Avoiding Clark Griswold Syndrome: 5 Camping Tips to Make Your Next Trip "Reeeal" Nice

Posted by Jason Shackelford on


My wife has diagnosed me with a new condition, one I had never heard of before... Clark Griswold Syndrome. Not having a clue what she was talking about, I did my research and have concluded that I've been plagued by this illness for decades and my biggest fear is that men around the globe, just like me, suffer from the same disorder.

Clark Griswold is the backbone behind the “National Lampoons Vacation” movies. Griswold's character, a father and husband, is in search of the ultimate family experience. Yes, I walk in the same foot print as Clark. However, I feel like I often forge further into the realm of ridiculousness, especially when I put on my Wally World hat and venture out for a camping trip. But with experience comes wisdom. Okay.. wisdom might be a stretch, but stay with me on this. I have come up with 5 great camping tips as a surefire way to avoid this "Clark Griswold Syndrome", and make your next trip worthy of a visit from Cousin Eddie.

#5 Prepare For The Worst, Hope For The Best  

Camping is all about the adventure. Rare is the camping trip that goes perfectly as planned, so start out knowing that Mother Nature loves to laugh in the face of the outdoorsman. Expect rain, the kind of rain and wind that will collapse a tent that is not well anchored to the ground. With rain typically comes strong wind. Make sure your tents rain fly is securely attached. Often times, going the extra mile when setting up camp pays off when the weather goes south.

blog-campfire.jpg#4 Assign Responsibilities

A great part of family camping is that there's a job for everyone. For some reason, kids find great pleasure and excitement in something as simple as gathering wood, sticks and rocks for a camp fire. Involve the campers in all aspects: set up, cooking, clean up and packing up. This not only makes the camp directors job easier but gives the other campers a sense of accomplishment and importance. 

#3 Plan For Comfort

Don’t expect the Ritz Carlton when camping, but you can search out and find some amazing camping gear that is sure to make your experience better. Every camp needs to have some sort of cooler or ice chest to keep food and drinks cool. But add in an IcyBreeze, and you've got a cooler that not only keeps your perishables cold, it keeps you cool too. The IcyBreeze is a battery-powered portable air conditioner cooler combo unit for your tent that doesn't need to be vented, so you can sleep with cool, dry air blowing on you all night long and in the morning, grab your OJ out of the same cooler. Do your research and spend some time shopping around to see the latest in camping gear technology.

#2 Roll With The Punches

The best campers are those that can change and adapt to the conditions. Zippers break, matches get wet and critters get in food. A good camper rolls with punches. When adversity strikes, it's not the end of the world, just get creative and find a way to work around the problem. Overcoming the challenges together make for great memories.  

#1 Take Pictures

Capture the moments, all of the moments. Take plenty of pictures so you can show friends and relatives how much fun and misery you experienced. Most of the time, pictures are also a reminder, years later, that your camping experience wasn't nearly as bad as you remembered it to be. It might even spark an interest to load back up and have another amazing campaign adventure.

Finally, take another lesson from Cousin Eddie, and make a list... Of everything you want to take on your camping trip. Here's a handy camping checklist to get you started.

Some may see Clark Griswold Syndrome as an illness, but when it comes down to it, all Clark wanted to do was create the best memories he could with his family. No matter what gets thrown at you, go with the flow, enjoy yourself, be crazy, and go make some memories.

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