Camping might represent everything that’s wrong with society. I’m not even exaggerating to make a point, like I sometimes do. What a stupid thing to do.
When I talk about camping, I’m not talking about packing up a truck, pitching a tent, and sleeping on the ground. For the purpose of this blog post, let’s refer to that as “tenting it.” Tenting it I totally get. You need a campfire while tenting it, or else you starve (or eat cold ravioli out of the can, which is never fun). You’re protected from rain in the tent, but not cold, or bears, or anything else that you probably don’t want to come across in the middle of nowhere in the woods. That’s the fun of tenting it, being in the woods, being left to fend with nothing but a few supplies and your own devices. That’s what camping should be.
Instead, we have this.
Look at this campground, which is a very generous name for this flat piece of grass near the highway. Look how close all those RVs are to each other. What fun! You get to escape the city, and your ass neighbours, only to drive a few hours and part your RV right next to some new ass neighbours. Not only that, but you pay for the privilege to get the comforts of home like power and water. Like $40 a night. What a bargain!
Since only suckers buy a new car, let’s apply the same principles to RV and trailer buying. After exhaustive internet research (read: 3 minutes on autotrader) I found plenty of nice, slightly used trailers for between $15 and $20k. Since I’m feeling generous, let’s assume the average cost on one is $16k. I’m also going to be generous and assume they only depreciate 7% a year, rather than the 10% number that’s probably more realistic for slightly used units. I’m betting the first year’s depreciation is more like 25%.
Over 5 years, owning that $16k trailer will lose you a little less than $5k, just from depreciation alone. Nice work there, camping moron. But wait, there’s more!
You’ll need to own a truck to pull said trailer. Let’s assume you want to own a truck anyway, because you live in rural Alberta and are compensating for something. Truck mileage can drop as much as 50% when towing a heavy load. For the sake of putting a number out there, let’s say the average truck gets 15 miles per gallon while towing a trailer. In comparison, my little Ford Focus gets 36 MPG. If we both drive 200 miles to our destination burning fuel that cost $4 per gallon, the camper has spent over $60 more in fuel. And I’m being generous, assuming the camper assumes no additional vehicle costs because they own a truck anyway. Many people I know own an older truck just for the purpose of towing their trailer. And RVs get even worse mileage. If you’re really quiet, you’ll be able to actually hear the RV sucking up gas the next time you see one. (note: not really)
So the camper tows their trailer to the
nice nature reserve crowded campground. They pay upwards to $40 a night for access to water and power, so they have creature comforts like hot water and heat if it gets cold. Meanwhile, I can stay at a hotel (albeit, probably a crappy one) for double the price. And they make my bed for me. And maybe hostels aren’t your thing, but I can get a bed, all taxes included, for $40, in the middle of any major city in the world. Why would you camp again?
The last time I went to a campsite, I wanted to strangle a hobo. The site was as crowded as the one in the above picture. Trailers and RVs were everywhere. You had to make small talk to morons you just met. People were loud and annoying, either because they were drunk or because there were kids around. You had to eat at a picnic table, none of which are not made for anyone taller than 5’6 and weighing more than 92 pounds. There’s a campfire going for no conceivable reason since everything is cooked on propane grills. Every effort is put into place to bring the comforts of home out to the wilderness, without anyone actually realizing the whole point of going out into the wilderness is to do WITHOUT the comforts of home.
By the time you factor in depreciation of the unit, the extra fuel required to get to the campground, the cost of hooking up to said campground, you’re just as well off to stay in a hotel and eat out every meal. Plus, there’s additional costs we haven’t even considered, like the interest paid on the purchase of the trailer and the cost of supplies for it. People often cite the cost advantage as a reason for camping, which is complete bunk.
So yeah, if you like camping, I’m probably not going to like you. Man conquered nature, why willingly go back to it?
Special Note: Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post readers, the one where I finally shed my anonymity. It’s gonna be
epic mildly entertaining. There might even be a picture on the about page, since I know how all of you ladies are looking forward to that. That’ll be accompanied with a somewhat major announcement. So, yeah, I think you’re going to want to come here tomorrow.