…do you camp?  Do you like it?  Or are you like me and would MUCH rather vacation in a nice, air-conditioned hotel with a  big comfy bed?

**we also found out this weekend that we are becoming an aunt and uncle for the first time on Cort’s side of the family!  His sister, MacKenzie and her husband David, have been in the adoption process for about 15 months, and they just found out Thursday that they are the proud parents of twin boys!  Read all about it on their adoption blog, Stepping Stones, and maybe leave them a little Sluiter Nation love.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. We tent camped last summer and I swear the same people camped at our campground! I do not like camping either. My inlaws LOVE camping and there is always pressure to do it.

    My idea of camping is staying in a crappy hotel.

  2. Hehe, I cracked up at your ‘teacher voice’ reference.

    I cannot camp. I need a bathroom with a flushing toilet and mini shampoos.

    Kudos to you for surviving it!

  3. I love tent camping, but I only like to do it in secluded campgrounds. I just can’t handle drunken teenagers anymore!

  4. I LOVE you’re blog!!! You are extremely inspiring!!

    As for camping, I used to love it…BEFORE CHILDREN! Since having my first son eight years ago, we’ve camped a total of one time. We have plans to go camping the last weekend in July, and now the tally is up to THREE boys!! I’m bringing a VERY big bottle of wine! UGH!! I’ll be sure to report after we get back…if we all survive!! HA!

  5. I LOVE camping, and can’t wait til we can do it on a more regular basis! We stay at state parks which all have public restrooms available with showers, wear our grungiest clothes and try to laugh as much as possible. Some of our favorite camping foods include cinnamon pecan pancakes, parmesan couscous w/ sundried tomatoes and basil (and sometimes chicken), and cheeseburger macaroni.

  6. Hi! I found you on ThetaMom! Congrats on being the featured blogger!

    I Also thought I would introduce myself too because I am too a Michigander! Woot! (or should I say honk?)

    I didn’t camp this year due to being 5 months pregnant and not loving this heat we are having – but I would also take a hotel room over a tent ANY day. *shudder*.

  7. I LOVED camping growing up and before kids… this summer will be our first camping trip with BOTH the boys {2 & 5 months} I am nervous but oh so excited… 🙂

  8. Mmmm…hobo pies.
    We go camping every single year and I love it! Even the dirt!

  9. Since I just got home from a week in the woods with 4 children I can appreciate everything you said EXCEPT it being too hot to nap – I never even got to try.

    Canoeing sounds like fun. I’ve never done that.

    The camp showers where we were were 4 minutes long. I can’t take a 4 minute shower AND get the soap out of my hair/eyes.

    But we had fun. Lots and lots of fun.

  10. I love camping! But as a general rule, I don’t do it with children under the ages of 5. So yeah, don’t go camping too much these days…

  11. I, too, am not a camper. But I do it to please the husband. He loves it. The last time we went camping someone was having a HUGE 30th bday in the site next to us. Let me rephrase that, they were having a HUGE 30th bday RAVE. Techno music blasted ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Now anytime I hear house music I think, “aww…camping.” Totally the wrong effect.
    I avoid camping, and techno, at all costs.

  12. I have always described myself as an indoor girl so camping has never been one of my favorite things. I’m all for air conditioning and those cute little hotel toiletries. Of course, these days, with three kids under four years old, my definition of vacation has changed a bit. Give me three kids sleeping at the same time and I’m good to go. 🙂

    Stopping by from Theta Mom. Great to meet you!

  13. We go camping because the kids like it-end of story. As soon as they stop liking it we will stop camping because a) I hate being dirty, b) my kids always learn new swear words when my husband puts up the tent and c) I just realized this list could go on to z so I think I’d better cut it off here.

  14. Love your list! I actually just got home from camping! My husband is obsessed with it. It is not my cup of tea, but I tolerate it here and there. There really have been a couple of times that I have enjoyed myself very much and this weekend was one of those times. Good sleep, beautiful, nice and cool, no big problems. Now, the maniac is napping. Ahhhh.

  15. I love camping. I really do.

    (mostly after the fact when the unpacking and laundry is done and the poison oak rashes have subsided.)

    I know that makes me sound ambivalent about the experience but the camp fires and s’mores and hikes are pretty great. I don’t mind dirt at all.

    It’s just that packing all that stuff up into the car, then unpacking at the site, then packing it back up again into the car, then back out of the car into the garage….

    It’s a lot.

    Once a year’s good. Maybe twice.

    But really? A resort in Hawaii wouldn’t suck.


    Maybe someday.

  16. Well, look at it this way, you’re done for the year, right?

    I am NOT a fan of camping either. Not even one little bit.

    Give me a five start hotel, an over-sized robe, Pay Per View and room service any day.

  17. Oh Lordy Lord! Camping is always one of those things that’s hell at the time, but then once you’ve gotten home and had a shower and a good night’s sleep, magically becomes a fond memory that causes us to do it again and again!

  18. I can so rock the teacher voice. Whenever, wherever. Like Shakira and her hips. It’s a talent we share, really.

    I have a love-hate relationship with camping. I like it, but I hate it.

    I think I hate it more than I like it as I think about it more.

  19. We camp, tent camp. We even backpack. It is both awesome and suckish. Usually when we get back I swear I am never going again. Also, my husband takes weeks (literally) to put all the camping gear away, which makes me want to stab him in the jugular.

    A while back I wrote a post about camping too, you might enjoy it. http://twinisms.com/2011/05/30/backpacking-with-babies/

  20. My idea of camping is the Hampton Inn. I am just not the outdoorsy type whatsoever!

  21. so, i don’t “camp” so much as “have been camping”. here’s what i know: april on the beach *northwest florida has some great state parks* is far superior to late october in the wild of wyoming. it IS important to get the condo tent…ya know, the one with the living room. i will pee in a bucket that is 4 feet from where i lay my head rather than be eaten alive by the howling wolves somewhere between the cabin *and i use the term loosely* and the outhouse. and last but very much not least, i despise with the heat of a thousand suns to get dressed lying down, wiggling into jeans or god forbid out of wet clothes inside a tent that only has 2 corners still standing due to massive rainfall overnight. wow, re-reading, i’m realizing that i could totally qualify as a guide to…well, somewhere.

    how cool is it that you love your in-laws? that’s fantastic. glad you had fun!