Camping can get expensive if you let it

I’ve talked before about my thoughts of breaking down and buying a new camper. But even without an RV, camping can get pretty expensive.

If you’re at all serious about camping, you can spend a small fortune – or even a large one, for that matter – on camping gear. Every time you head for the hills, you evaluate all your equipment, and even some of the newest goodies can come up lacking.

There’s always something lighter, stronger or easier to use on the market. There are tents that set themselves up. All you have to do is take them out of the bag and throw them into the air. When they land, they’re ready to be lived in. There are backpacks that weigh whole ounces less than the one you’re currently lugging up and down hills. Cook kits that weigh less than a postage stamp but could be used as heat shields on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. There’s always something in the catalogs and on the store shelves that’s better than what you have, but it all comes with a price tag.

A while back, a salesman showed me the latest, greatest thing to happen to camping. It was a stainless steel camp stove and oven. This thing looked like a miniature kitchen range with two burners on the top, and underneath the burners, it had an honest-to-goodness oven. All this for the low, low price of one hundred ninety-nine dollars.

It might be a great thing to have for those all-day grouse hunts or overnight excursions when you want to just pitch a tent next to the truck. It’d be awful nice to come back from a day tramping through the sage and sit down to a nice cherry cobbler. Or prepare for a long hike with a breakfast of omelets cooked on the stovetop. I have to admit he almost had me convinced. Then I realized I can’t cook that stuff at home on my full-size range, so what makes me think I could do it in the wild? Sorry, I’ll pass. I’ll take the two hundred-odd dollars and spend it on a lighter backpack.