Making The Most Of A Short Trip

As many of you know, I recently traveled to Canada on a week long family trip in Whistler, B.C.! My boyfriend and I flew into Vancouver a day early mostly for practicality sake, but also to see the city a bit and explore before meeting up with the rest of my family in Whistler. Although we were only there for a short 24 hours I thought I would share with you how to make the most out of a short trip like this, the planning that I do beforehand, and how to find the best spots in a short amount of time!

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-> First things first, I always suggest planning around the time you have. Be realistic in your expectations and time constraints for your trip. If you want to go see a certain spot and it is not within a 30 min drive/walking distance, venturing further out will cut into your limited time. My plan for Vancouver was to do everything we could within walking distance of our AirBnb or a short taxi ride.

-> Do your research of the area! I found a few areas close by us in the city that I wanted to see. We were staying close to Stanley Park and I knew I wanted to walk around it and explore. I also knew I wanted to walk around English Bay Beach at sunset for the views and the music!

-> I also suggest looking at a few restaurants before you go for easy meal choices. If you are limited on time, having a set dinner reservation allows you to plan around the meal and also limits the dreaded conversation of “what should we eat tonight?” My suggestion for food is to be adventurous! Try new things, go to local spots not chain restaurants, and try things on the menu outside of your comfort zone.

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I know a lot of this is self-explanatory but I always suggest planning ahead and having a short list of things you want to do!

I couldn’t recommend Vancouver more and I definitely will be going back for a longer trip next time! The city is beautiful, the people were so nice, and the weather is perfect!We have so much left to explore and see.

Food tip: We had brunch at The Teahouse in Stanley Park and it was some of the best food and coffee that we ever had, everyone should go there!!

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GEAR REVIEW

North Face Storm Break 3 – Tent Review

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8/10 Would recommend this tent, now let me tell you why-

And believe me!

This tent has seen a lot!!

 

This particular tent has been through snow, rain, freezing temperatures, warmer than usual days, high winds, and all the in-between while camping!

Never once have we seen a zipper or seam leak any water and it has always served us well in rain! I would also say that this tent is very spacious for two people (three would be a tight fit but still possible in a bind)!

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North Face Stormbreak 3 Tent! You can see a vestibule that is folded to the side and the large mesh side doors!

Features we love:

  • This tent has two VERY good sized vestibules (vestibules = a fancy word for basically a mudroom that extends outside of your tent to store gear, shoes, and even backpacks when it’s not raining).
  • It is sooooo easy to pitch this tent. Takes us 3 mins probably and that is great for when you are in awful weather and just for ease!
  •  It’s a backpacking tent and is very compact!
  • This is a 3 season tent and has never leaked in multiple storms, it has with stood winter weather of below 20 degrees, 20-45 mph wind gusts, and you can stay cozy inside while all this incliment weather is happening.
  • We love the gear storage canopy on top, as well as, the pockets on the sides for even more organization.
  • The price point! For an entry-mid level tent this is a great value! We don’t plan on purchasing another tent of this size any time soon!

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Features we would change:

  • The stakes the tent came with lasted one trip and that is all! So I recommend purchasing some higher quality stakes before your trip!
  • Some small condensation during colder nights pools at the top of the rainfly and can/does drip on you occasionally in the morning hours.
  • A lot of people have said that it is too cramped for 3 people, I will second that like I said above. It would be difficult and probably a tight squeeze but possible doable with 3 smaller people.

 

Overall, I did a ton of research on tents before I decided this was the one for us! Of course it might not work for everyone. I recommend taking what I said into consideration and taking the time to look at what is right for you!

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My first night in the tent, freezing rain all nigh long, but we survived!

Happy Camping!

MY COMPLETE CAR CAMPING PACKING LIST

 

Hello fellow adventurers!

I’m writing this at 8am central time! Will and I are on our way to meet up with friends and family in Colorado for a long weekend of camping. We are currently listening to Bertha’s Road Songs on Spotify (everyone seriously needs to checkout this road tripping playlist made by Brainna Madia for some amazing 35 hour+ tunes). We are heading out on our first camping trip of the year. I am beyond thrilled to be going to Colorado when most of the campgrounds are just opening this weekend! I figured I would share with you a comprehensive list of whats in my car right now, some of my favorite gear, and must have items I would recommend you bring with you!

