Camping has so many benefits – a change of routine, the wonder of new locations, and the peace of unspoiled nature. Plus a whole bunch of cool equipment that you absolutely MUST have, to do it in style and comfort.
Last week I was happy to be a prepared camper. Spring break came at a time when we couldn’t get away and all the gear stood unused in storage – that is until a sudden and violent storm swept through Georgia. A few trees were knocked out of the usual vertical plane, taking power lines with them and leaving us without electricity from 1am on Monday morning. With schools being out, we didn’t have our household’s daily whirlwind of the school morning rush routine, so no harm was done to the plans of the day. On the road, a smaller stream of traffic moved slowly due to the traffic lights being out and people stood around the doors to stores without lights. We knew power would be back up soon. It always is. After all, this is America.
By late afternoon and plenty of calls to the power company we were all getting grumpy, but reminded ourselves not to sweat the petty stuff. Don’t worry about the things you can't change – this was not going to be fixed quickly, so we adapted. No power was a perfect reason for a midweek barbeque to use some of the rapidly defrosting meat in the freezer and candles lit the dim interior of the house. An early night was clearly on the cards with no TV and increasing yawns around our urban camp fire in the back yard. The problem lay in our lack of hot water. My girls had missed a shower the previous night as their return from a weekend with grandma had been late and, surprising as it is for 6 and 10-year old girls, they were ready and willing for one. Plus, after a long day and the smoke from the grill, I was definitely in line for one too.
During my military career, I had more than my fair share of situations where basic washing was out of the question, so I’ve become a bit obsessive about getting a shower before bed. The electric water heater had maintained a little warm water, but had been depleted by lunchtime dishwashing, so that was out of the question. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that it took me a while to remember the Zodi Extreme SC Hot Shower packed amongst the camping gear. I was also quickly reminded that its integrated stove would have made coffee an option at the camp fire, after I had pulled it out of storage and set it up. Urban Georgia has a distinct lack of privacy with our lack of walls and hedges, so I set up two sides of a screen against garage wall, fired up the burner and herded two bikini-clad, giggling little girls in the direction of the shower. I stood guard a discreet distance away, expecting that their noisiness would attract nosy neighbors. Thrilled at the uniqueness of showering outdoors at home, the girls laughed and played until the tank was depleted, reminding me of those hot summer days when the kids can't help playing in the sprinklers. They retreated indoors with warm bodies wrapped in towels and Honey and I had our turn – quieter than the little ‘uns, but fun indeed. Afterwards, I detached the butane stove from the water tank and boiled a kettle for coffee for the evening.
Balance sheet – everybody clean and warm, I’m a hero for getting the showers and coffee done, and we had one of those little family adventures that goes into the story bank. Guess whether I took the opportunity to remind everyone how important it is to get those indispensable comforts for camping? If you have had a novel use for your portable camping shower, we would really like to hear about it. We welcome any comments, tips or questions on any related subjects. The best contributor may be in line for a prize during the following quarter.