After deciding you will take the plunge and get out there, the fun “work” starts with the planning. The things you need to focus on here include how to keep it simple, Food, Bedding, and Packing. This is important to the entire process because I am breaking down the things that seem overwhelming, but don’t have to be. In the end, I’m not trying to convince you to venture miles off Forest Road 300 and dock in the middle of nowhere. Chances are you’ll be near basic civilization and will be able to purchase that toilet paper you forgot.
The First Thing we you need to focus on is how to keep it simple!
Here’s where I’m coming from: Up until 2013 I was an avid endurance runner. I ran and trained for races over the standard marathon: 50-kilometer, 50-miles, multi-day, and 100-mile events. This lifestyle absorbed my every waking moment. The night before each race, usually in a hotel room or in a tent, I would pore over my gear to ensure I had everything. When I tell you everything, I meant a lot of stuff: the right food, cold weather gear, hydration equipment, logistics at aid stations, extra socks, extra shoes, extra clothing, medication, the list seemed endless! In the end, I’d cave and realize all I needed was appropriate clothing and my specialized food to get me through. I knew the rest would be all right. I knew if I lacked a jacket, another runner or spectator would give me theirs. I knew if I needed an extra energy gel, I could get one. I knew if I started to cramp, I’d get help; and so on.
The same is true with modern camping. Plan your food, plan your gear, pack it, and the rest will be okay. Venturing off the beaten path is not quite like the days of yesteryear. You’re not in a wagon train on the Santa Fe Trail. You’ll be on a highway and passing through communities, towns, and cities. Many times I’ve had to pick up that last minute item at the grocery store or Dollar Store…it’s okay!
With our Sonoran Trails Jeep Camper Rental, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found brand new jackets and sweaters in the roof top tent. Clients got a little chilly and purchased an inexpensive item to get them through! Keep it simple!
Okay…you’ve breathed a sigh of relief! Now that we’re on board with keeping it simple, we’ll focus on Food.
This can seem like a sticky subject. Some folks like to cook, like me! I LOVE meal prep and cooking. My business partners in Sonoran Trails roll their eyes when I tell them we need to arrive at any location by 4pm so I can get going on the cooking. “Josh, we have leftovers from last night!” Chris will lament. Heck, I even like washing the dishes out there! I can’t help it! To me, it’s a huge part of my experience. For others, however, they’d rather lick a cheese grater than perform these tasks, and I get it. In the end, you will need to decide what YOU want to do.
For those that are like me, don’t fret! Packing for this piece can still be simple. Breakfast, lunch, and supper (Again, I’m from the south – I’ve never eaten “dinner”), and snacks.
Breakfast – My staples are bagels/cream cheese, carton of pre-cracked eggs (I never bring eggs to crack), tortillas, breakfast bars, and breakfast meats. If you’re with a group, dole out different meals. Jeff Sharp, the Sonoran Trails marketing guru, usually gets breakfast as he struggles with boiling water. Before we connected with him he was the freeze-dried king and despite having plenty of storage in his four door Jeep, he still used a small Jetboil for all of his cooking.
Lunch – To cook or not to cook…that is the question! Lunch meat and cheese between a couple pieces of bread go a long way! I also have stirred up the sloppy Joes – brown the meat and add the can of mix. Keep it simple!
Supper – Well, like I said, I like to cook and this is the time of day I love! I’ve begun “trying” to master the Dutch Oven and it’s made things easy and fun. I won’t go into everything you can do here but suffice to say, the options are limitless.
For all of this you will need a stove and fuel. I’ve been cooking on an old, 2-burner Coleman stove for 20 years. I don’t fiddle with the special fuels needed, but instead rely on the 1# propane fuel bottles. I’m still not a fan of the BBQ grill slashed down in the back of the truck. I’ve yet to need one of these, but instead use a grate/grill combo set up I purchased at www.frontrunneroutfitters.com. We always have a fire going. Place this cool gadget atop your coals and voila’, cooking at its finest.
If you’re still not into the cooking/cleaning regimen, continue with the idea of keeping it simple…there are always freeze-dried meals!