Last Minute Camping Gear
Last post about Connecting with Mother Nature I confessed that this trip to Mt Whitney to explore some nature was a bit of a whim, meaning we were pretty (read: VERY) unprepared. I went a little bit overboard trying to prep for this trip, meaning I managed to learn a few expensive lessons for you. Here’s a quick (AMATEUR) list of the musts for a car camping trip away with friends for the weekend (assuming you are already in possession of the bare necessities: tent, sleeping bags, flashlights, and a sense of adventure). Sebastian and I sat down with the help of Amelia and talked about everything we wished we had been able to find online before our trip:
Okay, so this works for allergies and those sleepless nights. I figured that out by the second night, so I managed some decent sleep. And if Benadryl isn’t your speed, maybe pack a pair of earplugs.
A DECENT BACKPACK WITH WATER SUPPLY
Now, because of Sebastian’s back, I sprung for a pretty nice bag because I would be carrying a majority of the weight. I sprung for an Osprey Sirrus 24 in that eye-catching blue. I added a 3L water bladder (with the help of a knowledgeable REI employee), and it was an absolute life saver. I took 16lbs on that hike, and what killed me was the altitude, I barely noticed the weight. The pack helps to distribute it quite well, and 3L was enough to keep the two of us hydrated, and the bag had more than enough space for snacks, sunscreen, Polaroid cameras, and a first aid kit (just in case).
If you’re crunched for cash (which we were) and there’s no grate on the fire pit (which we luckily had), you can make your camp stove out of a cat food can. No, this isn’t a joke. This is a real thing. Here’s a link to a youtube video that will show you how to make it. It’s quite simple, quite cheap, and quite effective. If you swing by your local 99cent store, you may even snag some canned cat food on clearance and save even more. Plus, your cat will thank you. Also, bring something to light that fire.
POTS 'N' PANS
To cook with? Just bring your pots and pans, it can get expensive shelling out for the camp stuff, and besides, you’re car camping you have space. Along with that, grab some tea towels, trash bags, utensils and a knife from your supplies. No need to buy! But if you must, snag them at the 99cent store, every one of them has a cooking aisle, use it. And if you clean out their aluminum foil supply while you’re there, you’re doing the right thing. Additionally, camping soap for those dishes will be something you’re grateful for.
BOARD GAMES AND ENTERTAINMENT
Speaking of having space, bring some fun games. Like Taboo or Catch Phrase. They’re a ton of fun, and really, this trip is all about fun and bonding.
BUG / MOSQUITO REPELLANT
Just do it.
Namely, COFFEE or tea. If you’re an addict like we are, you’ll be heartbroken if you don’t bring at the bare minimum some instant coffee. We found a box of 7 packets at Target (and again later at the 99cent store) of Folgers instant coffee. Nothing brought me more happiness than that first cup of morning coffee
THINGS TO SIT ON
Chairs are beautiful; blankets are a MUST. Lap blankets by the fire, extra warmth when you sleep. Picnicking. There’s a lot of uses, and cuddling underneath one as you gaze at the stars just happens to be my favorite.
FOOD AND COOLERS
We snagged a few of the foam $3.99 coolers, and they worked amazingly for our three-day trip. We jammed into them quite a bit of food, enough for six of us. Here are some suggestions for food that got us through our journey:
Fajitas - We managed to find some pre-cut and packaged chicken and veggies on clearance at our local Vons (the night before the trip) and bought fajita seasoning and mixed them all together in a foil packet, froze them, and they were AMAZING for dinner. We just dropped them on the grate and let them cook over the fire, heated up a couple of tortillas and were in food heaven.
For breakfast we found ourselves gravitating to bacon and eggs, with some fresh pre-cut fruit and clearance oatmeal packets. Scrambled eggs cooked in bacon fat are indeed a delicacy.
Sandwich makings for lunch. We went for PB&J and some lunch meats, but when we had them for our hike and our return camp we were incredibly thankful for this quick and easy meal.Mac and Cheese and Garlic bread. If you’re doing a big hike, carbo loading the night before is super easy with this meal. We went for the Velveeta because it takes nothing more than what’s already in the box. We cooked up some bacon and hotdogs for protein to add, and tossed the garlic bread onto the fire in foil packs and damn, what a feast we had that night!
Capture those memories. Phone, polaroid, DSLR, whatever. Bring something to capture memories with, and make sure you’re in a few of those shots too.
Again, a true amateur list right here. But I used every single thing on it, repeatedly throughout the trip, and was damn thankful to have it. Amelia may have had a hand in the cat food tin camp stove suggestion, but outside of that, this list is comprised of the items that made our trip more comfortable and a lot of fun, and also is a list I would have found long before I forked over a bunch of cash at REI. Thankfully, I loved this trip and planning more, but if I weren’t, it’d be a ton of money down the drain.
The Dollar store or local 99cent store is your friend, just as much as REI or other camping stores. If it’s your first trip try not to make the mistakes I did and fork over for a bunch of stuff I found later at a better price. But remember to pack that sense of adventure (a July MUST) and try and take it all in stride. It won’t be perfect, but it also won’t be the end of the world. Share with us some of your “Camping Musts” down below!
Until next time, take care of yourselves!
Kat & Amelia