Summer to me is synonymous with camping. Yup this city-raised lady is all about getting down with some good ol'nature. Maybe that's just why I LOVE the outdoors now. In fact, I need it! Below you'll see what God blessed me with to call my backyard.
Growing up in the city (NYC) there was no camping, well, that I or my family knew of. However, before my family migrated to America, in Sicily my mother and father would always go camping. All the friends and family would pack up for the weekend and head to the hills also known as, campagna or la spiggia, the beach.
So I guess you could say that I was raised to be a camper. Only a few photos remain. I'm waiting to receive them from Italy. As soon as they come in I'll share them on social media. It's the only proof that I was ever camping as a child. After that...nothing! Void of the camping life till I was 18!! For goodness sakes, my first 'real' camping trip was at the age of 18! (I need you to understand that this little-known fact still shocks me today). However, after that first independent trip, I was hooked.
The seemingly effortless yet artist, poetic, expression of setting up my tent thrills me. Meticulous organization of the props, the food, and of course the beer. It's all so perfect. As I write this I can envision with precision the 'dance' of setting up my campground so that the days themselves are without stress and in perfect harmony. (By the way, I'm sure not everyone feels the same way about setting up the site as I do, but hey...I guess that's what makes me, me)
Yes, air mattresses sometimes matter, especially when your best friend is
'not a camper'
Summer ascends upon our days, the skin gets darker, the hair lighter, attitudes simmer down and the planning begins. I encourage you to try your hand at camping. And if you're reading this and sitting in 94 degrees FL. yes, I still advise you to go camping this Summer. There are many different kinds of camping, RV, cabin, tent, primitive, and off-grid. I prefer primitive or off-grid camping. There
There are many different kinds of camping, RV, cabin, tent, glamping, primitive, and off-grid. I prefer primitive glamping (yup both, it can be done) or off-grid camping. However, there is a place and time for all of it and the advice I and my great friend and long-time camper give below will pertain to at least one if not all of the types of camping. These essentials are good reminders for the self-proclaimed pro and best practices for the novice.
8 Essentials for Summer Camping:
1. Book in advance! Research your plotted course, activities in the park, and amenities, if any. Call the parks or wilderness areas you want to visit. Inform yourself on any wilderness precautions in that area of travel. Google is your friend in this case. Even Trip Advisor will show images of the best campsites for some locations.
2. Invite experienced and fun friends. When you need to twinkle in the middle of the night it's always a good idea to buddy up. Those weird noises just outside of your tent may sometimes paralyze you from needing to answer nature's call. Having someone by you that needs to go too is just smart.
"Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter." - Izaak Walton
3. The right gear! Every time I go camping I feel like a hero when I have exactly what we need in a time of seemingly horrific circumstances. Like tinfoil, or my headlamp (for those middle of the night bathroom sessions of course) 😉
- Something everyone laughs at me when I whip them out, rain boots. They are tall, made of hard rubber and always come in handy. Especially when camping out here in FL. These are not for off-grid camping. You do not want to carry an extra 5 lbs. on your back.
- Citronella oil or Deet bug spray
- Easy set-up hammock - the hammock we recommend is amazing! Oh and it supports families in the USA get their children to specialized schools for autism!
My great friend, role-model, and former-Marine Michael Wersan suggests bringing more practical essentials; he's an off-the-grid kind of camper.
1. Something to make fire with (with redundancy)
- Ferro rod
2. Quality knife
3. A water purifier
4. FOOD & WATER! This will vary greatly depending on the type of camping trip you go on. Therefore I suggest you think about this long and hard. If you've ever joined me on a (tent) camping trip you'll know that I do not mess around when it comes to food, comfort, and drink. Just because we are in the wilderness does not mean we have to eat like cavemen! (One Thanksgiving a few years back, I refused to not have Old Fashions, turkey, stuffing and a charcuterie plate!)
For the more rugged camper. Michael suggests hearty foods over the fire (me, steak or full, head on, fish). If backpacking he looks for calorie dense meals, 130-150 calories per ounce of food. For instance, he went on a 3-day camping trip and the food weighed 5.2 lbs but gave him 2200 calories a day!
5. DO NOT get lazy when it's time to call it a day. Make sure a rain fly or tarp of sorts is on the tent. All gear goes inside. If you have a car/truck, all food and garbage go in your vehicle, even the cooler goes away. Make sure nothing that you want dry is left out, including shoes.
I hope you enjoyed these essential tips for having fun, adventurous summer camping trips. Please leave a comment with your essentials.
Happy camping and great Summer to you all!
!!!*******DON'T FORGET THE S'MORES!!!
From the city to the jungle! We now camp in our backyard, making the Old Fashions and the charcuterie plates much easier to prepare!