My First Solo Camping Trip

Devin Gill
3 min readDec 31, 2021

Hey friends,

Devin again.

If you read my last post, DMG 101: Intro to Devin, you’ll know that I’m another white guy writing about his outdoors adventures. This is about as standard and basic as you can get, so buckle up for a vanilla and gentle ride.

As the title so plainly explains, this story is about my very first solo camping trip. I had been camping before. First, it was in the wilds of my backyard in northern Illinois where I grew up. And another time for a class field trip at Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin. But this time, it was the big show.

Utah. The West. Yee-haa (ignore me)!

Simpson Springs Campground. Out in the middle of nowhere. An original post of the Pony Express.

This is what Kevin Costner must have felt like in the 1997 The Postman.

As you can see from the picture, there was not much else around except for my shadow and my dog, Bing (pictured below), who could also be considered my shadow.

There was a lot of nothingness, surrounded by some foothills, scrubby trees, and bushes.

I packed some firewood, a flask of whiskey, a ukulele, and all my camping gear.

When I arrived, it was dark. I got the fire going, set up my tent, relaxed, and put my mediocre ukulele skills to the test.

After dinner, Bing and I climbed in the tent. For my first solo camping trip, this wasn’t too bad. Somewhat uneventful.

Not long after I zipped myself into my sleeping bag, I heard a faint howl. Just one.

And then the yips, sounding almost like laughter, grew louder and louder. It felt like they were surrounding my tent. Bing and I were freaking out.

Now, a more experienced camper might tell you, “It’s fine. They won’t do anything. They aren’t as close as you think.”

My brain told me to seek cover.

I grabbed my keys, unlocked my car from inside my tent, and Bing and I dashed in side.

The laughter died down not long after, and Bing and I got a minimal amount of sleep.

Bing and I survived. And the next morning was beautiful.

Meet Bing.

I walked around the foothills for a while. And spotted a lone sheep. I suspect that is what the coyotes were interested in the previous night.

Ok, so does sleeping in one’s car even though one began the evening in a tent and fully intended to sleep in said tent still constitute camping, and thus my first solo camping trip?

Sure, why not. It was an adventure. I had fun. And I had the added bonus of seeming like a badass because I got back from this trip just in time for class. I smelled like campfire and was still wearing my camping clothes. It was great.

So, why is this story of any importance?

Well, if camping, hiking, and backpacking have taught me anything, it’s that we are capable of a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. Sometimes you need to challenge what is regular and comfortable in order to find something incredible. Most of the times, it’s just a fear of the unknown. Just go for it.

Even though I was in no real danger, this trip pushed the boundaries of what I was comfortable with. And the feeling I got from it made me want more.

Alright, so if you are still reading, it either means you are my mom (Hey Ma!) or you might find some value in what I wrote. If that is the case, let me know. I’d love some feedback or you can just say hello.

Clap if I meet every stereotype you imagined!