Becoming a happy camper

By Whitney Vickers -

I haven’t spent a weekend at home since the last weekend in July. Instead, I’ve been learning how to bring the luxuries of home to a camper at varying Ohio state parks.

It’s completely possible, as long as you get creative. Having a handy boyfriend to put it all together helps, too.

We spent the first weekend of August camping in a pop-up with friends at a music festival. Armed with two fans and a cooler, it was hot, we were dirty and all of our meals either came from a vendor or was pre-packaged and nonperishable. Camping in the pop-up was familiar territory to him. It was my first and only time ever staying in the pop-up. While music festivals are fun, it’s not easy to enjoy yourself while roasting in 90-degree temperatures with no escape.

In the days that would follow the festival, he searched high and low on varying Internet marketplace websites for a new camper. He wasn’t searching for anything too fancy or big, but something with solid sides, an air conditioner and refrigerator were his priorities.

When he found it, we took off early Saturday morning and headed to Indiana to go pick it up. We finally made our way down a gravel road, farm operations all around, and saw what would become our weekend home. Out of excitement, we had to stay in it that very night so we picked up some cleaning supplies and made our way to Caesars Creek. Together, we cleaned the camper up and got it shining like a new penny. We also started “to-do” list of things that needed to be fixed and dreamed of how we could upgrade it to include tiny luxuries.

Since then, we’ve completed that “to-do” list and have started on our “dream” list. The plumbing is functional now after a bit of work and we each took our first (cold) showers in it over Labor Day weekend. Our camping meals have upgraded from hot dogs over the fire to crock pot dinners with an expanding menu. We experienced a tire blowout and had to replace it before we could get it home, and we’re working on replacing the rest of them just to be safe. He installed a television with a swiveling mount and we underwent a wild goose hunt trying to find a DVD player in the small town we were camping near.

The generator was just fixed a couple weeks ago and it’s getting easier to mount our bikes on the rack each weekend, too. We’re still working on finding an awning and have figured out (through experience) that the biggest priority when it comes to packing and picking up camping supplies is conserving space. We wouldn’t mind buying some firewood in bulk so we can store it outside and let it get weathered. That way, the wood will burn better. Apparently good fire wood is hard to find.

Most lessons we have learned the hard way, but together — and one campground at a time — we are learning how to be happy little campers.

By Whitney Vickers

Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.

Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.