Unless you’ve grown up spending your holidays camping you should approach any attempts at camping at a grown-up age with a certain degree of humour and a lot of patience. This was, to sum up, the insight of our last year’s camping weekend at Lake Bohinj. This year we (well, I, to be fair to my hubbs) decided to give it another try. Our trip to Soca valley was considerably less stressful and I almost changed my opinion to “if we can camp, anyone can”. However, I realised that there are still a couple of obstacles that can either make or break your camping experience. If you can’t get past them you might want to forget camping altogether.
You value your neighbour’s privacy as much as yours
Camping means you’ll be living a couple of metres away from a Belgian family with three kids on one side and a Spanish couple with two dogs on the other. So try having a relaxed evening over a glass of wine while a three year old kiddo is going through a tantrum over some vegetables he doesn’t want to eat or the tiny Chihuahua won’t stop barking at that annoying high-pitched voice.
If you’re not used to camping you’ll probably feel you’re constantly being observed. It takes a while until you realise that most of the time everyone is simply minding their own business and that you somehow get lost in the masses.
The lack of privacy, however, goes both ways. Even though you are not nosy by nature, in a campsite you simply can’t avoid seeing or hearing things that should normally be kept in the privacy of other people’s homes. Kids running around in their onesies and crocs might be cute, older ladies going to the bathroom in their bathrobes look weirdly out of place. And instead of listening to the sounds of nature you’re more likely to hear your next neighbour snore in their tent or go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Better get used to it or bring ear plugs.
You can’t let go of your hygiene standards
I’ve never come across camping toilets that didn’t smell and showers without a couple of hairs not belonging to me. This unavoidably leads to less trips to the bathroom than I would normally deem necessary. I showered in the afternoon after we returned from our hiking trip so I don’t need to shower in the evening if I didn’t break a sweat again, right? You get the logic.
Similar rule applies to clothes: sweaty socks and sports bra can easily be worn twice. After ten minutes of hiking you don’t notice the difference anyway. Besides, I’m not freshly showered, remember? If you think this borders to self-neglect you’re definitely not cut out for a camping holiday.
The smell of cooking food makes you hungry
Walk through a campsite in the evening and you’ll feel as if you were strolling through a food court. Aromas of food wafting through the air are simply irresistible: Here the smell of chicken wings grilling on barbecue, over there the scent of garlic and tomatoes roasting in olive oil… and do I smell someone making pancakes???
To survive this ordeal it’s important to time your meals according to everyone else otherwise you’ll be hungry all the time. During our last camping trip we made the mistake and prepared our main meal at lunch time when other campers were either sleeping or pursuing some adrenaline sports in the area. Imagine our mouths watering in the evening when everyone around us was barbecuing, roasting and doing whatever else to their food giving off heavenly aromas. It was as if we walked straight into a street food festival after a week of fasting. A bottle of wine and some cheese could hardly make us stop drooling.
If you’re like us you should first bring only your favourite food (regardless of any diets you might be on) and second carefully plan your meals so that you don’t end up hungry and totally frustrated while your neighbours are feasting on their dinner like there’s no tomorrow.
Curious about where we were? We stayed at the Kamp Koren campsite right next to the Soca river in Kobarid.