Camping With Others

Discussion in 'Adventures & Excursions' started by John & Jodi, May 14, 2017.

  1. John & Jodi

    John & Jodi Novice

    This past weekend we attended the Texas Tiny Trailer Rally in Ingram TX.
    To answer the most likely questions:
    • Yes, we were the only Camp-Inn trailer there.
    • Yes, the "T@bs" and "T@gs" were over-represented.
    • Yes, there were a smattering of other brands and styles there.
    Most enjoyable aspects:
    • The dance on Saturday night. Did we mention that we live in south Texas and LOVE to dance to traditional country music? Our dance cards were full and the band was GOOD.
    • The opportunity to look into other people's trailers and open their cupboards! To answer the most likely questions:
      • Yes, our stove rocks!
      • Yes, we have better storage.
      • Yes, we agree, our camper is more thoughtfully designed and better made.
      • Yes, we have an actual grey-water tank.
      • Yes, it really is that easy.
    • Also enjoyed the wine/beer tasting and camp fires. However, we are not sure which of these loosens people's tongues the most - alcohol or fire.... thoughts?
    Interesting side note for us was the opportunity to start identifying the different camping styles:
    • Minimalist: Maybe had a change of underwear in the storage area and ate freeze-dried food after reheating it in the camp-fire percolator. Had one mug, one plate, one set of dinner ware, and used soap provided by the park's facilities.
    • Prepared: Had 2 more sets of everything than needed and could adapt to most situations except the one currently being experienced.... make a note for next time and go borrow something from the over-packer.
    • Over-packer: The truck bed was really a Mary Poppin's storage area loaded with a never-ending supply of gear, gizmos, food, and all sorts of what-nots that took the better part of a day to set-up and the better part of another day to tear-down. Camping time was spent re-arranging (searching) for that one item...
    • Glamper: Started out with the themed pillows matching the color-coordinated bed linens, carried into the kitchen area with appropriately-styled linen table settings, complete with matching coffee canister and spice jars, used real silverware at meal times, had the fancy string-lights outlining the trailer so others could find them, attracted bugs with the chandeliers in their shelters, and always had an under-smell of "Off!" that the potpourri was trying to mask.
    This was our first time camping with others in a group situation. As novice campers, we found it overwhelming and enlightening....and while we may cringe at some of the observations that others made of us because we asked all those questions, we found that most everyone really wanted to be helpful and to show us different and easier ways to do things.
    Tour 931, Bear, ssackett and 6 others like this.
  2. Bear

    Bear Ranger

    John & Jodi,

    I've bet these eyes have read this post no less than six times and I chuckle with each read. Why? Because you are spot on! What you label as the over-packer I coined years ago as the "popcorn effect." Teardrops and tiny campers are intended to simplify the camping experience and there are some individuals who overthink the process. So the teardrop becomes so much more than it first appears.

    It is the curious mind that would like to see one additional category added to your list of observations. One that I, as a full-time, would have limited knowledge on and couldn't begin to pretend that I could speak in depth on the subject, and yet, would love to hear from those that could. Not only you but other couples as well.

    In titling this thread "Camping With Others" it could easily imply camping as a couple, a thread deserving of this forum and one I have yet to witness materialize. There are questions that I would love to know the answer to firsthand but that isn't in the cards as of yet. My experiences don't stem from being in a committed relationship. So I would like to ask you the following:

    Could you give an honest assessment of what it is like to camp and travel in close proximity with another being?
    Is the conversation on going?
    How easy is it to handle the others silent moments?
    What is it like to sleep in tight quarters with another being?
    Was there a transition period for adjustment?
    How easy was the give and take?
    Were there idiosyncrasies at home that can easily be overlooked that were more challenging to ignore in close confines?
    Did you learn anything about the other that you didn't know prior to owning a tiny camper?
    Did the outdoors provide enough space for each of you to do your on thing?
    Did you ever feel like you were in the others way?
    Did your world ever feel like it was closing in on you?
    Is there enough space in the kitchen area for both parties to contribute in the making of a meal?

