Camping with my Dad

One of things I remember most about my childhood is going camping with my Dad. He was a very keen walker and walked the whole of the South West coastal path over several years and the area he most liked to walk around was Dartmoor, where he grew up. So he used to take us on walking trips there and at the end of the day we would camp.

The difference between camping with my Dad and other camping with other people is that my Dad saw camping as a way we could spend the night somewhere and continue our walk the next day but never as an excursion or holiday in its own right. We always used a very basic two man tent, the only type that people really had in the '70's, had a bed roll and sleeping bag each, a torch and nothing else, since he had to carry most of it. We cooked a tin of beans or sausages over a very basic stove and ate straight out of the pan.

I must admit this is still how I see camping now and this basic experience has differed my view of camping from others ever since. Most people I know like to camp for the sake of it and take the most extraordinary (to me) amount of paraphernalia to do so. Not only that but the design of tents themselves have changed. No longer can they easily be put up or even carried by one person but require two just to hold and bend the poles over, they have bedrooms and porches, some have shelves, compartments and even living rooms. These tents of course need to be furnished and this is where the paraphernalia comes in. I have seen people bring their own cushions, chairs, tables, rugs, duvets, pillows and even bins and toilets. The whole car is full to the brim with the camping equipment - my Dad would have been astounded - but of course nothing can take away the fact that camping is still camping. It is still outside and it is still uncomfortable.

I do still enjoy camping, I love the outdoors - my Dad taught me to appreciate nature, the sea, the birds and wildlife. I love walking and being at one with nature and I love the idea of going on two day walks that require an overnight camp. I haven't done that sort of camping since I was a child but the idea still really appeals. And I love camping for a reason - a music festival or a few days getting together with a few friends but I haven't yet been convinced about the 'stuff' needed or going for the sake of it, I think I'd rather be in a hotel!

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