Like many little girls born to outdoors men, I grew up with a love of adventure. My dad wasn’t quite as adventurous as I, but he sure loved to fish. Getting up before dawn to chase some crappie or staying up all night landing big channel cats, I soon came to love that Coleman lantern. I didn’t realize at the time that Coleman was a brand, I thought it was the type of lamp it was and it had something to do with coal.
I realized the error of my logic when I was seven. That’s when my uncle and his family came from Indiana to visit us in Kentucky. They were pulling a Coleman pop-up camper behind their car. I’d never seen anything like it but by the end of that weekend I was hooked. My cousins and I got to sleep in the camper and I thought sleeping outside was the most exciting thing in the world! I guess this is where my love of adventure, as well my love for Coleman products really grew legs.
The crazy grind that we call life kept me away from a lot of adventures for a lot of years. But any time I was planning an excursion, whether it was 4-H camp, fishing with friends, taking kids out fishing, or whitewater rafting, I’ve always reached for Coleman when buying my supplies. Not only did my great childhood memories revolve around them, I had learned the Coleman brand meant reliability.
When I finally decided it was time to start a new adventure it was the one called marriage. It should come as no surprise that I’d found an outdoors-man of my own. We decided we really didn’t need housewares so we registered for camping equipment! Out wedding gifts consisted of a tent, air mattress, sleeping bags, a battery operated light-fan for the tent, tools for open fire cooking, a huge cooler, camp chairs, flashlights, and a lantern. All Coleman!
David and I had many great weekends and vacations together camping and fishing. Our equipment never failed to do what it was supposed to do. We spent so much time in the great outdoors and those will always be my favorite life memories. All of the fun we had doing exactly what we both wanted to do was priceless and having the supplies to make it enjoyable definitely added to the happiness and comfort we felt. I can’t even describe what those nights in the tent, or sitting lakeside with a lantern meant to us.
Three years after we married David was diagnosed with inoperable, stage four cancer. We got to camp a couple more times before the medicines kept him from feeling like doing much. We still fished, right up until his last week.
After David passed, it took some time but my old adventurous self was trying to re-emerge. I fished by myself the first couple of years, and even though I love to fish alone I’ve also made friends whose hobbies closely match my own. I continue to use our wedding presents for my trips and they’re still just as reliable as ever. I think David’s glad that I’ve kept going. How could I not? With the great experiences I had growing up, then the wonderful times he and I had. It is definitely a huge part of who I am.
I have to admit, as sturdy as our original supplies are, they’re almost ten years old. I’ve noticed a lot of technology and I’ve had my eye on some of Coleman’s new offerings to make camping even better. The 10-cup propane coffee maker, the All In One propane grill, the portable fryer, and the Insta-tent, for starters. All of these could make life easier now that I’m responsible for all the gear and supplies.
Even though there’s no family involved at this point, I’m still making memories and still making friends that share my interests.
As long as I’m able to go, Coleman will be there with me.
Sponsored by Coleman and hosted by the Outdoor Blogger Network, this is my submission for the Coleman Camping Heritage Essay Contest.
Note: I didn’t originally have that statement on this article. I had to add it which didn’t happen until the day after the contest deadline. I wanted to disclose that information out of fairness. All of the things I mentioned in my article are true and treasured memories. Thanks again Coleman!