    I could go on but this may seem overwhelming as it is. I do not know the experience of leisure travel with a significant other, as a couple in a committed relationship. I'd like to know that experience someday, unfortunately that day isn't today. So I'd love to hear your insight. Not your intimate details or secrets but a general assessment to the questions above with both man and woman's input. I'd like to hear (read) what other couples could add to this and then I just may add the single man's perspective.

    Are you up to the task? Is there anyone else willing to take on this assignment? I'm hoping to hear from both sides of the relationship, a woman's perspective may be different from the man that she's with and vice versa.

    I'll close for now.

    Walk in Beauty,

    Car and Jenn like this.
  3. Warren  Mary Ellen

    Warren Mary Ellen Junior Ranger

  4. John & Jodi

    John & Jodi Novice

    Ok BEAR, I’ll bite. Camping as a couple…. From a novice camper, who has never experienced solo camping….

    In our at-home life, we are often time-compressed with jobs that place different needs and require different qualities from us. John’s job is more straight-forward requiring a great deal of conceptual work translated into projects that develop business infrastructures. My work requires applying a large amount of technical information in emotionally-charged situations and keeping team members engaged while this is happening. Depending on what has gone on, I run about 2-3 days behind on being able to name what I am feeling and sometimes even being able to speak in complete sentences. For us, camping is a means to reconnect. We are out of our usual environment, unplugged, able to decompress. This is huge for us. Another reason we took up camping is that we needed a joint hobby where we could work together and enjoy being together. Camping has that built in. For instance, when we go to a state park, there are already trails to hike, benches to watch sunsets, fires to start, and fresh air to breathe.

    As background, John and I have been married for 25 years. Our experience could be very different if we had started this earlier in our lives or if we were earlier in our relationship.

    CONVERSATION – the starts, stops, and silences. Between the two of us, conversation is the spoken aspect of communicating. Part of marriage and part of camping together is choosing to get along with each other. We know each other’s patterns at home and we are not much different when camping. We already understand when it is best to let the silence be, to engage in chit-chat, or when to bring up more serious topics. Camping provides built in topics and gives us opportunities to explore new aspects of our relationship and to re-engage different topics such as our needs, values, and priorities. For us, this clarifying of where we currently are and where we want our lives to go has been a huge boon. That being said, there has also been some very tense moments where our eyes get jiggly, our mouths agape, and we couldn’t speak civilly to each other if we tried. Luckily, there are usually multiple hiking trails that each of us can use to settle down before we work it out.

    PROXIMITY – the spaces between and within. We enjoy being around each other and are both planners. Camping routines with a teardrop are not much different than home routines. To minimize real-time bickering, one of our strategies is to have a “lead” person and a “follow” person. In general, the lead person is responsible for overall mission execution and the follow person provides support to get the job done. After the job is done, we can “debrief” any difficulties suggesting tweaks for next time or celebrate our successes. At home, we cook together and clean up afterwards together. Almost all of these routines have translated into the camping world. We love the Camp-Inn galley, but to make it two-person friendly, we purchased a plastic container to hold dirty items waiting to be cleaned and a foldable “camp kitchen table” to hold this container and to provide a staging area for prepping food. This leaves the table free to eat on and allows one person to “hog” the space in front of the stove while the other one helps with prep, clean up, and setting the table before the meal. After the meal, we work together to get it cleaned up. Similar to being at home, within the trailer, we have our agreements on cleanliness levels, item storage locations, and “sides.” Being in the trailer is like being cocooned from the rest of the world; it is a haven and we treat it as such. Other than sleeping, we do not spend much time inside the trailer. When the weather has been marginal, we have spread out maps and guidebooks on the bed/couch areas utilizing the time to prepare for the next part of the adventure.

    In our experience as weekend and short-trip campers, camping together enables us to slow down and enjoy each other in a more focused way.
    Tom & Diana P, Jenn and Randy like this.

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