Squidward looks forward to a weekend of peace and quiet when SpongeBob and Patrick decide to go camping. However, he is disappointed to learn that they are camping in SpongeBob's front yard, right outside his window.
Squidward confronts them and tells them that they can't be "camping" if they're ten feet away from SpongeBob's house, and decides to join them in their "camping", after getting the impression that the gang think Squidward to be not manly or qualified enough to camp. After he is unable to set up his automated tent, he decides to sleep under the stars.
The gang begin roasting marshmallows while Squidward goes to his house to get his can opener. However, they stop him from doing so, saying that it "just doesn't seem to fit the camping spirit." So Squidward decides to eat the marshmallows, but Patrick repeatedly blows on his burned ones, sending them flying into Squidward's face. SpongeBob then plays the "Campfire Song Song". Squidward dislikes it, and begins playing "Kumbayah" very badly on his clarinet, and SpongeBob stops him by shooting a marshmallow through his clarinet and into his windpipe, causing him to choke. After Squidward recovers and yells at them, SpongeBob claims that it's not safe to play the clarinet outside at night, and then begin talking with Patrick about sea-bears and the things that attract them. Squidward attempts to disprove their existence by doing all the things that supposedly would attract a sea-bear, such as eating cheese cubes, wearing hoop skirts, waving flashlights, wearing clown shoes, etc.
Sure enough, a sea-bear soon appears and begins mauling Squidward. SpongeBob and Patrick draw an "anti sea-bear circle" in the dirt, of which Squidward is also skeptical. After being attacked for the sixth time, Squidward leaps into the anti-sea bear circle. When the sea-bear leaves, SpongeBob mentions the sea-rhinoceros. Squidward fearfully asks what attracts them, and Patrick replies "The sound of a sea-bear attack". A sea-rhinoceros then appears and grunts at Squidward, and SpongeBob says: "good thing we're all wearing our anti-sea-rhinoceros undergarments," except for Squidward didn't have a pair on.
This episode is #4 on Tom Kenny's Top 20 on iTunes. His description says:
"I always laugh even though I know the sea bear attacks are coming. By the way, SpongeBob singing the ever-accelerating verses of 'The Campfire S.O.N.G Song' isn't artificially sped up. People always ask about that."
In the Best Day Ever marathon, this is the only episode in the Top 10 that is not from season four (it ranked #7).
This episode was originally going to be called When Squid Gets Mauled, but was then changed to "The Camping Episode", most likely because the original title of the episode was deemed too unfriendly for kids.
In the early days of the airing, this episode would be paired before "Krabby Land", but was paired 2 months later.
This is the second episode Patrick is left-handed. When he is writing down how to set up a tent he is writing with his left hand, but in other episodes he is right-handed. The first episode to show Patrick as a lefty is Jellyfishing. This means that he could possibly be ambidextrous.
In the episode Idiot Box, Squidward finds the same sombrero when he looks for a box and says: "Why haven't I worn this yet?".
SpongeBob's sleeping bag is red and has jellyfish on it, and Patrick's sleeping bag is green and has flowers on it.
Irony: Patrick, after SpongeBob draws the Anti-Seabear Circle, holds up an issue of Fake Science Monthly and says: "Good thinking! All the experts say it's the only defense against a Seabear attack!".
Squidward imitated SpongeBob too, later in Sponge-Cano.
Running Gag: The sea bear mauling Squidward.
The drawing of SpongeBob and Patrick on the calendar shows pine trees, but it is impossible since they do not inhabit the ocean. There was support that pine trees can't exist underwater but, not without air in I Had an Accident. Forests under the seas were kelp as proven in several episodes such as Club SpongeBob.
The drawing of anti-sea bear circle, which is a perfect circle that Squidward can't draw as SpongeBob mentioned, is similar to that on Artist Unknown.
There is a game based on the Sea Bear attack called "Camping Chaos".
In the Indonesian version, on the line where SpongeBob asked to Squidward about can openers, it's instead turned into asking him about sea bears.
This episode is considered to be one of the best episodes, due to the sea bear attacks and the Campfire Song Song.
The part where SpongeBob says "I met this guy who knew this guy..." has became a very poplular internet meme. Some videos even have SpongeBob saying it for 10 hours.
The article I married a sea bear is a reference to the film "I Married a Monster from Outer Space".
"The Bikini Bottom Inquirer" is a reference to "The National Inquirer," a tabloid newspaper notorious for printing exaggerated or outright false stories.
Patrick playing Tic-Tac-Toe on his clipboard may be a reference to an old Rugrats episode ("Momma Trauma") where the psychiatrist played Tic-Tac-Toe on his clipboard and all he said was, "I see."
SpongeBob and Patrick smashing a guitar and some drums are probably a reference to Peter Townshend (guitar) and Keith Moon (drums) of the Who, who would destroy their respective musical instruments at the end of every live set.
Patrick's line "It may be stupid! But it's also dumb!" may be a reference to Fonzie's quote from Happy Days, "Stupid? Yes. Also dumb."
When Squidward was doing stuff SpongeBob told him not to do, he wasn't playing the clarinet again, like he did before this scene. However, he was screaming like a chimpanzee, which was a no-go that SpongeBob and Patrick stressed more than the others, so Squidward was probably trying to do something that would be more likely to attract the sea bear (even though he did not believe it existed) to prove them wrong.
When SpongeBob mentioned they were all wearing undergarments at the end, Squidward only wears a shirt and will probably get mauled.
When Squidward looks at his cup of tea while in bed, the wrinkles on his forehead are gone, but when Squidward looks at his book, his wrinkles on his forehead appear, but when he imitates SpongeBob's laugh, his wrinkles on his forehead are gone again.
After SpongeBob and Patrick "force" Squidward to come camping, Squidward changes (from pajamas to a shirt) (he could have changed while packing) and packs instantly. When he sets his backpack down and pulls out his tent, the screen changes to only Squidward's face. When it shows the ground by his feet again; his backpack is gone.
When SpongeBob starts the song, he is sitting on a log. When he sits back down; the log is gone.
Despite claiming he had "done everything to set a sea-bear off," Squidward had never eaten the cubed-cheese as he was supposed to. It is possible, however, he ate it off-screen when the screen was focused on only SpongeBob and Patrick when they were freaked out that a Sea bear will come and when they drew the circle into the dirt.
When the Sea Rhinoceros snorts, one of the bubble groups stops in mid air.
When Squidward tries to set up his tent, he rips it. After the tent is put up; the rip is gone.
When SpongeBob said: "Nope! We got something even better!", Patrick and the tent were next to SpongeBob. But when SpongeBob pulled out the marshmallows, they were gone.
After Squidward shows up with a sombrero, a hoopskirt, clown shoes, a flashlight, and a plate of cubed cheese, he walks up to SpongeBob and Patrick, when the flashlight and cheese are gone.
The last time Patrick blows his marshmallow, he did not put it in the fire.
When the sea bear attacks Squidward for the first time, he is shown with bandages on his arms and legs. In the next scene, they disappear, only showing an arm cast. In the end, they reappear.
The marshmallow cannot go through the clarinet that easily because the rear end is smaller than the marshmallow itself.
When Squidward attempts to organize his tent, SpongeBob is on the left observing him via binoculars while Patrick (even donning a pair of eyeglasses) writes how to set up a tent down. But when the two are clapping, they switch sides.