Why I never liked camping in a tent

1

Chuck Woodbury
ROADSIDE JORNAL
Originally posted on an early version of this website on Feb. 2, 2003
A reporter asked me recently why I enjoy RVing so much. I told him that I have always enjoyed it, and probably got hooked way back when I was a little fellow traveling the American West with my parents in their 15-foot Field and Stream camping trailer. That was absolutely the best little house a kid could have.

As the reporter and I continued our discussion, I recalled an incident from a recent RV trip that illustrated to me why I was never a big fan of tent camping. It happened a few years ago.


My wife, daughter and I were camped in a fully-occupied RV park in the tourist town of Leadville, Colorado. In the evening, a young couple and their infant son showed up at the park with their tent, requesting, then begging for a space. I overheard their pleas and offered them the lawn area next to my motorhome. They were very appreciative. “It’s our first camping trip as a family,” the father told me.

Soon the park went dark as everyone turned in for the night. In the morning, my wife, daughter and I arose well rested. Our neighbors, however, were not: they were cold, exhausted and upset.

“A sprinkler went off at 4 o’clock right underneath our tent,” the woman said. She told me about how the water had gradually seeped into the tent, and how she had struggled to keep her baby warm and dry.

We invited them into our heated motorhome to warm up and dry off. Later that day, as we drove away, I thought about the young family, and I was glad that I was traveling in a motorhome.

1
Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Prospector 1950

I remember back in 1985 while in the Military that I had gotten transferred from Ft. Sill, Oklahoma to FT. Huachuca, Arizona. During the trip my family and I decided to stop at Carlsbad Caverns for the night in order to do the old standard tourist bit of sight-seeing, with a tour of the caverns. Basically right outside the caverns there is (or at least at that time was), a small park where (back then), tourists could park an RV, or erect a tent for an overnight stay free of charge. Well, we erected our family tent for the night. Had our dinner, and just before dark went over to the caverns to view the wonderful sight of the hundreds of bats mass exiting the caverns upon their nightly food excursion. Afterward, we headed back to the campsite, performed the old standard sit around the campfire, roast marshmallows, and chit-chat routine. Then we went to bed, as we wanted to get up early and take the extended cavern tour. Sometime during the wee hours of the middle of the dark and daylight (time unknown, but probably around 12:30 to 1:00 am), we woke up in the middle of a thunderstorm with a heavy downpour. We thought, great, we could fall back asleep with the wonderful sound of thunder and the pretty flash of lightning every minute or so upon the tent walls. Well, We did. Suddenly, we woke up again and realized we were all soaked to the gills, and all our sleeping gear in the tent was floating in water about 3 inches deep, from the heavy downpour. Needless to say, we exited our tent then drove into town, and rented a motel room for the rest of the night. We got up the next morning had breakfast at the local diner, went back to the campsite, packed up our camping gear, did the old tourist “Tour the Caverns” routine, then headed upon our merry way to Ft Huachuca. A few years later while being transferred from Wyoming to Iowa while in the National Guard, we basically had the same thing happen to us again in Douglas, Wyoming. Never again will we sleep in a tent. We like to swim, but we aren’t fish, so therefore, we don’t particularly care to swim in water while sleeping in an opaque canvas aquarium. In fact now, my wife and I sleep in a homebuilt teardrop trailer while camping. At least it, our sleeping gear, and ourselves are high and dry if a sudden thunderstorm decides to arrive and display all its wonders in the middle of the night. Plus, it’s easier, and faster to set up and take down (generally around 3 to 5 minutes), at any chosen campsite (Pull or back in, drop the stabilizing jacks (about 30 seconds), set up the side table, and water jug, and plug in the power cord (if there are electrical hookups), otherwise 12volts from an onboard deep cycle battery pack. No, it doesn’t have the luxury of all the frills, thrills, and whistles of a larger factory made RV, but it sure does beat going swimming in the middle of the night and less hassles of erecting and taking down of a tent.