Evolution tells us that man evolved from apes. For some, the similarities between men and apes can be hard to see, but they are forgetting the great equalizer: camping. In the great outdoors, it’s every man (or ape) for himself. Based on my experiences, I think the apes may have us beat. In the woods, the tables turn; man becomes beast, smart becomes dumb, dumb becomes genius, able becomes weak, and the weak, well”¦ I’ll leave that for you to decide.

One of the first things to consider when hitting the forest is sustenance. A normal person might bring water, lunchmeat, bread, trail mix, fruit, maybe a steak, but what’s the fun in that? One of my friends had two pizzas delivered to his house the night before we left and ate them for the next three days. Another friend took it to the next level and brought a frozen pizza. It was obvious to most that this was not a good idea. Naturally, he left it in the cooler for a couple of days before attempting to eat it. He tried to cook the moist pie over the fire and was nearly successful until he managed spill all of the toppings into the flames. If you decide to go the pizza route, you will undoubtedly need something to wash it down with. A friend of mine determined that six O.E. 40s would last exactly one day, so plan accordingly. If malt liquor isn’t your thing, a box of wine or a keg will also make great additions to any campsite.

After you settle on food and drinks, it’s time to gather your supplies. Everyone knows enough to bring a tent and sleeping bag. For more advanced campers, a battery-powered saw is a must (haven’t you always wanted to play lumberjack?). Others stick with the necessities like an Alf doll named pussy-eater, kid’s sunglasses, a beer bong, an electric bass, green parachute pants, a toy bow and arrow, a gas can (to drink out of) and a gas station sandwich. Tin foil is as good as gold out in the woods as it can be used for cooking, covering and mask making. You’re also going to need a knife to whittle yourself a cookin’ stick and/or fight off animals. Finally, don’t forget to bring a boom box (animals love music). Now that you have your supplies in order, it’s time to hit the site!

It’s best to crack a beer while you are setting up camp; everyone loves a multi-tasker. Once the tents are up, spend time dissuading any potential neighbors from moving too close. Yelling and arm-waving usually do the trick, but if that doesn’t work, try the beer bong. After a few more drinks and a solid hour of eating Doritos, it’s nice to check out some nearby trails. Bring your drunkest friend and set him loose to run ahead of you. Watching him will guarantee that no one trips over the same places he did. As a bonus, he may stumble into the wrong camp on his way home and be fed by a stranger.

It’s getting late and time to eat, so, with the aid of a whole can of lighter fluid, get the fire going. In addition to cooking your food, the fire will give you a place to throw things and also protect you from all shapes and sizes of critters searching the woods for your beef jerky and Ho-Ho’s. Nighttime also means your sister’s friend might roll through the fire pit in a drunken stupor. And, of course, with fire comes s’mores. Unfortunately, this also signals the first of many times that you will get marshmallow all over yourself.

At the end of the trip, you are tired, dirty, sticky, itchy, hung-over and constipated; but somehow it was still worth it. The call of the wild remains loud and clear, beckoning us to the great outdoors; asking us to de-evolve”¦ to get back to our roots. If nothing else, it’s telling us to get wasted while sitting around a fire, stuffing our faces with hot dogs and candy and laughing hysterically with the people we care about most.