To be honest, Ive never really understood camping. Lets spend money on all sorts of gadgets and state of the art thermal technology and live outside for a few days even though all those same gadgets and comforts already exist in our own home.

I know I sound like a grump, but what it comes down to is this: that sleeping bag promised me warmth down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. It lied.

Everything else about camping is actually adventuresome. Foil dinners, fishing in the lake, finding frogs, all fun. Illustrating bedtime stories with shadow puppets on the tent ceiling, canoes, hikes, its all part of getting back to nature. Oh, and allowing a single baseball cap to replace all hair and makeup routines? Liberating.

Its the nights sleep I dread.

Believe it or not, everyone else snoozed away warm and cozy, even the baby. I, on the other hand, shivered and chattered, tossed and turned and doubted the sun would ever rise again each and every night. The rain didnt help either. Neither did the fact that my zipper broke and refused to zip all the way up. I must just run cold. Its my curse.

But thanks to all my newborns, I can go quite a few nights in a row with zero sleep before it starts to show. What a blessing, otherwise I wouldve missed out on all our family bonding time.

There is something to be said for having everyone put real effort into dinner, not to mention the clean up. When was the last time we spent that much time chatting around a fire without an electronic device in sight? (It pays to go somewhere with no cell coverage.)

A few mosquito bites really are worth the joys of climbing boulders, finding pollywogs and finally roasting that marshmallow to a golden, gooey perfection. Its very satisfying.

So on the long drive home I told my husband, who could see the bags taking shape under my eyes, what sort of equipment I would need for next time. Number one, a new sleeping bag. None of this “sale item” garbage. Whatever the experts use on Everest will be fine. Number two, one battery operated electric blanket to go inside said sleeping bag. Also, extra batteries. It will be the one electronic device I will allow on the trip. Three, we really must be sure to pack a clothesline and clothespins to dry out everything that gets wet in the rain. Number four…

“Honey, are you getting misty? Whats wrong?” I asked.

“Absolutely nothings wrong. Im just so happy you said therell be a next time.”

It may take a years worth of hot showers and warm beds to gear up, but yes, there will be a next time. That smore was worth every bite.

Read more by Margaret Anderson at www.jamsandpickleswordpress.com