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Camping by Design

Camping by Design
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Synopsis: Just because you're going camping, it doesn't mean you can't have a bit of flair while you're 'roughing' it. Check out our tips and tricks for our favorite camping hacks and how we personalized some of our gear to be a bit different.
Camping by Design
It's the season where thoughts turn to spending time outdoors. I will admit I haven't been camping for at least a decade, and with our camper days behind us, its been years since I've slept in a tent. However the idea of a family camping trip came up and I rolled up my sleeves and my pocketbook and found ways to make our lives a bit better than camping trips of yore. (Sources can be found on page 2).
Designer Details:
Camping DIY Rug:
We needed a rug for the tent, and I had a leftover rug pad and decided to use it instead. A few decals for stenciling, a touch of Gorilla tape as a border and we had a rug that was cheap, lightweight, durable, and cute. The fact that dirt falls through it and that it cleans up with a bit of soap and a broom and it makes it even better. 
Happy campers

I have decided my favorite blanket of all time is the Puffy Pyro Fade Throw from Rumpl. It proudly displays my favorite gradient that I use in Photoshop. I sublimated a couple of pillowcases to match the blanket and loved the look. My husband responded by simply rolling his eyes (but he did like the pillows, and they pack down into their own stuff sacks for convenience). 
Making the most of the Biolite Stove:
I did splurge and bought a few items for this trip. The one my husband approved of was the Biolite Stove bundle. I added a couple of decals for flair, because why not? We cooked up a feast using this little wonder of a stove and couldn't be happier:
Corn in the Kettlepot while taco meat is cooked in the pot
Grilled chicken thighs with risotto: (don't forget the Parmesan like I did!). I cooked the rice in the Kettlepot and it came out amazingly creamy. I pre-measured the rice at home and cooked 1/2 cup to 2 cups of water (with a bit of bouillon since I didn't have stock)
Walking tacos: This one is all over Pinterest and is easy to recreate. I used a meatless taco mis which our family loves (really, you won't miss messing with ground beef for tacos ever again!). We boiled water in the Kettlepot, added the mix with a bit of oil, and let it simmer for a few minutes. Let people add their own fixings to their personal sized bag of Doritos and you have a fun meal that is easy to clean up. 
Chicken and waffles: Take your average waffle cone, add a nice scoop of instant mashed potatoes (Idahoan is the best, and not just because I lived in Boise for most of my life!), top with a serving of precooked popcorn chicken (heat in the pot on the stove) and drizzle with a bit of maple syrup. Hand it off to an admiring camper an bask in their appreciation. 
Hash and eggs: I picked up a tiny frying pan and 1 1/2 quart enamel pot at World Market that fits the grill perfectly. Using the grill we fried eggs and cooked up the hash for a tasty breakfast that was hot and satisfying. Since hash was the only canned item we brought, I skipped packing the can opener and simply dumped the hash in a Ziploc and stuck it in the cooler before we left. 
Mexican street corn: boil a couple of ears of corn in the Kettlepot, then slather with some mayo and sour cream and finish with a bit of cilantro. 
Kielbasa with pepper jelly: jalapeno pepper jelly is a bit sweet, a bit hot, and a perfect accompaniment to some kielbasa either cooked kebab style on the grill or seared in a pan. Hand everyone a fondue fork to taste the meaty goodness or let them figure it out since they will have all been discussing their various knives, and leatherman tools for a while already. 
Sausage and cheese kebabs over grits: Ok, this one was a bit out of the box. I used cooked sausage links and grilling cheese that I cubed before we left home. I threaded them on the skewers and put them on the grill while the water for the grits started to boil. Some liked their kebabs with a bit of maple syrup, and others liked them plain. Either way, they were a big hit because they are so different from the usual campfire breakfast fare. 
Sausage skewers with grits simmering
Since everyone is looking for camping hacks, here are a few that I've picked up:
  • Use a purse hanger to hold a small bag for trash from the picnic table
  • Waffle cones are great for holding kids snacks (and they're delicious)
  • Use cruise bags (designed hold liquid in luggage to take on cruises) to contain your liquids. We had butter (ghee), balsamic vinegar, and olive oil in ours (plus a few with actual booze--we had to test these after all)
  • Use a battery operated mini milk frother to give your coffee a boost in the morning. I used powdered creamer and simply whipped it right in my coffee for some creamy goodness). Also useful for mixing light mixes or batters or to whip up a batch of fluffy scrambled eggs
  • Use one of our chizlers for a both a pot scraper and as a spoon rest while you cook--you're welcome!
  • Solar powered led lanterns were affordable and surprisingly bright
  • I loved using the Helio Shower to rinse dishes and the water got fairly warm in the sun during the day. This is now a camping staple for me and I can't wait to use it for an actual shower 
  • The Biolite coffee press is great for coffee, but it also works for loose leaf tea. Simply reverse the operation by starting with the plunger at the bottom of the pot of hot water, put in the tea, wait the right amount of time, and pull the plunger out with the loose leaf tea in it. You don't have to worry about your tea continuing to brew in the bottom of the pot and getting too strong. 
  • One air mattress is great, but two side by side make a king sized bed and you don't disturb each other when you roll over at night. 
  • Charge up your gizmos using the Biolite stove (Kindle, iPad mini, iPhones--all were tested and worked for charging), but avoid a lot of hassle and put your devices in airplane mode so you don't have to worry about having a dead phone when you need it. 
  • Smartwool socks (or a similar equivalent) are amazing and look good while keeping your toasty. Don't forget to keep a pair of sacred socks in your provisions for sleeping--and only for sleeping (clean socks are a bit of heaven when camping)
  • Wool is not just for your feet. Get some wool shirts (Icebreakers, etc.) when you find them on sale as they are pricey but worth it. They clean up easily, dry lightning fast, and keep you a happy camper as they help regulate your body temperature. 
  • DIY TP holder: remove the core from a roll of TP and stuff the roll into a Ziploc bag and start the roll by pulling from the center. It's easy to zip closed and keep dry, and the TP dispenses similar to Kleenex. 
  • Silicone 'wine' glasses work for hot liquids like coffee or tea and are lightweight and easy to pack. We've used them for a lot of travel adventures 
  • When you're prepping your food for the trip, plan and prep a meal that is ready to go when you get home. You'll be tired and dirty and won't want to make an elaborate meal when you arrive, but if you have something that is quick and easy ready to go you're post camping self will be thankful. 

Camping doesn't mean roughing it...

Decals are great for boat numbers and personalization
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About the Author

Morgan Battisti

IT analyst turned business owner, Morgan is the creative director at Trading Phrases--making walls beautiful one design at a time.


Phone:    800-615-6473

Text:        614-500-4189

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