My Style of Camping
Last year, on the eve of June’s first camping trip, I was so excited for her. I kept saying “we are going to live outdoors for a few days”. Referring to camping as “living outdoors” feels right. I never connected with the idea of “roughing it” and “glamping” has a trendy sense to it, but “living outdoors” is more my style.
As a child growing up in Oregon, we spent weeks every year camping. Everyone in my family(except me) enjoyed hunting and fishing. But, I always loved any exposure to raw nature and if it meant fresh kill in the camp, so be it.
Last Child in the Woods
Fast forward to my modern, adult, city life and the pull of nature is even more intense. I, of course, love to hike and such. But, there really is nothing like staying multiple days outside in the elements.
When Caleb and I lived in Bend, we enjoyed hike-in camping. On a hot high desert summer night, without AC, we would load up our large backpacks, hiking poles, jet boil and some simple food stuff; along with a light tent, sleeping bags & mats and head to the high Cascades for the night. You can’t beat the beauty on those types of overnighters. But, even though the gear is simple, it’s still a great deal of effort for just a night.
Moving On Up
Upon moving to Portland we decided that we wanted to start car camping. We could stay longer, explore more areas of Oregon with a variety of people and really live outdoors. I decided to devote a Saturday in early spring to shopping garage and estate sales found on Craigslist, looking for a more extensive camp set-up than our hike in stuff. One estate sale proved to be the mother load. Apparently the recently deceased were Military Medical Personnel and enjoyed camping. I found almost a complete vintage camping set-up for under $60.00. It was a real score! Over the years we have added several key modern pieces to our set-up.
The Outdoor Lifestyle
What does live outdoors mean? It means, whatever activities you love to do, you do them in an open air environment. The past five years we have enjoyed the discovery of different hacks that allow us the best change of scene possible. Our camp sites tend to be a series of mini-environments that support relaxation, fun and gourmet meal prep in an environmentally conscious way.
It’s a good idea when camping with families including children to give special attention to a variety of activities that expend some energy and engage with the surrounding environment. Having things to do during active times and quieter times helps with the greater relaxation of the whole forrest. With June added to the mix, we’ve looked for ways to incorporate a baby in the camp.
Each year we aim to visit several areas around Oregon staying a minimum of three nights and up to a week. Food is important. And in an outdoor setting, it can be even more satisfying. A carefully thought out meal, prepped over a flame and shared along with the bounty of nature is memorable to all. Being gluten free and quality conscious, you won’t find a lot of packaged foods in our camp sites. Instead, we make hearty, traditional camp breakfast with excellent coffee and serious bloody mary’s. Simple, quick lunches that allow for maximum relaxation & activity time. And more complex group dinners cooked fireside with an emphasis on flavor. And of course, dessert!
This Is How We Do It
Over the years we have become pretty stellar at setting up a sweet outdoor living space with friends. At our last camp trip in 2016, my friend urged me to start a blog to share these tips/hacks and inspirations with others. This really was the push for Itsy Bitsy Beautiful to begin. I decided to set the posts up under categories within the camp sites: