One man's struggle to make sense of it all

Camping After 50

Camping After 50

Some of you may ask: “Mark, is there camping after 50?”

Believe me, I want to give a resounding YES, flex my man muscles and scratch my whiskers, however…

Everything—the ENTIRE camping experience—now hinges on the quality of sleep you will get. Speaking of which, is there any air mattress known to man that is constructed to last more than one night in a tent??

Our air mattress cycle goes like this:

-Go to the camping store and look at their selection of air mattresses.

-Decide to pay an extra $20 for the deluxe queen because you’re pretty sure ‘deluxe’ means ‘indestructible’.

-Pack it immediately with all of the camping gear that is already in the van.

-Inflate it at the campsite.

-Crawl onto it at bedtime, proud of your purchase (“Honey I FINALLY got a good one. I’m glad we spent the extra money.”)

-Midnight- wake up and roll over. The mattress seems to have a bit of ‘give’ to it but you’re tired and also had six-too-many s’mores that night. It’s no wonder your mattress is protesting.

-2 am- wake up again. You are not sleeping well. You can’t get comfy and the sleeping bag seems to be wrapped around your legs.

-4 am- You are definitely lower on the mattress than your wife (who, by the way, is sleeping so well she is snoring). You have at least 75 pounds on her and you try to remember grade 12 Physics to see if there is any way the new mattress can be uneven but still not deflating.

-5 am- you have been dreaming about laying on a highway as a steamroller approaches. You wake up to find yourself flat on the ground with your wife happily sawing logs beside you. You weep silently, knowing that you have six more nights of camping and you have, once again, been ripped off.

Is there a solution out there? Is there a kickstarter campaign for “The World’s Best Camping Mattress”? What would they use to make it? Recycled tires? Hot air balloons? Oompa Loompas?

My son won’t stop yapping about his camping hammock. “Best sleep I’ve ever had,” he crows while I crawl around on all fours, stretching out my back. I imagine building a small fire under that hammock and slow-roasting the inhabitant all night long. I’m sure hammocks are okay for the young (and the crew of Gilligan’s Island) but I don’t want to some bear to confuse me for a burrito while I’m in a deep sleep.

Although being over fifty offers the distinct advantage that I won’t be as tasty as my pre-wrapped son, I’m not willing to take a chance on it. I have heard, however, that there is a deluxe new air mattress available at the hardware store. I might give it a try.


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