Friend and filmmaker Brady Hall posted a link on Facebook today to an oh-so-precious little trailer for a slick Manly Man Camping Getaway dude experience. After an initial few seconds of "this looks kind of cool..." it abruptly degrades into a bad episode of "High Five'n White Guys go camping!" (For those of you who didn't live in Seattle in the 80s and 90s, here's a clip of said High-Five'n White Guys from an episode of "Almost Live") Were it not for the fact that this is a real "dude ranch" type adventure company, the casual viewer could easily take this for a spoof. Even knowing that this was a real thing, I laughed all the way through after the first few seconds.
"Artisinal food"?! Cocktails, propane grills, and a baggage truck...seriously. It's the Dood Ranch! No, it's Bro Camp! Please, I went on Sea Scout adventures in high school where we did more manly things, and I'm a girl. I'd forward this to some rancher friends in Texas and Colorado for the humor value, but they'd have to be hospitalized afterward from either laughing or barfing. The hipster "guy-next-door" voice over extolling the virtues of finding oneself in rugged outdoor male-bonding combined with images of guys unloading gear from a chase truck, eating catered food served by a chef, chugging bottled brewskis, and throwing hatchets at a log make for a jaw-droppingly awesome experience, but probably not in the way intended. I do not exaggerate, my husband's mouth was actually agape whilst watching this for the first time.
The makers of this video seem woefully removed from any kind of reality to which I can relate. I host events at my house that are more rustic than Dude Bro Camp, or whatever Wilderness Collective, the company that puts on these outings, is called. As mentioned above, when I showed this to my spouse he was utterly gobsmacked. He was particularly in awe of the French press coffee, commenting "I took my girls on camping trips when they were babies that were more arduous than that." It's true. In fact, he and I have been on "romantic getaway" type camping trips that were more rugged than this, including one where we snowshoed several miles in, hauling our gear on a sled and pitching a lean-to under a pine tree, cooking our food over a fire with iron and tinware. Oh, and we set up a rustic shooting range and plinked at some rocks and pinecones with our rifles. The rules for that trip were "no gear or supplies that could be had after 1898". Nuts to your pansy theme parties, we do theme camping.
Needless to say, the Facebook comments on this short film were as expected. Even folks whom I know are city dwellers are in awe of the "dood" factor on display here.
M: "This thing is a joke right? It's like a bad SNL skit."
L: "For $2,500 I could go on one hell of a camping trip with plenty of fancy cheese and cocktails..."
E: "they should just put on their hunting tweed and discuss the colonies while the beaters flush the pheasants."
I don't know if these guys are necessarily "rich and fancy" as one commenter put it. I'm guessing they're just typical urban guys who are trying to fill that manly man vacuum in their lives, although guys who obviously have a lot more cash to blow than I do. Men are meant to "go out and DO things", not just sit around. Are these guys really so unimaginative or inertia-bound that they can't just go hiking or car camping on their own? I'm not saying women aren't supposed to do things, too, but men are hardwired to go out in to the bush and bag that mammoth and dance around with a bunch of other guys high-fiving, shouting, "Yeah! Food for a month for EVERYBODY!" This is another reason why Bro Camp, while I'm sure it's a lovely time, doesn't really fit the bill. These guys need to be handed fishing poles and told to go catch dinner. They need to learn to build decent cookfires and cook their own grub.
To be fair, Wilderness Collective
offers several types of "adventures", of which this is perhaps the most
redolent of reality TV. I kid you not, they even include a film crew in
the package. One of their other offerings is a mule-packing trip in to
the Sierras which looks a heck of a lot more macho than this motorcycle
and chase truck deal.
My poor spouse, on the other hand, would probably be happier with a little less manliness around our place. He's out chopping wood every day, feeding and mucking horses, and when I call him to take care of a varmint it's a coyote not a spider (I'm a lousy shot).