Hey guys! I’m back from my trip and I’ve learned so much.
I got back looking a little rough, but nothing a hot shower and a weed whacker couldn’t fix.
After a month on the road I have some real gems to share with you.
- Buy Birkenstocks, specifically the plastic ones. No one will want to have sex with you, but you will have a pair of shoes ideally suited for camping. Comfortable, impervious to dust, water, and pee (things happen) with an easy on and off. Crocs would probably work as well, but you may not want to give up sex permanently.
- Always take your pants off to write. My bad! Wrong set of tips.
- Buy and use an actual paper map with elevations. Reliable cell service is an East Coast thing. Plus, google maps can and will route you right through the middle of a crazy-steep mountain range. You will climb 9,000 ft all the while wondering if you calculated the load properly on your camper/car combo, and if you can convince your kid to run alongside. You may have to pull over occasionally to calm the fuck down.
- Read the god-damn manual! It’s going to happen anyway, best not to have to sit in a park reading your car manual to find out if it can do what you’ve already signed it up for.
- NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR FEAR OF HEIGHTS. Not google maps, nor the nice park ranger who suggests a gorgeous hike that takes you on a path so narrow and steep you have to fight an overwhelming urge to hug the canyon walls as you inch your way down. You might also find yourself entirely alone on this path wishing you had brushed up on your knowledge of snakes in the West. This has nothing to do with heights, but those two things will happen at the same time. Ask ahead about the steepness, or don’t, and be fine anyway.
- Don’t pack glass jars with lids. One by one they will come loose over the bumpy, mountain roads necessitating cleaning every single bag, cooler, and storage device. Sometimes, twice. You might get so fed up that you just put up with the whole car smelling like hot sauce for two-thousand miles.
- While you are at it skip the French lentils, two different kinds of mustard, turmeric, ghee and pea milk. Your diet is going to devolve into fried banana and almond butter sandwiches anyway. If you were planning on eating clean and dropping a few pounds on this trip, LOL, no. You might also find a stellar taco joint inside a gas station. Then, forget about it, you can be skinny next year. Pro tip 👉 The key to these delicious sandwiches is to fry the bread and banana in so much butter that if anyone observed the process both of you would be embarrassed.
- Wake up early and get going. The best hikes/views/light are found before noon. Then it’s lunch and siesta time. I’m always amazed by people who head out in the heat of the day, even livestock know to find some afternoon shade. About 5p you eat dinner, head out for a sunset hike, read and bed. This happens to be the formula for a happy life.
- Be nice to everyone. Nicer than you have been in the entirety of your life. You will need help and be forced to ask total strangers for it. If you happen to be a person who has been awful about asking for help even when you desperately needed it, camping is exactly what you need to be doing with your life.
That concludes my marginally useful, middle-aged woman gone wild camping tips. On to the next adventure!
“Tacos are like what the voices of a hundred angels singing Bob Dylan while sitting on rainbows and playing banjos would taste like if that sound were edible.”
― Isabel Quintero