From what I hear, you can go as rough and wild as you want. I know a few people who like to camp in the middle of the wilderness and hunt or fish or forage for their meals. I think they pee in the flora, and I doubt they take showers. These are serious campers.
Then there are the other kind of campers. The ones who buy the huge diesel trucks to pull their huge campers, complete with extra rooms that slide out and awnings that roll out to protect them from rain.
Then there's me: here are the things I don't like about camping: my feet are more dirty than I'd like, my clothes soak up the smell of wood smoke, my air mattress always deflates, and the bathroom is too far away.
But my kids love to camp, and my brother-in-law is very persuasive. So when he proposed a Father's Day weekend camp-out in his back yard, I shrugged and agreed to try it again. But when Friday rolled around, I realized I really hadn't given the weekend much thought: that is, I hadn't considered AT ALL what we were going to eat, nor that I had made other commitments such as open houses and meetings. Therefore, we decided to do a quick jaunt Friday night, leaving early on Saturday. After scrounging up enough food for dinner and breakfast (but forgetting things like drinks, paper products, a cooler, lawn chairs...) we set out under very ominous skies.
It rained on and off all night. As I stood under the tarp, feeling the damp seep into my pants and my curls, listening to Jared fuss about how he was afraid of the rain, I wondered (as I do each time at about this wet stage in my camping experience) why I was doing this. When Jared snuck into the house (the rule was: kids--and adults--could only enter the house for bathroom usage), I followed him. We hid out in the basement, he busy with toys and me with my book.
The night got darker and the rain fell harder and Clint and I decided to leave with Jared for the safety, warmth, comfort of my parents' house (less than a mile away). Were we jeered at? A little bit. Did I mind? Hell no. I was going back to civilization. Did I feel a twinge of guilt for leaving Lauren and Jonah to tough out the storm? Maybe a little--for Lauren at least. I knew Jonah was in his snake- and frog-catching element.
It was a stormy night and with each clap of thunder, I sighed in bliss, knowing that I was comfortable and dry on a mattress that was impervious to deflation, the only possibility of dampness from the window we'd left open for the breeze.
I woke up, took a shower, drank two leisurely cups of coffee, and went to pick up my kids and their damp sleeping bags and tents. Will I test my resolve again and try camping one more time? Maybe. Will I ever like it? I doubt it. I am just too fond of clean feet and a dry bed.