Test your love – go camping | AspenTimes.com

Test your love – go camping

Janet Urquhart

The true test of a relationship is not living together, but living in a tent together.Are you still cuddling after four days without a shower? Does true love mean never having to bathe?After six hours huddled in the cramped confines of a tent in the pouring rain, do you run out of things to talk about? It’s something to consider before you spend the rest of the hours in your life together.Then there’s the snoring.Camping is a pass/fail test for a relationship. There’s really no in-between.Ten miles into a backpack trip is no time to remember that you forgot the toilet paper, but if you have, and you’re forgiven, then count your blessings while you examine the shrubbery for a suitable substitute. If it’s a first date/backpacking trip, though, you may not have to worry about blowing the second date. Chances are, you’ve wiped away any chance of having one, if you wipe nothing else.In fact, planning that first critical camping trip with a significant other is a little bit like planning a wedding. Certainly, the niggling details that must be addressed in advance of the big day are nearly as overwhelming. There are lists, assignments and a co-mingling of gear akin to combining two households. If two people can’t agree on who owns the better backpacking stove, they’ll never be able to pare down their possessions to one set of everything in the event of co-habitation, let alone a few nights in the woods.Your tent or mine? Who owns better cookware? Who can actually cook?A wilderness trek is a test in trust. Will he really remember the trowel? Do you bring your own as a backup, just in case? Has she packed the promised matches? You keep your own handy, not that you can’t count on her or anything.In theory, a couple needs two forks, two plates, two cups, two sleeping bags. In reality, they will bring two rolls of toilet paper (a vast improvement over no toilet paper), two stoves, two pots, two first-aid kits, two water filters, two identical maps and enough food for four. Enough wine for four, on the other hand, can help you forget all about whatever you both managed to forget in terms of essential gear, unless it’s a corkscrew.Crawling out of the tent multiple times during the night because you drank a bottle of wine is also a great way to try a companion’s patience, especially if you have to crawl over him or her to answer nature’s call. Meeting for a car-camping excursion is a slightly more forgiving arrangement. No one gets indignant about an abundance of paper towels or beer, and if no one remembered the goods, someone can go get it, assuming you haven’t driven out into the middle of nowhere.Nowhere is not a good place to have a fight with the only other human being around for miles. They might refuse to share whatever it is they’ve brought for the occasion, like the food and water.On the other hand, nowhere is a great place to get along fabulously, with or without bathing (or beer).Janet Urquhart has never forgotten the toilet paper. Her e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com