When I first heard the term “man camp” I instantly thought of a line from one of my favorite movies, Pride and Prejudice, where the young (boy crazy) daughter, laments out loud, “a whole camp full of soldiers!”. While the man camps here would not bring on such wistful thoughts, it is something you should familiarize yourself with because for now they are very much a part of our everyday life. You cannot travel anywhere without seeing them. Supposedly built as a temporary solution to housing, I’m wondering just how temporary some of them are.
Some man camps are run well with security, meals and enough conveniences to make life comfortable. Most man camps don’t house families but I know that some do. When my husband first arrived and became employed, we had the option of moving into the company provided housing which included our choice of a trailer in the man camp or an apartment in town. We ended up finding housing ourselves but at least we had the option. Two of the best run man camps are run by Capital and Target Logistics. Black Gold is also a good option.
Do your homework. That is the single best piece of advice I could give you. Google is your friend. Research the companies you want to apply for, network and talk to people. If you get called for an interview, ask what company they use for housing (assuming they provide it). Right now, there is plenty of space but as the days get warmer and winter becomes a thing of the past, these spots will fill up quickly. It is true that they are building more and more and the shortage is not as bad as it was just a year ago but housing for families is still critically short.
There are many man camps set up that don’t offer food or security but the units are not bad. You almost certainly will be sharing your space which usually is not bad unless you are paired with someone who has no clue about personal hygiene or cleanliness. I’ve seen this happen first hand. If you are not sharing a bedroom it’s ok, but In all these units you are sharing a kitchen. There really isn’t much you can do about this, it’s just the luck of the draw.
Housing from a company might also include sharing a house. This is where my husband was initially placed. There were 2 men per room, three bedrooms total. The rest of the house was considered common place. It was not bad, although he had to clean the bathroom upon his arrival. Apparently the men there didn’t think that stuck on black dirt and grime was a problem and I won’t bother telling you about the rest of the bathroom.
The last kind of man camp is one I would not want to be in, at least not during the harshest winter months. These are often areas of someone’s personal property where you park your personal camper or fifth wheel and made do. Maybe someone local has parked a few campers there is renting them out. These are not ideal during winter time but if it’s all you’ve got, try and make the best of it. These are not really man camp’s in the literal sense, but rather areas where people come together because their company does not offer traditional man camp housing. Everyone has to have somewhere to put their head at night and it’s certainly better than trying to sleep in your car.
The truth is, no matter where you stay, you won’t spend much time there. Once the season picks up again, everyone will be working long hours and the little time off that they do have is spent finding a meal and trying to sleep.