Archive for August, 2011

Tent Trailer Packing List

John and I both grew up camping, and it’s still one of our favorite things to do. Some of the best, most relaxing times we’ve had together have been when we’ve gone out camping for a week or two. Until recently, we tent-camped. We would gather all of our camping gear, shoe-horn it into the back of John’s truck, head out, unpack everything, and then pack it all back up when we were ready to move to the next spot. It took hours and was a huge production. When we decided to buy our tent trailer a year and a half ago, the main reason was that it would make it easier to get out and go camping, because we could keep the trailer stocked with all of our camping gear. I admit that a comfier bed was a real bonus for me, too!

Having the trailer really has made it easier to head out on our camping adventures. We have pretty much everything we need in the trailer, and just have to pack food, clothes, drinks, and campfire stuff. Following the lead of John’s Mom, who uses an extensive array of lists to pack for her frequent trips, I made a packing list of everything we stock in the trailer. Here’s the basic layout of our tent trailer (click to enlarge):

Trailer Packing List
I’m including a few Amazon links so you know what I’m talking about, but they aren’t affiliate links.*

Entry Cabinet
Small Level (To level the trailer when we set up.)
Spare Batteries
Baby Wipes
Shop Towels
Whisk Broom
Trailer Hitch and Lock
Shims (Also to level the trailer, if needed.)

Cookware Box
We love to cook good food when we camp. We almost never cook camping classics like burgers and hot dogs, though.
Pasta Pot and Lid
Skillet and Lid
Set of 3 Nested Pots/Lids (My old backpacking set, this brand.)
Small Mixing Bowl
Silicone Measuring Cup
6 Plates
6 Bowls
6 Glasses
1 Mug (For me. John doesn’t drink hot beverages.)
2 Wooden Spoons
Pasta Scoop
2 Skewers
Chef’s Knife
Cutting Board
Paper Plates and Bowls
Extension Cord (We keep this by the cookware box for the rare cases when we have hookups.)

Dish Pan and Drain
These go on the floor, and we keep stuff in them.
Place Mats
Dish Towel
Straw Trivet
Dr. Bronner’s Soap
Spray Cleaner
SPF 15 Lotion (Multipurpose!)

Bedding #1
For our bed.
Towels and Washcloths
Comforter and Cover
Spare Blanket
Indian Bedspread (This is my all-time favorite hot weather bedding. It’s very loosely-woven cotton. So light and cool.)

Trash Can

Can Opener
Bottle/Wine Opener
Pot Gripper (For backpacking pots/pans.)
A Variety of Knives
Clothespins (To hang clothes/towels on the awning, and to close the curtains fully.)
Lantern Mantels (We don’t take our lantern very often, but we stock these in case we do.)

Trash Bags
Rubber Gloves
Playing Cards

First Aid Kit
Bug Repellent
Duct Tape
Shout Wipes (I think I’m going to take these out, though, so I can take them to work, where I actually care if I spill.)
Tick Removal Kit

Sink Cabinet
Fresh and Waste Water Hoses (For the rare cases when we have hookups.)
A Couple of Small Propane Cans
Coleman Adapter Hose (So we can hook our camp stove to a 20# propane tank. Much more practical.)

Small American Flag (I’m not “rah-rah” patriotic, but camping makes me happy to have the freedoms I so often take for granted. John’s not sold on this, even though his Mom gave it to us, haha!)

Bedding #2
Our Pillows.
2nd Set of Sheets/Towels/Washcloths (Guests bring their own pillows and blankets/covers.)

Floor Storage #1
Right in front of the door, so we can access it when the trailer is down.
Crank (To raise the tent trailer.)

Floor Storage #2
Food Bin (Someday, I’ll write another post on our favorite camping foods. We’re particular!)
Coleman Camp Stove (We don’t take the stove that came with our trailer because it’s too small.)

That’s it! We definitely don’t pack light…after all, we’re on vacation and we’re car-camping in a trailer. We are all about the comfort! Any other campers out there? Do you backpack, tent camp, trailer, RV, or any and all? Inquiring minds want to know! And please share any good camping areas that are drivable from Northern California!

*Although California residents are no longer eligible to be Amazon Associates, I’ve never been one. I don’t run ads, and I don’t have any desire to “monetize” this blog. Just me and whatever I feel like writing about.

