Updated: Feb 17
Hi all! With the weather starting to warm up, Colton and I are at it again- planning camping trips for any weekend I'm not working at the hospital. I'm so excited to share with you some of the more unique items we have gotten in the habit of bringing with us on our adventures!
I'm starting to write this as Memorial Day Weekend comes to a close. The front of my arms and legs are radiating heat from a nasty sunburn, I'm freshly out of the shower after going without one for 2.5 days, and there's a few itchy spots on my skin still up for the infamous debate: mosquito bite or impending poison ivy.
In my opinion, there's nothing better.
The sunburn might hurt and I'll probably be too exhausted to finish this post tonight, but I feel so fulfilled by weekends like this. I am able to free my mind from everyday stressors and use my body for what I feel like is one of my continual callings: exploring! Add my husband and our two dogs to the mix and I'm in heaven.
We just got back from a weekend tent camping at Lake Milton. I'm lucky enough to have had a set of grandparents with property on the water. I have endless fond memories water skiing, fishing, and swimming here every summer of my childhood. It is a very important place to me because of all that, but even if the history wasn't a factor- it's a beautiful place to visit if you're looking for suggestions in Ohio! It's located just a short 35 minute drive east of Akron.
I'm really excited about the topic of this blog post because the items I'm going to talk about are all unique additions to Colton and I's camping "essentials". I grew up vacationing with my family from the luxury of a camper. While there's nothing wrong with that option, I like that tent camping seems like more of an accomplishment. A cool thing I've started to learn as we tent camp more often and as I've gotten into outdoor brand photography is that this way of camping doesn't always have to be "roughin' it." There have been lots of new inventions to make this way of enjoying the outdoors easier and I'm so excited to share with you some of our favorites!
Item Number One:
I'm not a coffee drinker, but to say Colton enjoys it would be a vast understatement. If the coffee isn't brewing in the morning, I know somethings wrong. He even loves hitting up Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts on our drives to a hiking destination- which wastes our precious nature time and can get expensive. Luckily, we found this pour-over coffee pot and have never looked back! Now he can have a freshly brewed cup in a matter of minutes.
It's packable, cheap, and super easy to use- even at home if you wanted! All you have to bring is your favorite ground coffee.
Here's how it works:
It comes with a reusable filter. Use the provided scoop to place ground coffee directly into the filter (I love that there's no waste when using this product!)
When you have hot water ready, pour it over the grounds and the coffee will begin to fill the bottom of the pot. Once all the water is filtered through there is a little insert that fits snugly into the middle of the pot. Instantly, the pot is now the perfect pitcher for the coffee and can be poured into a mug easily.
Check out these pictures of ours, I brewed Colton a cup myself to show the pot in action!
While this item can come in bigger sizes, I appreciate how tiny ours is. Since I don't drink coffee, it makes the perfect amount for Colton to start his day. Plus it doesn't take up much space, so bringing it tent camping has been a breeze!
Browse some pour-over coffee pots for yourself here: https://amzn.to/3eaRKb0
We bring a tea kettle along with us to easily have hot water for the coffee, instant oatmeal, and my morning tea. I really like ours because we just throw it directly in the fire pit and don't have to worry about it. Get yourself one here: https://amzn.to/2ZAA5Wb
Item Number Two:
Speaking of must-have drinks while camping- my beverage of choice is wine! Few things are better than sitting next to the campfire with a glass of moscato, watching the sun go down after a day of adventure. It's an ideal way to unwind.
Because wine is one of our go-to items to pack, I also know what is irritating about bringing it along over the years. My main complaint is trying to keep it cold! I'm very aware I am not well versed in the subject (I like my wine sweet, chilled, and under $15), but I cannot and refuse to understand people who choose to drink it warm! Gross! But because I prefer it chilled, it takes up precious cooler space which sometimes we can't afford.
This wine bottle and 2 glass set is double-walled and vacuum insulated. It's not a refrigerator and won't keep the wine cold for days on end, but it does the trick for our camping weekends! I have a hard time staying out of the wine, so lasting cold longer than a day or so isn't a big deal to me! LOL
Another one of my frustrations is the build up of empty glass bottles. I think because all our of trash is accumulating in one spot while camping, I am more aware of how much waste we're creating. While we do recycle at home, we pack so much adventure into our weekends, by the time we're cleaning up the campsite we don't always take the time to separate the recyclables from our trash bag. It's something I feel guilty about, but that's why I like to use this item. I fill up the Ozark bottle with its provided funnel and already have the original glass bottle in our recycling before we even hit the road!
