Camping Out

by Scott Sadil

Like many anglers of my generation, if not also my temperament and background, I’ve always associated fishing trips with camping out.  Whether the deep dive into Baja, a backpack adventure into the Sierra Nevada, the long journeys north to Oregon or Yellowstone or even a remote corner of Nevada, camping was the rule if not also part of the appeal.  You fished places you couldn’t fish unless you knew how to fashion a self-sufficient camp, shit in a hole and, above all else, sleep on the ground with a smile.

A lifetime of this and the only downside, from the view through my narrow window, is the flagrant evidence of mass consumption that some of us, otherwise such sensible folk, readily engage in when it comes to our so-called outdoor equipment.  Preparing for an upcoming jaunt across the divide, I took inventory and counted, among other things, five sleeping bags, six tents, five campstoves, nine camp chairs, innumerable sleepings pads – and enough miscellaneous galley gear to stock a small restaurant. 

My defense for the pads is that before finally breaking down and splurging for a modern, self-inflating model, I needed three—especially under hips and shoulders—to keep that smile on my nighttime face.

Of course, were I to count the rods and reels that now crowd my life, not to mention fly lines and fly boxes and fly tying paraphernalia, I might not feel so bad about my store of camping gear.

But that’s not going to happen.

Let me repeat:  I’m not about to start counting essentials.