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Camping is that thrill of packing up a smaller version of your stuff so that you can live in a smaller version of your house.  Spending you day in the great outdoors with family and friends. The perfect way to spend a weekend.  Many people love it so much that they park their trailer at a campground year round.  Some even buy another camper to go camping at other campgrounds once in awhile.

As a child, my parents belonged to a camping club.  The club would meet once a month during the winter to plan the next summer’s camping adventures.  By the time camping season began, we knew where we were going camping every weekend for the next 6 to 7 months.  Included in the schedule was a ‘statewide campout’ where members of camping clubs in your gathered for a huge and activity camping adventure.  Also included in that schedule was a ‘national campout’ where all members of camping clubs were invited to camp together.  We attended the state camps but never attended a national camp.  My parents said the state was big enough.

My parents had a small Shasta travel trailer that was only used to sleep in and stay out of the rain when necessary.  It had a stove that was used for storing board games, a sink that was used to hold snacks, and an ice box (not a refrigerator) to keep out food cold.  We had to buy a block of ice (can you still buy blocks of ice?), we put it in a plastic dishpan and slid it into the ice box.  Our food was piled of top.  We had a cooler outside just for drinks.  We also had a small Coleman two-burner camp stove we used on occasion.

We also had a host of specialty tools to help with the cooking over an open fire.  We had a pie iron where you could turn two pieces of bread and your choice of filling into a golden hot pie.  We had a waffle dog maker essentially making corn dogs with ‘waffle’ textue, a popcorn maker, and, of course, the ever popular forks for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. We also had the heaviest cast iron dutch oven with a tripod to cook hobo stew and chili over the fire.  The food on our camping trips was better than carnival food. It’s true!

Building a campfire serves a multitude of purposes.  First, and probably foremost, is cooking. Second, it serves as your ‘burn barrel.’  All paper garbage can be tossed in while watching the temporary flare up.  And, third, it is a gathering place at the end of the day.  People gather to watch the fire and share stories.  

As a kid, I was more interested in playing with the other kids, swimming, canoeing, horseshoes, shuffleboard, and the playgrounds that are usually provided at the campgrounds.  Saturday nights often live bands or a DJ at the community center.  Sometimes there was even square dancing.  Some campgrounds offer bingo and tournament card games.  There was always something to do and someone to do it with.

I have so many memories of camping when I was kid.  There were probably hundreds of campgrounds we visited, thousands of hours spent around that campfire, and a slew of memories that still bring a smile to my face.  They really were to best times.

Have you ever went camping?  What was it like? What is favorite memory?