Try camping – Rob’s response

Anyone who read the post “Try camping – it’s much cheaper” and thought that it was about camping and buying stuff for camping missed the point. It’s really about the differences in the way men and women see the world. Observe a couple in a TV store  – the male will immediately see the importance of owning a 42 inch plasma TV; the  female will roll her eyes and tap her foot. A foot encased in a shoe that cost half as much as the TV, but which she considered a bargain.

Let me explain a few things that were omitted from the post in question. There are a few snide comments on buying a 4X4, but this was a no-brainer and really not worthy of further discussion. I proved that by taking the Opel Monza up the first stretch of Sani Pass. Point made.

You'd take a sedan up here?

You'd take a sedan up here?

So let’s consider the other items.

A man says “I’m going to buy a rooftop tent” and his wife thinks he is going to buy a rooftop tent. Only a rooftop tent. But the man knows that you need load bars to fit the rooftop tent to the bakkie – how else are you going to put it on the roof? Nail it on? The load bars are so obvious, it isn’t really worth mentioning them. If you are going to buy shoes, you don’t really have to mention that you need shoe-laces as well, do you? And if you buy a rooftop tent, then clearly you plan to go camping, right? In remote places (in Namibia anywhere outside of Windhoek is remote). So it is a given that you will need some recovery equipment – high-lift jack, tow strap, sand tracks, compressor, spade. No point in taking a chance on getting stuck out there in remote Namibia. And of course you will need camping stuff like sleeping bags, gas bottles, lights, chairs. So if a man says “I’m going to buy a rooftop tent”, he doesn’t mean only a rooftop tent, he means that he wants to go camping. I would have thought that much was obvious. Anyway, it was Jane who wanted the chairs.

And, to set the record straight, the drawer system so derisively referred to in the post below was made absolutely essential because of the amount of unnecessary “stuff” that Jane has to cart around with her. Take toiletries. I take nothing from the bathroom on a camping trip beyond a toothbrush and toothpaste. After all, you don’t need a comb if you wear a hat; you don’t need to shave if you don’t take a mirror. Jane? 321 separate items in a toiletries bag the size of a respectable Nike tog bag, most of which are unidentifiable and some of which look positively lethal. So the drawer system was actually bought in self-defense to contain these weapons of mass reconstruction.

One of the black bags is Jane's toiletries bag

The black bags on the left are Jane's toiletries bags

Now I concede that a man may be vain enough to sneak a peek at himself in the rear view mirror once or twice during a camping trip to see how his beard is progressing, or how his hat fits. Bad mistake. Beards always feel better than they look, and although women look great in hats, men just look like dicks. But we might sneak a peak now and again. Women, on the other hand, look at their reflection in any shiny surface that they can find; a silver tea-spoon, a pot lid, a darkened car window, the neighbour’s bald head. Even a mirror. A big mirror, which they will take with them expressly for this purpose. Into the drawer with it.

Camping vs hotels - would you really trade this for the bathroom at a Holiday Inn?

Camping vs hotels - would you really trade this for the bathroom at a Holiday Inn?

Campring vs hotels - Or this shower for the shower at the London Hilton?

Camping vs hotels - Or this shower for the shower at the London Hilton?

Of course, women do have more reason to look into a mirror than men; most men have bodies that shouldn’t be seen unclothed in daylight; women are works of art. Have you noticed that just about all men’s magazines have pictures of near-naked women in them? And most women’s magazines also have pictures of near-naked women in them? I’m not sure what that proves – just thought I would mention it. I read somewhere that most women would rather get undressed in front of a man than in front of another woman. This is because women are critical; men are just grateful.

Back to the drawer system. Another reason that it proved essential was to accommodate the clothes that Jane takes camping. A separate outfit for every day and every weather condition, plus a few spares. When all you really need is a change every couple of days. (Clean underwear becomes quite a treat after a few days!) We take off for a weekend in the Namib Desert; she packs a raincoat. But, with all those outfits, she will still find it necessary to launder something sometime during the trip. Amazing. Why can’t she just turn the stuff inside out and carry on wearing it?

So was all this camping stuff expensive? Depends on your frame of reference, really. A man will happily pay $500 for something that is only worth $250 if he really wants it. A woman will pay $250 for something worth $500 that she has no use for whatsoever, and think she got a bargain. I wanted the camping stuff, therefore it was cheap at the price.

In conclusion, to compare the cost of camping to overseas holidays doesn’t make any sense at all! Only a woman could possibly think that a romantic evening wining and dining on the Champs-Élysées in Paris is more fun than digging your 4X4 out of a river bed under the blazing sun in the Khowarib Schlucht in Namibia.

Far more interesting plants here than at Kew Gardens.

Far more interesting plants here than at Kew Gardens.

Now, if we pass up the trip to the Greek Isles next year, I can get a set of Old Man Emu shocks and maybe a snorkel ….

3 thoughts on “Try camping – Rob’s response

  1. Judes

    Touche’ Rob! I’m with you Jane. Tim has this ‘wonderful’ idea that living life on a boat – yes, a boat on the water in the Highlands … permanently …. through all four seasons – will be terribly adventurous. He kind of looks puzzled when I say I NEED, electricity (for my hairdryer), central heating, hot running water and a bed that stays still – and that’s the minimum.

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  2. Jane

    Thanks to all those folks who sent emails of commiseration to me. Rob is doing well and should make a full recovery. The Police assured me, after reading his blog, that I had every right to assault him like I did and no criminal charges will be pressed against me. They were also full of sympathy for me for having a son who is also a male chauvenist. Husband and son – a double whammy!

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