Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Camping Paradox

Over Memorial Day weekend we went camping in northern Ohio with one of our favorite families in the world, the Parkers.

I wish everyone knew the Parkers.

And I discovered the Camping Paradox.

The first night out there the temperature dropped to the mid-30's. And despite my supposed 0-degree sleeping bag and double layers of clothing, I spent the night shivering and trying to sleep with numb toes.

Mary was dressed in 5 layers of clothing (nope. not exaggerating) plus a blanket and a hat and didn't make a peep all night. In the morning, in a panic, I felt her cheek to make sure she hadn't frozen to death. 

It was cold, and I almost fainted on the spot. 

Then she moved. My pulse gradually slowed to a normal rate.

I think she was far warmer than I was. Partly because of all that chubby insulation she has:

Having verified Mary's "still alive" status, I lay back down and tried to remember why people like camping. It's not the dodging mosquitos. It's not the greasy hair. It's not the woodsmoke perfume. And I don't think it's the latrines. 

In my hypothermic and sleep-deprived state, I hated camping with a passion unsurpassed by inflation, dill pickles, or mean people. I hated nature, I hated the cold, and I hated the people that rated my stupid sleeping bag at 0 degrees. 

As the day wore on and I thawed out a little, we went on a hike.

The entourage: 10 adults, 9 kids, and 3 babies

We laughed at the kids. We laughed at the dog. We ate a killer dutch oven dinner. We made s'mores. We stayed up far past our bedtimes talking around the campfire. We went to church smelling like woodsmoke. We shared recipes. We watched the kids put on a "parade". 

At the end of it all, we found ourselves asking when we were going to do it again. 

That, folks, is the Camping Paradox. 


  1. it is DEFINITELY the latrines :)

  2. No killer raccoons this time? I'm sure you were disappointed about that. They would have kept your warm. Haha.

  3. Looks like fun! I'm proud of you for still going even with a little one. Glad Mary didn't freeze to death :)

  4. You know, I think those people who rate the sleeping bag temperatures must be trying them out for 15 minute intervals in walk-in freezers. Amen, Camber. Rating-shmating. Maybe that could be a new blog that we could start up about 'true' sleeping bag temperatures, and it will become so popular that we'll revolutionize the camping industry...or at least get some free goodies.

  5. Hi! I'm Heather and I was hoping you could answer a quick question I have about your blog! My email is Lifesabanquet1(at)

  6. Ha! So true, so true. I always wonder why I do it when I'm actually camping and then I get home and think, oh well I guess that was pretty memorable. But I do still love a good bed. :) Mary is a champ! I remember the first time we took Oakley camping was also the first time she slept through the night. Go figure.