Other Fun Facts:
-This Ozark set is BPA free!
BPA is an industrial chemical found commonly in food cans and water bottles. BPA containing products can seep into food and liquid, potentially causing health concerns. Some studies suggest a link between the chemical and increased blood pressure.
-Top-rack dishwasher safe
Washing dishes is the WORST chore. I would rather scrub our toilet. I love that I can throw this Ozark Trail set right into the dishwasher and not think twice!
Get your own here: https://amzn.to/3d4lCp8
Item Number Three:
While preparing for a weekend away, it is so easy to over pack. If you've read any of my previous blog posts about what to bring hiking, you know I relentlessly pack for any survival situation I can imagine. That is one of the reasons why I love this item- it takes up less space by serving two purposes- lantern and wireless speaker!
If you know me, you also know I am constantly playing music. I love finding that perfect artist to match the mood I'm in- when camping it's usually Ben Howard. If you don't know who he is, put on his song "Old Pine" while sitting around a campfire and thank me later. The combination creates the most magical and relaxing vibe- I never get tired of it! And thankfully I don't have to since this speaker plays for 12 hours on 1 full charge.
Colton and I actually registered for 2 of these lanterns as wedding gifts. We never thought anyone would purchase them for us, but I was so happy when we opened them up. While they are weather resistant, we've used them for indoor parties over the years too. The lantern lights don't have to be on for the music to play!
Get yours here: https://amzn.to/2XDIDsu
Item Number Four:
I definitely saved the best for last with Radiate Portable Campfire! Colton and I got it as a Christmas present last winter from his parents, but at the time I didn't really think much of it. This weekend was our first time trying it and actually the inspiration for this blog post. It is so stinking cool, I cannot wait to share the details with you!
A portable campfire is a topic of the future in my book. Just saying the words "portable" and "campfire" in the same sentence seems like an impossibility. Whoever created this little number has one creative head on their shoulders (Colton remembers it was shown on the tv show, Shark Tank). Now that we have tested ours out, I'm already buzzing with ideas on where else to take it. I'm itching to have a campfire on the beach somewhere!
No Smoke Smell
Made from recycled paper briquettes, soy wax, and infused with oils from eucalyptus, soybean, and lemon there is virtually no smoke smell to find its way into your clothes and hair. And as showering isn't always a priority or option during weekends away, that's a big plus. The company also advertises no embers are produced and I can vouch for that. It essentially reminded me of lighting and burning a giant candle.
*briquette: compressed block of coal dust or other combustible biomass material
Long Lasting Shelf Life
Camping aside, this product has a 30+ year shelf life making it a perfect product for disaster preparedness. I'm thinking about buying another to have on hand in our basement, just in case!
It has become basic knowledge that a lot of campgrounds and parks prohibit campers from bringing their own firewood. Bringing your own supply can risk spreading tree-killing insects and other harmful disease to the environment you're meant to enjoy. While campgrounds commonly supply firewood for purchase, it's usually expensive and doesn't burn for long.
The Radiate Portable Campfire solves both of these problems with ease!
I think this detail really takes the cake for me. It would be one thing if it was just portable, but the fact that it can be quickly smothered by the lid and reused again and again is just awesome. Each single fire is said to have 3-5 hours of burn time. We used it multiple hours for 2 separate nights this weekend and still think we can use it again!
Keep In Mind
-The campfire must be on a flat, stable surface while burning. The wax will melt, running to one side (and spilling over) if not on a level surface.
-To prevent burns, the container shouldn't be moved until all the melted wax has completely hardened!
Get your own here: https://amzn.to/2XEfVrJ
As always, no camping trip is complete without a reliable tent. Read my blog post, The Perfect Tent for You! to learn about the luxurious tent we have from Ayamaya Outdoor.
Well that's my list! I hope you found these items interesting and a great potential addition to your adventures coming up this summer! It'd love to hear all about them!
"Travel far enough to meet yourself" -David Mitchell