The experienced camping fridge is a bit rough and rumbling.
Matt Rilkoff is Taranaki’s Regional Editor for Stuff and a regular opinion writer.
OPINION: If I pack the car and trailer in a few days to go camping for a week, a refrigerator will be a top priority.
This is not without controversy. Camping with a refrigerator is comparable to cycling with an electric bike. You do it, but you don’t really do it. You are participating in a replacement version of the real thing. You cheat.
Fortunately, there is a lot to be said about the benefits of cheating.
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Playing three or four strokes of the mini-putt is the easiest way to beat your kids, and when you walk through an orange light you are affirming that you are a light-hearted spirit who cannot be tamed, even though you up for that Home and school board.
Putting a tent up in a field with a thousand other people and sharing inadequate toilets is the quintessential kiwi camping experience.
There is no debate, camping a refrigerator is absolutely a scam.
You are scamming yourself of warm beer, likely food poisoning, curdled milk, and need to clean a highly viscous mass from the bottom of your cooling container that may be considered a biological weapon.
They also deceive themselves about the unholy crap shoot using a communal refrigerator. I know from experience that the definition of community is ridiculously flexible.
That’s why Hans – the stereotypical European backpacker – can react with real astonishment if you shy away from drinking his milk straight from the bottle.
And that’s also why Colin – the stereotypical kiwi camper – leaves fear for your life when you deposit your named butter on “his” shelf.
A refrigerator ensures a completely safe camping experience.
However, the thing about a refrigerator is that you need a powered website. If you follow the laws of escalation, as soon as you have power, it goes to your head immediately.
A refrigerator is just the beginning. This is followed by mood lighting, an electric jug, a toaster, the portable air conditioner, your turntable, your TV, a panini press and that weird toaster you never thought you would use.
Once you’ve unpacked and enjoyed your surroundings, you’ll quickly find that the only difference between your camping setup and your home is the tent walls.
Having a refrigerator means that camping is not so much an escape from everyday life as you take everything with you.
I feel comfortable with that. Although I’ve built a reputation for being a laid-back character, as I got older I lost a lot of the physical and mental flexibility to deal with things differently than I wanted to.
This is an inevitable physiological effect that was previously believed to be the avoidable state of grumpiness.
It is not, and actually is, much more closely related to really knowing who you really are inside yourself. Some people call this enlightenment. I may be one of those people.
Brya Ingram / stuff
Camping with everything but the kitchen sink is a sure sign that you are reaching enlightenment.
Enlightenment is an unexpected state that can be achieved through a refrigerator, but it is a welcome one nonetheless.
This is probably the reason for the large number of people who experience camping as a long lounge session on a cheap folding seat in front of their tent or caravan.
The smug look on their face and the obvious joy they get from doing nothing is because they have arrived at the one place where all their physical and mental needs have been met.
And the cold beer is only a few meters away.
– Matt Rilkoff is Taranaki’s regional editor for Stuff.