Recently, we published a checklist of fun summer activities and on that list was camping. This really got me thinking about how much I love getting out of town and spending a night under the stars. Michigan was great for outdoor adventures and I spent many days as kid just Huck Fin-ing it up in the woods. Every person deserves the chance to enjoy that. So I present to you, the noble reader, the SBS guide to camping.
Before you hit the dusty trail you need to make sure you have everything so you don’t get stuck up shit’s creek without a cell signal. These are the basics.
You don’t need much but there are some critical pieces not to leave out. A sleeping bag, knife, flashlight/headlamp, medkit, rope, duct tape, axe/hatchet, fire-starter, something to cook in/on, appropriate clothes and shoes/boots, plus a bag to carry it all in. Here are few helpful questions to ask yourself:
– Where are you sleeping?
– What’s the weather/climate of where you are staying?
– How are you starting your fires/cooking your food?
– Where are you going to the bathroom?
– How many bears will you have to fight?
– How long is your trip?
– What’s the distance from your ride to your campsite?
If your tent is a stones throw from your car or truck then you can bring all sorts of crazy things. Leave the popcorn machine at home. Instead, bring your pop-up canopy with heavy duty stakes to anchor it. It will suck if your shade blows away. Camp chairs rock or you can always sit on the cooler or a tree stump. I suggest, if the weather and bugs allow, sleep outdoors. It’s awesome. Grass will get dewy so a tarp is a smart thing to pack and can be used in tons of ways.
Whatever fresh items you bring need to be in a cooler with ice. You can never have too much ice. If you are cooking over a fire, then you need a frying pan or maybe even a grill grate (take it from your charcoal grill) to place over the campfire. Stick to the classics. Hotdogs/brats, s’mores, bacon and eggs. Maybe make some dope chili and reheat it. Bring tons of snacks, water, and booze. I like canned american beer, high-end boxed wine and whiskey. Oh and don’t forget coffee. Pre-grind some quality beans and bring your french press. Also consider a couple trash bags, a roll of paper towels and some dish soap to wash your food surfaces. You want to clean that mess up quick as to not attract unwanted critters, monsters or newly escaped criminals.
Camping Life Hacks
Freeze a gallon of water and put it in your cooler, it will keep food cold and you can drink it when it melts. Secure a leather belt around a tree and then use that as an anchor point to hang things without harming the trunk. Bring protection if you want to have sex with someone and not get an STD. Put a head lamp on a gallon of water to create a make-shift lantern. Pre crack your eggs into an empty water bottle, now you don’t have to worry about packing such a fragile item. Doritos or hand sanitizer can work as fire kindling. Deodorant can double as a topical itch relief from bug bites. Oh, and never keep any food in your tent. Ever. Unless you want to wake up next to something furry and hungry that made it’s way into your bed.
My biggest takeaway is that camping should be fun and simple. It’s a way to connect/reconnect to nature. Experts at fancy outdoor supply stores will recommend all manner of expensive gadgets but that completely misses the point. Camping is a chance for us to get offline and be present in the moment. Swim naked in the river, stare up at the night’s sky, enjoy the silence. Just be. Now, get packing and get out of town.