The Brunching Shuttlecocks Ratings

Aspects of Camping

Aside from coming away from them smelling like the smoking section of a barbecue joint, there's very little to complain about concerning campfires. They're warm, they've got that whole hypnoticy swirly thing going, and they provide the appropriate level of lighting for looking at people who have been in the woods all weekend. And they enable roast marshmallows, which are essential to robust living. A

It's not that I'm against scenic vistas. It's just that if I have to hike for a half-hour to get to them I'd just as soon look at them through a Viewmaster. Walking is fine, I like walking, but hiking is walking in areas with insects and steep inclines while carrying dried fruit, and I'm not down with that. D+

I'm conflicted here. I have to admit that, in action, it's pretty cool that you can turn a few ounces of aluminum and vinyl into a happy little suspension domicile. The Boy-Scout style pup tent has all but disappeared, to be replaced by curvy art projects in jaunty colors. On the other hand, having put up a tent you're sort of obliged to sleep in it, and I'm a big fan of the "biggest, hugest, most comfy bed you can possibly afford" school of slumber. C-

Camp Stoves
One thing that I do like about camping is that it's rapidly turning into a display of miniaturized Jetsons-esque technology designed to help you forget that you are, for some ungodly reason, spending an entire weekend outdoors. Case in point; at a recent camping event I sort of semi-accidentally attended, the selection of gas-powered cooking equipment in evidence put my own actual indoor kitchen to shame. There was even a gas-powered mini-oven out of which came hot cinnamon rolls. If someone has brought a gas-powered blender they would have had all my appliances covered and more. B

Power Bars
I knew that granola bars were the start of something insidious. When they first came out it wasn't a problem, because they were basically candy bars with texture. Many of them even had chocolate chips. A granola bar with chocolate chips is, in essence, a Mr. Goodbar with the ingedient ratio inverted. But it was only a matter of time before some misbegotten soul decided to pervert the noble hand-held snack food bar into something actually healthy, with all the grittiness and density that implies. So sad. D

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