It had been a little while since the last time I went camping, but recently Jasmine and I embarked on an adventure up California’s central coast to Big Sur. We spent 2 nights and 3 days there, before making our way down to the San Louis Obispo area to spend another few days on a small organic farm, booked with our friends at hipcamp.com. This journey was the perfect refresher. We learned and relearned so much about camping, each other, and ourselves. I’d like to share 5 tips to take with you on your next outdoor adventure.
Check out the other two posts part of this series recap of our camping trip:
- Vegan Camping: What to pack – sweetsimplevegan.com
- A detailed recap of what we did on our spring camping trip to Big Sur, CA and Sweet Pea Farm in Arroyo Grande, CA on HipCamp.com
1. DON’T OVER PACK
I know this is easier said than done, especially when you have enough room to bring everything you could want and more, but I can assure you, bringing just the essentials will make for the best possible experience. Also, it’s important to keep in mind how far your car will be from your actual campsite. We got lucky this time, as we were able to park right next to our sites, but I know this isn’t always the case. On one of our hikes through Andrew Molera State Park, we noticed there was a mile hike to the campsites from the parking lot, which means multiple trips to lug all of your belongings back and forth. Also, we were lucky enough to have these heavy duty backpacks from Mountain Smith, which made packing concise and simple. Being able to transport a bulk of our belongings with ease, was a huge advantage. Jasmine outlined a full list of everything we brought along. You can check it out on here blog here!
2. BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING
When camping, it’s always best to be prepared for whatever nature may bring your way. Whether it be rain, sleet, snow, extreme cold, or extreme heat, be ready for it. We didn’t do the best at this…we didn’t do the worst either, but I thought it would be helpful to share our mistakes so you can learn from them. We checked the weather before we left, however we didn’t quite realize how cold 50°F at night actually was. When the sun went down, and being in a tent, it got cold very quickly and stayed cold. I only brought one pair of sweatpants, a few long sleeve shirts, and a sweater, and a track jacket, neglecting to bring an actual coat. We did our best to keep warm, by doubling up on socks and putting all the layers on that we could, but it still remained a bit chilly.
Also, because it rained the first day, starting a fire that night presented itself as a bit of a challenge. We failed to bring proper supplies to start a fire, and the campsite we were staying prohibited collecting wood or kindling from the ground, so we had to resort to using paper scraps and cardboard to get the fire going. Granted, if it didn’t rain, we wouldn’t have had an issue, but bringing along some type of fire starter would’ve saved us a little time and energy.
3. GO WITH THE FLOW
This is also one of my life mottos, and one of the most important things I can ever stress to anybody. Some things in life are simply out of our control, so to go with the flow and make the most out of any situation, is key. While Jasmine and I were hiking along the California coast, we had our hearts set on one particular spot near Bixby Bridge to take some time, snap some photos, and have a picnic. However once we discovered the narrow dirt road along the side of a cliff we needed to travel down in order to get there, we quickly rethought our plan. We began searching for another place to picnic. Finally, when we found a spot on the beach, our plan was foiled once again due to the high wind. To make the most of the situation, we headed back to the car and set up a picnic in the trunk. We sat along the Pacific Coast Highway in between the beach and mountains, and as the sun faded, it ended up being the most perfect place to picnic, and it was right there for us all along.
4. SHARING IS CARING
Again, one of life’s greatest pieces of advice. This came in handy for us on our trip, as it does in almost all aspects of life. While we were sorting through some of the groceries we brought, we realized we purchased some bagels from Trader Joe’s that contained honey (my bad for not reading the label thoroughly). Instead of discarding them, or putting them aside to return once we got home, we decided to offer them to our neighbors at camp. When we walked over, explained to them our situation, and offered them the bagels, they were so thankful and accepted. Moments later, they came to our site bearing a bag of fruit filled with apples and oranges. It was a symbiotic exchange and everyone was happy 🙂
5. PLAN YOUR MEALS
This is important for so many reasons. Being vegan especially, it’s always important to plan your meals in this dark and mysterious world. A slight exaggeration obviously, but when camping you always want to bring as little as possible (see tip #1) to prevent over packing and letting things go to waste. Jasmine and I prepared some meals before we left, such as a Vegan Chia Chili, cooked some rice, and packed easy-to-make favorites. We had a general idea of everything we wanted to eat each day and brought along some snacks as well. You can see our camping menu + recipes here!
I hope these tips could offer some use, whether you are heading out on your first camping expedition, or are a seasoned veteran. If you have any tips to share, please leave them in the comments below! Safe travels !