Once you had to be a hardy outdoorsman to enjoy camping. But today the whole family can answer the call of the wild in solid comfort and find new enjoyment and peace of mind.
Camping is the family vacationer's dream. It's fun, it's different, it's healthyand it's inexpensive. Comfort is the new call of the wild. Outdoor equipment manufacturers are making their wares sturdier, more versatile and less expensive; Federal and state agencies are spending millions to develop tent platforms, public toilets, showers, commissaries, fishing, boating and swimming facilities. For the most part, camp grounds have been selected not only for their beauty but also for their accessibility to highways.
Once you had to be a hardy outdoor hermit or a Boy Scout to enjoy camping, but no longer. Now entire families are bedding down on air-filled mattresses or pitching lightweight tents. Ornery cooking fires have been supplanted by the three-burner gasoline stove, making the frustration of wet firewood a thing of the past. Beans, bacon and bannock have given way to dehydrated and packaged foods. Portable refrigerators and-in many cases-camp-ground deliveries of milk, eggs, butter and juices help you round out a varied and interesting diet that would satisfy a gourmet. Lightweight clothes made of miracle fibers are easy to wash and quick to dry, a factor that cuts down the size of the wardrobe you need to take along. When night comes you don't need to huddle around the campfire; you simply buy a modern lantern.
In addition to comfort, camping provides peace of mind and, most of all, an understanding of the wonders of nature. Birds, flowers, trees, animals, quiet nights and peaceful rivers and lakes provide an escape from the humdrum, the sometimes neurotic, the speed and the tension of modern living. The change is good for each member of the family. Dad isn't rushing to make a commuters' train or to punch a factory time clock. On a camping trip he can show his mettle. He can be something for two weeks or a month that he can't be for the other 50 weeks or 11 months of the year. He can route a camping itinerary with map and compass. He can show the kids, how to construct a pit fire or dig a drainage ditch around the tent. He can even be a provider by catching fish or shooting a cottontail rabbit, provided it's in season.
Mother is not overworked: on a camping trip it is a well-kept tradition that everyone pitches in. Besides, few men would reject an opportunity to cook in the outdoors on a portable stove. Automatic washing machines near many camp sites keep washing chores to a minimum. Mother can have the kind of change that is really refreshing. She can hike, watch birds, pick flowers, go swimming, catch fish or join Dad on trips of exploration. And camping is safe. Of course she should take along Band-Aids and iodine for the children's cuts and bruises, but she need have no other anxiety-wild animals run away from humans, and walking in the woods is safer than crossing a city street or a town square.
For the children, camping is all joy. After all, living and playing in the outdoors is man's most natural way of life.