Friday, June 20, 2014

Camping Survival Tips: The Good and the Ugly

I think it's been established, but Ryan and I are a bit spontaneous when it comes to weekend get-aways.

Back in May, we had planned on going to San Diego for a 3-day-weekend last weekend. But Ryan's work scheduled changed 6 times (I'm not exaggerating). So we decided to put that dream on hold for while. We didn't know if he was going to have the weekend free until 3:45 pm on Friday. And when he called with the news that he did - I started packing like a mad-woman. We had the car loaded up, and we were headed up the mountain by 5:30 pm for a camping trip!

We were having a discussion with someone recently about camping, and how it's so much work and planning. But we have proved that theory wrong! But our "camping skills" did not happen overnight. Here are a few tips about camping, that I've found help tremendously.

And I will finish off with a short rant about the "ugly" of camping.

1.  Heavy duty plastic containers will be your best friend. Emphasis on "heavy duty". Don't go cheap. We have 2 large plastic bins that hold all our "tools". 1 bin has: cast-iron pots/pans, cooking utensils, cutting board, coffee percolator, paper plates, dish soap, dish basin, etc. Bin #2 has: matches, playing cards, saw (for cutting wood), hammer (for building tent), lanterns, flashlights, and any other tools that may be useful.

2.  A clean campsite is a happy campsite. There are no sinks out in the wild. So washing dishes, etc is tricky. But not if you have a descent set of supplies. I always bring a basin, a bottle of dish-soap, sponges, bottle of spray Lysol, and chlorox-wipes. With these tools - you are set. Most campgrounds have water-spigots so you can wash. (Oh, I also bring my hand vacuum cleaner to vacuum the tent. That's a little excessive, though)

3.  A clean body is a happy camper. My 1st few times camping, I got crabby near the end. I felt dirty and gross. I wanted to crawl out of my skin. Until I discovered baby-wipes. I use these frequently to wash my face, etc. It seriously makes the world of difference. (I also bring hairspray, because I like to look pretty. Ha!)

4.  Freeze any meat before your trip. It will eventually thaw in the cooler - and it also serves as an ice pack to keep your cooler cold!

5.  Have ear plugs in your bag, just in case. Ear plugs help to eliminate that nuisance. See below.

6.  Have a bag of "camping spices". We always have: S & P, oregano, Old Bay, Cumin, Cayenne, Crushed Red Pepper, garlic powder, & Basil. Keep them in a large plastic bag, and it's easy to take with you! (We now take this bag with us on a lot of our vacations since we prefer to do VRBO's/Turn Key properties lately...)

7.  When you return home from your trip, take the extra time to make sure everything was put away nicely (and organized!). We take an inventory of what we have, and what we need. The things we need, we will replace them immediately. Then on our next camping trip we don't have to try remembering what we need.

Now for my quick rant:

Why do people find it necessary to get absolutely schnockered drunk while camping? I don't understand it. You are not within close proximity to a bathroom (and alcohol is a diuretic). You don't have a comfortable sleeping quarters, so a hangover would be awfully rough on a camping trip!

And what also perplexes me, is this "stereotypical drunk camper" - is quiet all day long. All day they could be drinking their Miller Lights or Whiskey Cokes. All day long! And then as the sun starts going down, they could sleep during the night like other humans do. But no. They choose to do "God knows what" all day long, and start drinking like a fish as the sun is going down. They then choose to keep other campers up by laughing and howling at the moon all night.

And why do people howl at moons? This is not a one-time occurrence. We have camped at various campgrounds, and various times. There always seems to be that one guy, who out-of-no-where lets out a loud "Owwwwwwwwwwwww" 2 in the morning.

Okay, rant complete. I really love camping. However, backpacking out in the wild compared to camping at a campground with drunk moon-howlers, really does make me appreciate "roughing it".

We are happy campers :)


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

You guys are too cute! I have never camped but it sounds fun! I think it's funny that you bring hair spray! I think I would use camping as an excuse to go super duper low maintenance with my hair and such. ;)

Drunk people are the most annoying. I would be especially annoyed to encounter them while camping, though. Not cool!

Amber said...

Love your tips about being organized -- so important for camping! We are going camping this weekend and I'm actually going to start pulling stuff out of our big storage closet TONIGHT and getting it organized!

Marlys said...

You two sound so organized and that tote idea is great so you are almost ready to go in a flash!
I agree with you about the drunk campers as that was our main complaint when we were "camper" campers! It is so rude and annoying and I often wondered why the owners didn't evict them? I especially hate when they start swearing and using awful language which usually is the case when one imbibes too much!
Love the picture - you two really are cute!