What? Decorate? Who knew? Come on guys – tell me the truth. How many of you knew that pitching a tent was considered decorating? Or maybe I’m just the only guy that didn’t get this. My Honey and I used to fight or at least be at odds over setting up camp almost every time. The tension was thick and when we camped with friends they would notice it too. We loved the whole of the outdoor adventure so much that we would smooth it over each time and move on to happier things.
One particularly awful fight over the campsite arrangements resulted in nearly ruining a perfect full moon night. We managed to still enjoy some parts of the evening but the next day, we packed up and hiked back to the car. We were almost ready to give up on the whole camping component of hiking. It was bad.
We drove to the nearest town, found a place to cool off from the heat and sort out our angry feelings. How can two people who love each other so much and love these adventures fight so heatedly over setting up camp? What was wrong with us?
An idea occurred to my Honey about how to explain to me what she was feeling. It must have been a Divine whisper in her ear because it was so good. And I’m happy to give her big kudos for how she laid out this concept. In a nut shell – she explained that she needs to nest – she needs to decorate. She went on to explain that she believes that since she is the artsy creative woman that it is her responsibility to make it pretty for me. I tried not to let my mouth fall open as I listened to her as she carefully and respectfully fleshed out her point of view.
I am very practical when it comes to basic shelter and I value speed only second to staying dry. However, I wanted peace and fun in setting up camp more than I wanted to set new speed records for making camp. I want things done fast so we can move on to more fun but all fun was at risk with my current method…so I was very interested in her discourse.
She on the other hand is like a cat trying to get settled in a small card board box. You’ve seen it I’m sure. You can read about ours in Clivethecat.com my Honey’s blog. The cat circles and circles passing up many perfectly good comfortable positions until the magic one is reached. No one watching the cat can tell why or when the cat will settle down (I’ll tell you in a little bit just how very good her criteria actually is).
This difference between our views gets the infamous credit for why we are so often at odds when it’s time to set up camp! It was a moment of great relief as I began to understand what is going on in her magnificent mind.
As I asked questions and we talked more and more we fleshed out many criteria for nesting – decorating the campsite, if you will. There are more but here are 9 of them:
1. Is the location for the tent level? Sliding down into a crumpled fetal position over and over will really ruin a good nights sleep.
2. If it is just a very slight incline, which way should the foot box point so that our feet are just slightly down hill and not our heads.
3. Is the site free of roots, rocks and sticks?
4. Is the site free of poison ivy and holes that might be homes in the ground?
5. What is the view out of the tent door? Can we see the moon? the campfire?
6. Which way will the wind blow better through the tent in the heat and blow around us in the cold.
7. How does the site look and feel over all as one approaches it from a distance (this one is the one that sound most like decorating and almost completely escapes my comprehension). How does it feel when we are in it? Does it feel like home to her?
8. Will the heat and smoke from the fire cause any damage to our equipment?
9. Which way will the shade travel? How will that effect the temperature inside the tent and should we put up a shade tarp to protect from the afternoon sun?
This is all part of decorating to my Honey. I suggest that you ask Your Honey what she is thinking because she might know more about this than you think. My camp site architect sure has ideas that make it better!
We used to fight and now we plan. The fight method: I’d start to set up and she would ask a question. The answer could possibly lead to a slightly different angle or location of the tent or cooking area. It might really be a good idea or she might just be asking for a concession. We would try to process this conversation while tired most of the time and sometimes in the dark. This would go from frustrating to maddening inside me until we would just fight over every detail. The plan method: Now we spend 10-20 minutes discussing all the influencing elements and then we build the camp. If we are exceptionally tired and/or it is dark, we have concluded that I whip up a camp quickly and we make adjustment in the morning.
So, there you have it…making camp IS decorating?
What are some more things that you can share that are good decorating tips?