Ahhh, the sweet scent of summer is upon us! The air is fragrant with flowers, cruiser bike gangs are converging on every corner and weekend missions are being planned with the passion & precision of a NASA launch. One activity that's synonymous with the season is the group camping trip. No matter your style of camping, from a relaxing journey into nature (with canoes, hikes and tents) to a full-on party (complete with BBQs, high-fives and cannonball competitions), there are essential components to take your voyage from lame to ‘best weekend of my LIFE!” status.
miraculously versatile sweater
– we all have that one sweater that goes with everything – and you need to be prepared. What happens if your campsite just so happens to sit next to a Dirty Dancing-esque resort and you all decide to crash the party? It’s always smart to have a go-to piece.
one more bikini than you think you’ll need
– Okay, so you probably won’t wear it. But swimsuits take negative space in your backpack and you can never have too many options for swimwear. While you’re at it – toss in another pair of undies (pssst, our undies are really awesome, guides honor – no muffin top!!!)
an extra air mattress for the lake
– Someone is inevitably going to forget theirs and if you save their day, you’ll enter hero status. To rocket into the camping god stratosphere, bring an inflatable party raft. Sure, it sounds tacky – until you’re having the best afternoon of your life. Schwing!
the perfect beach blanket
– Okay friends, be strategic when it comes to picking your blanket, whether it's for sand, grass, or some other miscellaneous surface (hey, I'm not a judge-y camper). Mexican blankets are fabulous; thick enough to not feel sticks and rocks and beautiful enough to add a little boho vibe. Straw mats are also a chic and practical choice. Just don't make one of two classic blanket mistakes: using a too-small towel as your blanket or the ultimate cardinal sin of blanket behavior, bringing your childhood blankie. You might think it's sweet, but lying on your mothball-scented Strawberry Shortcake comforter isn't as cute & ironic as you think.
– One of the best ways to soak in the beauty of your camping spot is doing sunrise yoga. Just imagine - gazing out from the familiar home of upward dog at the stunning sight of the sun rising into the sky, followed by a deep, full breath of fresh air. I'm feeling serene just writing this! Bonus: the mat doubles as a comfy seat for you and a friend to sit and eat lunch on! Multitasking is so hot right now.
disposable underwater camera
– maybe it’s just me, but underwater photos are still novel and exciting. Plus, you can’t take a billion ‘re-do’ photos with an old-fashioned throwaway, therefore achieving authentic, in-the moment photos - a rarity these days in the world of pose downs and hipster mobile downloads.
playing cards & crib board
– You may never need them, but should the weather turn gnarly you’ll be happy you threw these in your bag.
– Going surfing on your vacay? If you’ve been before, you’ll know – a rashguard is a must to prevent, yup, you guessed it, a rash. Is it just me or are we getting smart up in here?
– The wilderness is one of the few places where being a luddite is still awesome. Get yourself some speakers for your iPod or better yet, a ghetto blaster. You’ll be the de facto party station for the rest of the weekend
new sweet tunes
– Sunshine + good tunes = camping nirvana. Bring a ghetto blaster (see above) coupled with great music and you've got a new soundtrack for your life. On that note, see below my favorite songs for mellow summertime hangin'.
"World’s Got A Handle" – Sun Wizard
This might be the new greatest road trip song of all time.
"The Birds" – Serenades
The Swedes do it again – this new Scandinavian group just released an album full of ethereal, catchy beats.
"Young Blood" – The Naked & Famous
This song sounds like skinny-dipping…if that is even possible.
"Pumped Up Kicks" – Foster the People
The hottest track around right now. These dudes sound awesome and look like Jack Johnson’s hot little brothers.
"2 Hearts" – Digitalism
Check out this new song from the most underrated posse out of Australia. Warning: not for the casual camping trip.
"Lizstomania" – Edwin Van Cleef (featuring Jane Hurley)
This clever cover of Phoenix’s monster hit will have you basking in the late afternoon sunshine, praying for the moment to never end.
"Towers" – Bon Iver
Just when you thought it couldn’t be done…Bon Iver goes and releases an even better album. Perfect for late night marshmallow roasts and friendships.
Alright, now pack up the car and get out there! I’ll be the one with the burned veggie dog humming Bob Seger.