Now obviously you don’t have to take all of this gear with you. This is just what works for us and each time we find that it is evolving. You will always find yourself saying, “I wish I would have brought this or that”. That I why you make a note on your phone or write it down for easier packing next time!

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Here is my complete car camping gear list:
In and Around Camp-
  • Tent
  • Tarp: we use this instead of a tent footprint for under tent (for now).
  • Sleeping Bag(s)
  • Pillows
  • Blankets: A bunch of old blankets we don’t care about getting dirty, smelling like a campfire, and ideally don’t hold a lot of moisture.
  • Sleeping Pad(s)
  • Hammock
  • Camping Chairs : We have one found in the link by REI and another by Big Agnes.
  • Lamp : We LOVE this little lamp for inside the tent. It dims and is so compact!
  • Headlamps
  • Cooler(s): We are currently using a small Yeti Roadie cooler for drinks and a very old and beat up large Coleman Cooler for Food. Similar found here.
  • Rubber Mallet: for staking down tent, without damaging stakes.
  • Multi-tool or knife.
  • Axe
  • Daypack
  • Extra Batteries
  • Fire Stater
Kitchen Supplies –

My personal gear changes with the season and with what I am planning on cooking! Pick and choose what is important and necessary for yourself!

  • Heat-proof Cooking Utensils
  • Enameled Cooking Pots
  • Cast Iron Pan
  • Heavy Duty Tin Foil
  • Water Bottles / Ice Packs: for cooler
  • Heavy Duty Garbage Bags
  • Washing Bucket
  • Biodegradable Dish Soap
  • Microfiber Towels/ Old Rags
  • Fuel
  • Stove
  • Matches / Lighters
  • Grill Rack
  • Pot Graber
  • Enameled coffee cups
  • Plastic Bowls / Plates / Silverware
  • Gallon Storage Bags
  • Large Plastic Mixing Bowl
  • Utensils : Pairing Knife, Large Knife, Metal Spatula, Whisk, Cutting Board
  • Sponge
  • Food: I plan on doing a detailed camping food blog post very soon!
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Clothing and Footwear –

If cold nights are possible come prepared!

  • Rain Jacket
  • Quick-dry long sleeves and t-shirts
  • Quick-dry pants or shorts.
  • Long underwear layers: I have a few different brands. I always look at the material and the weight of the fabric (usually sticking to mid-weight pants and shirts).
  • Heavy sweatshirts: Patagonia makes my favorite. I have this version and this version.
  • Socks: Merino wool socks are best. I always bring double the socks per the days to be able to change pairs after a hike or if it is raining!
  • Sleepwear
  • Underwear
  • Insulated Jacket/ Vest : They don’t make my jacket anymore but this one is similar.
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Scarves/ Neck-warmers
  • Hats / Bandanas
  • Sandals : Chaco’s are great for around camp, in the rain, and even on short hikes.
  • Boots : These boots are great in rain, snow, and cooler temperatures.
  • Hiking Shoes: similar here.
  • Packing Cubes: Great for keeping all these items organized. I use these and these by Eagle Creek!
Personal Items –
  • Toiletry Bag:  So everything we need in the mornings is located in one spot. Plus- I love that it has a small mirror (it’s the little things).
  • Lip Balm
  • Sunscreen
  • Face Moisturizer
  • Face Wash
  • Cosmetics
  • Prescription Medications
  • Brush/Comb
  • Baby Wipes: On day 4 of a camping trip nothing is better than a baby wipe bath!
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Anti-Bacterial Wipes
  • Toilet Paper
  • First Aid Kit
  • Sunglasses
  • Glasses

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Other Items To Bring –
  • Camera and Lenses
  • Camera Batteries
  • SD Cards
  • Tripod
  • Charger
  • Power Bank: I bring 4, all for charging my camera and multiple phones.
  • Bungee Cords and extra ropes: to tie down tent
  • Rope with carabiners
  • Bug Spray
  • Citronella Candle
  • Cards
  • Books
  • Portable Speaker
  • Cell Phone and Charger

What are some of your essentials you bring with you on your camping adventures?! Happy Camping!

