Surviving the Wilderness

Ahh! It’s good to be home.

I’m actually just coming off my Labor Day Weekend and I’m looking forward to the next one already. While Jonathan and I got a chance to wine taste with some friends over the holiday, I was able to go camping for a few nights with a friend. It was a great getaway for me and allowed me to start building some camping experience underneath my belt, since I’m still new to the game.

To be honest, before I met Jonathan I hated & dreaded camping. The first time I ever did it, I was about 14 years old and I was in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee in April. I had volunteered with my church to help build something but to be honest I don’t even remember what we we helped build. I just remember crying over the cold, curling up into a ball every night at the bottom of my sleeping bag and sleeping with every single pair of socks on my hand and feet. It was a horrid experience and one I never wanted to relive again. When Jonathan told me that he was big into camping and wanted me to join him on some of the adventures, I start flash backing to that week in Tennessee and seeing that horrid yet warm bathroom. After the dream sequence, he made sure that I would never have that experience again as long as we have proper gear. The more that we camp the more we invest into the good stuff that will keep me happier when we’re outside in the cold.

Now I’m addicted to certain products that I can’t live without while out in the wilderness. If they’re not in my kit then I cry like a baby. So here’s a few highlights of the things that are always in my backpack when we go camping.

1. The North Face Women’s NSE Tent Mule Fur II

The best slippers in the land.

I actually found these in black at one of the greatest stores in the Bay Area, Sports Basement. I swear to you, I could live in that store. They have everything from camping, running, to casual wear. It’s awesome! These slippers were on sale for like $20 and I grabbed them as fast as possible. While they’re not a requirement for camping to me they’re the next best thing to wearing house slippers around a campsite.  Not only are they warm and soft but they’re durable. I wear them around the fire, getting to and from the bathroom and when I need to relax. Often times people just bring flip flops and their hiking shoes, I never leave home without these bad boys.

2. Headlamps, night mask, ear plugs, Tylenol PM

Only these guys can go hand and hand. They’re actually stored in a little baggie that I have in our camping gear.

The girliest but most awesome headlamp.

I’m actually slightly surprised that Jonathan didn’t think about this after years of  camping, but as I was crossing through Sports Basement I knew this would come in handy in the late night. Fortunately it does, so going to the bathroom, making dinner and getting into your  tent is pretty easy. I picked this bad boy because it’s one of the cheapest and actually comes in handy when I’m running at night. Pretty light weight and of course I can resist anything that looks girlie.

The buck eye mask that keeps out the world.

I actually use this little guy when Jon is working late at night. I usually leave the light on for him so when he gets home around 1am, he’s not wandering around the house in the dark.  There’s nothing more annoying to me then waking up in the morning with the sun blaring in your face and you look at the clock and realize that it’s just 8am. Yes, that can be one of the great things about camping but usually I can’t handle. I can’t handle it even if I get 10 hours of sleep without a cat jumping on me wanting to play with him at 3 in the morning. Plus, this thing comes in handy when flying and it can easily hide your eyes from those annoying overhead lights that the flight crew turns on right before you approach landing. It’s cheap, get it.

earplugs

And of course there are ear plugs and Tylenol PM. I believe that they go hand and hand. They both get you go to sleep after a long day of hiking and thinking that zombies are going to attack you in the dark. Who am I kidding? I’m not scared of zombies, I’m terrified of mountain lions and bears and living through a horror movie. But zombies that’s .. just… silly. Yeah… ok.

3. A good freaking tent

This is our tent and I love it more then ice cream.

My second home, my tent.

I think it’s because the first tent I ever slept in looked something out of the 1800s Gold Rush, hence my wanting to sleep every night in a public bathroom, no wonder I was cold. When Jon needed a new one he decided to invest in something that can handle the extreme weather and was roomy enough to house the two of us and all our stuff in it. It totally stands up to the challenge and when we bought it, the Sports Basement crew showed us how simple it is to put it together. We were so confident with our tent building skills that the first night we put it together it took about 45 minutes. Ok, so we were a little too confident in our skills and in the end we paid for it. But now we are masters at tent building and tearing down. I swear I can get this bad boy up and running on my own in about 13 minutes. Yeah, I need the extra 3 minutes to remember that I don’t need to tie the rain guard to the poles just at the base. The great thing about the rain flap extension is that it allows me access to see the outside world but not engage with it until I’m good and ready. I’ll usually open one side turn on a burner and make some coffee before I decide to head out and start making breakfast or speak with other people.

4. Nalgene Wide Mouth Cantene 48 Oz

A handly liquid holder

Ok, so the most normal person would say, “that’s smart! A container that you can roll up and fill with water. That must come in handy.” And I would agree with you, normal person, but in this case I use it for a different motive. I use it for wine.

See one of my favorite things to do is watching the sunset with either friends or a good book and enjoying a glass of wine. Camping is no excuse to not have that. Since we are in the outdoors, I’m afraid of bringing glass with me since it can not only shatter and hurt someone but then you would have no vino to enjoy on the trip and that can be heartbreaking. So instead I pour my wine into this guy which also helps me see how much is left and allows me to conserve. I got a bigger bag since it could hold two bottles (don’t judge me) and I have enough to share with others (if they’re lucky).

So that’s a rough idea of the gear that I can’t live without when camping. Yes, they’re not essential to everyone but they are to me. Are you a big camper? Is there something that you can’t live without not matter what?

Hope you have a great weekend. I think I’ll be laying low the next few days since we’re out of of two next weekend to celebrate one year of marital torture bliss. 🙂

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