Thoughts on Consumption

I think a lot about consumption. Not the disease, but the act of consuming stuff. I’m not an ascetic by any means; I’m not even a minimalist. I just try to avoid buying things that I don’t “need,” which also means that I try to avoid wanting things that I don’t need. That’s challenging for me. I feel like our culture is so driven by consumption, the idea that you need something newer and better (or even just different) from what you already have. I find this problematic because of the insane amount of crap that gets made to feed our insatiable appetites for new stuff, and the corollary insane amount of crap that gets discarded in favor of the “newer/better/different” thing (CRT’s anyone?). Also, I don’t want to spend my time thinking about stuff, acquiring stuff, and being surrounded by stuff. I want to spend my time doing things I enjoy, things that are generally not stuff-related, unless that “stuff” is wine, books, or my camping gear. Or my sewing stuff. Or my coral lipstick and my new belt. Come to think of it, some new shoes would look great with that belt. Or my…

Yeah, I’m definitely not perfect, but I am working on it. I don’t have any solutions, but I think that contemplating my own feelings about consumption has helped me change my spending habits for the better. Mainly, I try to:

1. Buy fewer new things, and not buy things that won’t last.
2. Make the things I have last longer.
3. Not treat shopping as entertainment.
4. Avoid things (some magazines/TV/internet) that make me want to consume.

Anyhoo, on the non-consumption tip, we had a great time hanging out with some friends who came up to stay with us this weekend. I don’t have any photos of the garden adventures, gold panning, or train ogling, but I did grab a glamour shot of the oatmeal pancakes I made for breakfast one day.

I use the recipe from The New Laurel’s Kitchen cookbook, which I totally recommend. The only changes I make are to omit the oil from the batter and to use white flour instead of whole wheat. I add oil to the pan before I pour each pancake – it gives them a little crispy finish that is extra good.

1 1/4 c. milk
1 c. rolled oats
2 eggs, beaten
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

Mix the milk and the oats together and let them sit for a few minutes until the oats soften up. Mix in the eggs and the brown sugar. Pour in the flour in one spot, then add the baking powder and salt on top of the flour. Using a dry fork, mix the baking powder and salt into the flour pile, then mix the whole batter together. Preheat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add a nickel-sized puddle of oil, then pour 1/4 c. of batter right onto the oil. I do two pancakes at a time like this. Cook on the first side until the pancakes bubble up and the bubbles pop, and the edges start to look dry. Then flip them and cook until the second side is brown. I have to lower the heat a bit after the first few pancakes. You want to adjust the heat so the pancakes are simultaneously ready to flip and as brown as you like them. You’ll get it! I served these with maple syrup and some fresh nectarines. They were yummy.

I’m still thinking about consumption. 🙂

Marinated Summer Veggies (and Garden Developments)

I think I’ve mentioned before that it’s been a strange gardening year here in Northern California. Everything is ripening a lot later than normal because of the unusually cold, wet Spring. Well, we’re still in the midst of the zucchini onslaught, but some of our other veggies* are finally starting to ripen. We have our first ripe tomatoes!

In honor of this momentous occasion, I ate about half the cherry tomatoes off the plant. And ate the only bigger ripe tomato like an apple, right there in the garden. It was fantastic! Seriously, I felt like all of the work that went into our garden this year was worth it for just that moment.

I did manage to save the rest of the ripe tomatoes, and I decided to make some marinated veggies with zucchini, onions, and basil from our garden. I wanted the veggies to be raw and crunchy, but I decided that I’d sear the zucchini and onions to give them a little extra flavor and sweetness. I just cut them in half and grilled them like I described here, but just until they were seared, not until they were cooked through.

I diced everything up (chopped the basil) and tossed it all together with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. I stuck it in the fridge for a while until we were ready to eat dinner, but it doesn’t really need to marinade – it’s good to eat right after you make it.

In other garden news, we have some soybeans! John, who is obsessed with commodity crops, is very happy.

This is the first year we’ve planted pumpkins, and they are getting huuuuuuge! I hope they stick around until October so we can have homegrown Jack-O-Lanterns!

*Fruit, bulbs, herbs, whatever…it’s all “veggies” to me. 🙂