 

PIN THIS!

 

HOW TO PLAN FOR A CAMPING TRIP

So you’re planning for a camping trip? If you’re anything like me you have a desire to get outdoors, but the planning can seem a bit overwhelming. Camping shouldn’t be stressful. What I have learned over time is that planning gets easier and easier the more you go and the more experiences you have. It’s a great way to get outside, disconnect, and spend time with friends and family. Here are a few way I approach planning for a camping trip!

Decide Where to Go

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Picking the ideal campsite for what you are looking for is very important, some research on different campsites will help this be a smooth process.

There are so many sites to choose from it can become overwhelming when looking, I always start by picking the general location that I am looking for and use filters on sites like Reserve AmericaRecreation.gov, and the Outdoor Project  to help narrow down the campsite list. These websites are great for reviewing campgrounds, taking a look at campsite photos, and allow you to reserve the sites by one way or another.

You will also want to consider the amenities. For some, camping means being “one with nature” and for others this means still having access to bathrooms, running water, and even electricity. Consider what the campground has to offer. “Primitive” camping is a great experience, but it is not for everyone. Researching what the site has to offer will pay off in the long run, trust me.

Are you going to be camping in a tent, a car, an RV? Certain sites cater to one or the other better. Look to see if there are tent only sites, walk-up sites mean you will have to park your car and walk or sometimes even hike to the site. Likewise some have all the amenities and hookups necessary for campers but are too large for tent only. Campgrounds are a great place for novice campers and those who do not like to rough it all time to still experience what camping is all about.

Gather the Gear

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This is the North Face Stormbreak 3 tent found here on REI.

The night before, lay everything out, get organized

Make a list of all the items you think you’ll need. Lay it all out on the floor if you need to. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway to your campground and saying “I think we forgot…”. Remember the closest store is not right down the street and always plan for the unexpected. Bad weather can happen at any time, getting caught in freezing rain, without a fire starter, your first night at the campground is never something you will want to go through. Take it from experience. Eliminate the stress and plan ahead.

Here is a list of a few bare minimal items for your next camping trip…

  1. Tent
  2. Sleeping Bag
  3. Sleeping Pad
  4. Food for each day you’re camping
  5. Water (water bottles, jugs, water purification)
  6. Multi-tool and/or knife
  7. Any cooking equipment
  8. Head lamp and/or flashlight
  9. Day pack/ backpack
  10. Fire starter (i.e; matches, lighter, commercial fire starter)
  11. First Aid Kit
  12. Black trash Bags
  13. Clothing
  14. Rainwear
  15. Hiking boots
  16. Sunglasses
  17. Sunscreen
  18. Hand sanitizer
  19. Essential toiletries
  20. Toilet paper

*** Key tip: If you are camping with friends share the responsibilities and the gear burden. Not everyone needs to bring the same items, sharing will help lighten the load!

Plan Your Meals

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Planning your meals in advance keeps the worry away. Nobody wants hotdogs for every meal (besides my boyfriend), but the key to finding and cooking healthy tasty meals around a campfire takes a bit of planning and juggling. Remember to limit the amount of bulky and heavy ingredients (especially if you are hiking to your campsite). I have cooked meals like tacos in a bag and Indian food all on a Coleman grill. If you have an idea and put the work into planning, it shouldn’t be a problem to cook meals you would make in your own home with a few minor adjustments.

Foil meals are a great option for beginner cooks at a campground. This article here has 21 great options for foil-wrapped meals!  If you are car camping with a portable grill and a cooler feel free to bring items to make those easy recipes from home! Save space by taking spices, meats and cheeses out of packages, and putting them in small plastic baggies. Pre-portion food into a bag so you can bring along only the amount you need.

All of this can seem like a lot, but if you take the time to plan your camping trip experiencing a few setbacks (like weather) won’t ruin a trip. Cold and rainy weather every day? A well planned warm meal will make everything so much better.

The most important thing is to remember your in nature… enjoy your trip! I know the second I leave a site I am already planning for the next adventure.

 

For a more detailed camping packing list check out this link here.

 

Don’t forget to comment below if you have any tricks for when you plan a camping trip!