Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Dunes & Don'ts of Camping

I didn't grow up camping like my boyfriend did but I have been camping with him and his family for about 10 years now so I've picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. Obviously things vary depending on where you're camping but I'll list some things that I find useful for the desert, the beach, and the forest. Make sure to check out some of my other camping trips from 2013: You're Camping My Style & Tree Huggers!!!
Mesh Bomber Jacket: Cameo 'Embers' (here)
Long Sleeve Linen Tee: Joe's Jeans (here in grey)
Shorts: Urban Outfitters
Hat: Nike
Necklace: Jenny Bird (here)
Hanging out on the truck while we watch our friend Stevie make it to the top of Oldsmobile Hill.
It definitely looks way more intimidating in person. 
Don't be an Elliot and bring your work with you (as mentioned in the Do's and Don'ts #11). ;)
Stevie with his babies on the mega chair. Who knew that the following night he'd be snuggling with Eddie, Nikki, and I on that tiny chair instead of Buck Owens & Mufasa.
Snuggling with Mr. Buck Owens
Going for a ride in our friend's Rhino.
Babes on babes at Duner's Diner.
Watching the drag race.
Pink Floyd Tank: Chaser Brand (here)
Jeans: Ditto Brand
Fixing the flat.
Grateful Dead Tee: Chaser Brand
Leggings: Lulu Lemon
On our way to Slab City. 
The great Mufasa tried to steal my burrito.
Versatile fashion. Shorts when you're hot, pants when you're not. Model: Jesse.
Making desert art.
I've been saved at Salvation Mountain.
We are a part of GOD...literally.
Stopped at Bombay Beach by the Salton Sea for lunch & airing up those tires.
Mufasa: What's up?!
Made some more great memories with these guys. Can't wait for our DMC Yellowstone trip next year! Don't forget to save up lots and lots of money for that, y'all!
The Do's & Don'ts (listed in no particular order):

1) DO stay flexible because things never ever go exactly as planned. Be sure you're open to changes along the way. We decided to head home a bit earlier than planned because the wind was picking up and the sand was blasting us (making it difficult to cook and do anything without getting sand everywhere). Instead, we took a dirt road to Slab City and visited Salvation Mountian, and Bombay Beach by the Salton Sea (both pictured below). Both of which are great places to stop by because it's just so foreign to anything we've ever been to or seen. 

2) DO invest in a good tent. My boyfriend purchased our awesome tent cot earlier this year when I destroyed the zipper to our old tent. I can't express how much I love this thing! Not only are you lifted off the floor for comfort (no rocks or gravel) but it keeps all the creepy crawlies out and it even includes a net underneath to store your shoes. The only con about this thing is there's a bar down the middle of the tent floor (at least on our tent cot) so it really doesn't allow for snuggling and cuddling, which is a huge bummer when you're relying on body heat to stay warm. 

3) DO prep meals. It's always nice and convenient to prep meals and get things ready ahead of time. That way when you're starving, you don't have to waste all that extra time. What I did this time around was make breakfast burritos ahead of time. I just wrapped them in foil and packed it in the cooler with ice. This was my first time doing that, and it was such a great idea. This was handy because we didn't have to figure out a way to transport raw eggs without smashing them (especially when you offroad through the dirt like we do). We previously used to bring the cartons of liquid egg but were afraid that they wouldn't keep well because the ice typically doesn't stay frozen for longer than a day and a half (unless you invest in a Pelican cooler-which is what Eddie and I will probably get next).

4) DO bring excess amounts of water and firewood. You can never have too much of either. We always bring more water than needed just in case your friends run out or you're stranded somewhere. We also typically bring tons of firewood to keep us warm all night long. You especially don't want to run out of firewood when you're in a commercialized area like Pismo Beach or Glamis where they'll overcharge you like crazy. 

5) DON'T forget sunscreen! And don't forget to reapply. Skin cancer is no joke so make sure to apply and reapply your sunscreen! Don't be like my stubborn boyfriend and wait to burn before finally caving in and applying the sunscreen. 

6) DO bring Wet Ones wipes and hand sanitizer. Wet Ones are my bestfriends when camping. I usually go tent camping unless I go with Eddie's parents and then we'll bust out the fancy trailer. So when I don't have access to a shower, Wet One wipes are the next best thing. I always feel sticky and icky after a long day playing/hiking/driving around, which makes it hard for me to sleep especially with dirty feet. Hand sanitizer is also a great way to quickly cleanse your hands before having a quick snack. 

7) DO warm your bottoms with hot coals at night. I always forget to do this, but my friend Kayla suggested shoveling a tiny bit of hot coal from the fire pit and placing it underneath your camping chair. Be careful not to put too much or it could get too hot and burn a hole in your chair or burn your bum. 

8) DO layer your clothes. Depending on what time of the year you're out camping, the days could be nice and warm but the nights could drop to an uncomfortable low, which is what tends to happen everywhere. The key is to pack clothes you can easily layer. I always bring tanks and tees for the daytime with a light sweater/jacket, shorts, jeans, thermals, plenty of socks and underwear, beanies & scarves, fleece lined leggings, sweats, and some underarmor. Since I'm not really tolerate of cold temps, I bring my snow jacket everywhere with me! It's truly a lifesaver! I also usually wear boots when camping because I absolutely hate it when gravel and sand get in my shoes.

9) Don't forget trash bags. It's so important to clean up after yourself. I really hate it when people leave their campsites a mess, so please make sure to pack up your trash bags. Our friend Stevie was very innovative and brought one of those collapsible laundry baskets and used it as a trash can for our campsite. It's portable and makes throwing trash away super convenient.  

10) DON'T be a disrespectful neighbor. It's important to be considerate of others if you're not in the middle of nowhere with nobody around. This means don't blast your music all night long. People are most likely out camping to get away from the city life so rememeber to be considerate of others. 

11) Don't bring your work with you (unless you absolutely can't help it). We all know it's hard to set your phones and/or iPads aside but camping should be about enjoying nature and taking in your beautiful surrounding. Set up your Out-of-Office automated emails letting your coworkers and clients know you're unable to respond due to limited internet access and turn off your phones (unless you're like me and use it to snap quick shots here and there). What I do is just turn on my airplane mode and enjoy my boyfriend and friends!

12) DO make lists of everything you need to bring (including a first aid kit)! Make a list of everything you'll need such as flashlights/headlamps, utensils for cooking, extra socks, glasses/contacts, etc. One of the most important things to make sure you have is a first aid kit for any small emergency you may have. Also don't forget to pack some Advil in case you get a headache. Nothing ruins a camping trip like suffering through it with a migraine.  

13) Most importantly...DO bring a great group of friends to enjoy your experience with! Eddie and I have been unbelievably lucky to have found such great camping companions. We always have a blast no matter what! The more the merrier definitely applies when it comes to camping. And let's be honest...as prepared as you think you are, you're going to forget things. So if there are more people, the probability that someone has something you need and are missing is significantly higher. Everybody wins! Especially when it comes to snuggling.

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