Photo by TorabisuI used to hate camping.  Why would anyone want to leave the comfort of their home to be out there, "roughing it".  Ugh. Sure, I have fond memories of camping when I was a kid, but that was different. Everything I needed was just magically there, I didn't need to think about it (thanks Mom and Dad).  In the last couple of years, I've come around to camping.  It's a great way to spend time with your friends without having to yell over music and the chatter of other bar patrons. Spending a few days outside really makes up for all those lazy Sundays when I never leave the house. And just two days of camping feels like a week of vacation, and I mean that in a good way.
 A key part of learning to love camping was giving some careful consideration to my camping accoutrements.  Why wouldn't I use the same critical eye towards my campsite that I use on my home?  First, my husband and I invested in a tent that two people could actually stand in instead of the tiny tauntaun carcass we used to birth ourselves into and out of.  That was important. Now what gear do I need to make camping something I actually look forward to?

The L.L. Bean campfire cast iron pie iron. My friend Mike (outdoorsman and owner of all the best camping gadgets) introduced us to the pie iron and it is a thing of beauty.  Put in some buttered bread and canned pie filling, hold over the fire for a bit and you have a pie reminiscent of those roof of mouth searing things from McDonalds.  My friend Courtnee says grilled cheese with jalapenos are also delicious in the campfire pie iron.  I plan to try that suggestion on my next camping trip.

The Hudson Bay Co. Point Blanket was traded for beaver pelts in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of those early versions still exist today and are highly collectible. These wool blankets will make my bivouac totally legit.

This vintage mason jar turned soap dispenser from MidwestFind's Etsy shop is perfect for hand sanitizer. Just swap out the pump for a regular lid and you're ready for travel.  Hand sanitizer has revolutionized the camping experience and made it much more tolerable for us sissified city types. Thank you, hand sanitizer.

It can get cold sleeping under the stars, so take a nip of something to warm yourself up.  It can also get hot, so by taking a vintage travel bar (Etsy has a great selection in various price ranges), you'll have everything for a refreshing gin and tonic in an easy to pack travel case.  Tip: Most state parks frown upon having some of the good stuff at your campsite, so this case not only looks good, it conceals your hootch.
Part of that whole bonding with your friends around the campfire thing is going au naturale. I mean not wearing make up. Geesh. Out in the woods, probably 100 feet or more from the nearest restroom, applying full make up is not in the spirit of "roughing it". That doesn't mean I can't wear a head scarf a (these are from REI) nd giant sunglasses so my friends aren't totally spooked by my unpainted face. 

These are some of my favorite things for an enjoyable camping adventure. This weekend I go on my first camping trip of the season, wish me luck! ~ Heather