I know it may be hard for people who know me well to believe – it even surprises me – but I’ve come to really enjoy camping. (See last year’s blog post on camping here). It has become a beloved tradition to head to Santa Barbara just after Labor Day and spend some time in the great outdoors. This is not a “glamping” trip where you end the day with a nice hot shower and roll into a bed with a mattress, but a real roll up your sleeves, pitch a tent, and cook over the fire-type weekend. And for 48 hours I am happy to leave my cell phone at home and get my hands dirty.
The weekend revolves around lots of food and drink for the adults and the kids get freedom to run around and play. Without fail, after unpacking and setting up all of our gear, my designer eye kicks in and I begin wondering out loud why no one has made camping stuff that’s both functional and good looking. We’ve even joked about the idea of designing it ourselves. In preparation for this year’s trip, I’ve started looking to update some of our basics and it appears that some people have had similar ideas because more attractive options are popping up!
« THE CAMPING GEAR »
- LOUNGE – my kids are a little older now and I’m planning to get some “lounge” time on this year’s trip. In hopes that I do, I’m bringing this hammock (shown above) and I like this one too. We spend hours on the beach during the day. This great-looking chair (shown above) is portable and foldable so it won’t take up too much real-estate in the car. Here’s another similar option.
- DISHES – paper plates are wasteful so I am looking to invest in some hardy enamelware that’s as pretty as it is functional. I love these nesting bowls (shown above) from Barn Light Electric. This, this and this are good camping dishes as well.
- LINENS – Pendleton has been making beautiful blankets for more than 100 years. Their signature patterns say cozy cabin and now they’re putting their stamp on towels, this one (shown above) will be great for camping. This is the perfect beach blanket and I always bring a table cloth to cover up the dirty picnic tables. Substitute this cotton tablecloth for the standard plastic coated ones they sell at camping stores and throw it in the wash when you get home.
- SLEEPING BAGS & TENTS – a sleeping bag that you can actually wear on chilly nights by the fire? Genius! These have zippers on the sides for your arms and a hood to keep your head warm. This Poler two man tent in Brotanical Blue is pretty cute, hopefully a large family-size option will come out down the road. Also, combat a smelly tent with this cabin spray.
- LANTERN – when the sun goes down it gets dark and fast. My kids love wearing headlamps but this cute and compact traditional lantern (shown above) is more my speed. I love that it’s rechargeable and if your phone is running low you can plug it into the lantern’s built-in USB port!
- COOLER – the cooler is definitely my husband’s jurisdiction but this retro cooler by Coleman (shown above) passes the design test. The Yeti cooler in Ice Blue is also super functional and nice looking as well.
- FIRE – although my kids love scrounging around for twigs and kindling, this fire starter kit (shown above) is a good thing to have on board. In addition to gooey smores, we love cooking popcorn on the fire. This set is so much better than Jiffy Pop!
photo credit: Jenelle Ball