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Camper Shaming by Jeff Kingsbury

A couple of my partners here at Fourpoints make fun of me for camping in a camper. It’s sacrilegious to them. We all grew up in Colorado, but they grew up in the mountains of Evergreen and I grew up near downtown Denver.
Sometimes when the brown cloud over our city would shift, I could see the mountains from my backyard. Their backyard had an actual mountain in it. So naturally they are more comfortable in this environment. Me? Not so much.
See, my dad served in Vietnam at the end of the 60’s. As kids when we’d ask if we could go camping, he’d reply that he had slept outside enough for a lifetime. Somehow, years of sleeping in constant rain with giant bugs crawling all over him while occasionally being under attack soured him on the whole camping thing. Understandable now, but as a kid it sucked. We lived an hour away from some of the most beautiful and exciting outdoor spaces on the planet and we almost never got to go up there. We went to California every year instead. Yay! Anyway, my camping experience was limited to a couple dozen little camping trips in my 20’s and that was about it.
I enjoyed being in nature and doing all the fun activities, I loved the peace and quiet, cooking on a fire, hanging out with a  beer or six. But the sleeping part, NOPE. Cold, hard, lumpy ground, bugs, noises, bugs, more bugs, more noises. So as far as camping went, I could take it or leave it.
That is, until I met my wife. She is a Colorado native too, and her family spent a lot more time exploring the mountains when she was a kid. Well, her parents would take us and our two kids camping in this tiny pop-up camper on fun little weekend camping trips. We would enjoy nature, activities, peace and quiet, cooking on a fire, having a beer, then go to bed on a big fluffy mattress in a heated camper. We had hot water, a little fridge and freezer. All of our stuff stayed dry. A little cabin on wheels. For me, the camper was like having a cheat code for camping. So I was thinking I’m gonna like camping now. So we got a little camper of our own.
Well the fellas at Fourpoints think this camper thing is about the stupidest thing they’ve ever seen. They grew up camping the “real” way - freezing cold, using a rock as a pillow and a thorn bush as a blanket. Trail mix, beef jerky and beetle shells for breakfast served in a bowl they made out of mud. The idea of camping in a cabin with wheels made no sense to them. “If you want to sleep in a cabin, just get a cabin. This is not camping.” I think Kevin called it an “abomination”. It was camper shaming for sure.
As a city boy I didn’t know anything about campers or their apparent stigma. So for those who are unfamiliar with camper life there are a few ways to go about it:
● Campers can fill their tanks with water, load up a generator and live comfortably with water and power for a couple of days anywhere they can pull it .You can get to some pretty remote areas, so it’s more like a tent on wheels.
● Some campgrounds offer hook-ups where you plug into the water and electricity at the campsite and you could stay indefinitely. There are some campgrounds that are private, remote, quiet and you really feel isolated, but it really is kinda like a cabin on wheels.
● Then there are trailer parks, which have hook-ups, sewage lines, showers, parks, playgrounds, wi-fi and cable. These can be very nice but they are usually crowded and not really “in the elements”. These are like cabins on wheels in a parking lot.
We have tried all three, and probably enjoy the second option the most. I like the little creature comforts like hot running water. I also like to feel secluded and away from the chaos of the city. I feel like I get the best experience in our little camper with hook-ups.
 
Now that I’m with Fourpoints and spending so much time in the outdoor industry, I totally get the fellas making fun of me. For them camping is minimalism and being one with the elements. So naturally a rolling cabin with cable television and a refrigerator is an abomination. It’s how they were raised. For me camping is family and quality time together. Minimalism is unnecessary and the elements suck. So I say if people want to camp in a parking lot while watching Jimmy Kimmel on cable, that’s great! If you want to spend a few nights at a campground in your camper or tent, I totally get you. If you want to brush your teeth with a handful of pine needles in the middle of nowhere with Kevin and Patrick, hey - to each his own. Whatever you do, however you do it, just remember to clean up after yourself when you leave.
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