VIDEO: The Simple Life?

Posted In: National Parks, Video, Yellowstone

When in college, I worked a couple of summers in Yellowstone National Park. My job was usually in the kitchen, where my friends and I could be found chopping vegetables, flipping burgers, or (if we were lucky) scooping ice cream for tourists. As you might imagine, the work paid peanuts. We invested many long, hot, thankless hours in the belly of the Park’s food service beast. We did so for the promise of living in one of the world’s most beautiful places. Off days were cherished. Whenever possible, we maximized our free time by going camping.

In those days, primarily because we were financially strapped students, camping was a simple proposition. Someone would have a tent, usually a modest 2-4 person affair. We’d bring along our sleeping bags, a couple of canteens, some snacks – and that was pretty much it. “Camping” really just meant a few good friends sharing basic shelter under the stars. And yet, the experiences were spectacular.

It’s tempting to position RV ownership as a simple, elemental lifestyle. After all, camping is camping, right? But is it really so simple?

Sure, life is simple enough — once you have your propane tanks filled, your tire pressures checked, your assorted water tanks emptied and/or filled, an inverter generator, properly sorted weight-distributing hitch, your storage compartments locked, the stabilizer jacks set in place, and a plethora of camping equipment.

Alas, our tastes have grown more sophisticated. In the old days, a moldy sleeping bag was enough; now we sleep on 600-thread-count sheets. Once we were satisfied with a sack of snacks; now we tote around a refrigerator.

Then there’s the electronics. In our case, we can’t leave home without our smart phones, laptops, DVD players, HDTV, gaming console, digital cameras, HD video cameras, audio equipment, MP3 players, noise-canceling headphones, and enough assorted paraphernalia to open a branch outlet of Best Buy. The wires and cables alone would stretch from Earth to the Moon, three times.

So, the RV lifestyle may not be simple per se. It’s far too complex to be labeled simple. But it does strip away a host of mental and physical clutter. Although we haul along a plethora of creature comforts, when camping we still shed much of our suburban largess.

RV camping facilitates simple pleasures. This is an active lifestyle. One not only spends more time outdoors, but also with family. RV ownership brings people closer together – literally and figuratively.

Even when camping in our fancy travel trailer, I’m certain that we use much less electricity and water then at home. As Kristy blithely remarked, “You get used to being a little dirty.”

We acquire fewer material possessions because there’s no place to store them. When shopping, the first question that comes to mind is, “Where are we going to put it?”

In the end, I suppose we haven’t traveled so far from my college days. We go through it ALL just so we can enjoy certain basic, simple fundamentals. Whether you’re camping in a $40 tent or a $400,000 motor home, there’s still no substitute for the companionship of good friends and family, enjoyed alongside a campfire.


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Essential RV Camping Gear

Scout365 – Our Inflatable Boat!
Counter Assault Bear Spray
Oxygenics shower head
Antisway bar

Inverter generator
LED spotlight
Sean’s Tilley hat
Merrell Jungle Moc shoes
Walkie talkies
Boeshield T-9 lubricant
Weber portable grill
Air-Dryr
OBDII code reader
Water “jerry can”
Eye masks for sleep
Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries
RV water filter
Dry shampoo
The Next Exit book

Airstream Essentials
Trailer Aid tire changing ramp
Britta Bella water pitcher
Pink flamingos

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