Our Favorite Camping Hacks

If you tuned into our most recent episode of Toad Hacks on Instagram, you saw Toads Lindsay and Drew share a few of their most tried and true camping hacks. Because this is prime camping season (changing leaves and fall sunsets, yes please), and we want you all to enjoy it as much as we do, here are those hacks plus a few more.

Bring The Heat

A good central fire is key to any campout. Store charcoal briquettes in a cardboard egg crate before you get to your site, then light it to start your fire easily when you get there. You can also save dryer lint and put it in the middle of old toilet paper rolls.

Camp Kitchen Essentials (aka all the amazing things from home you can reuse)

We’d be lying if we said mealtime around said fire wasn’t one of the main highlights of every camping trip we take. So we mean business when it comes to our camp kitchen setup.

Breakfast – An unexpected plot twist for your condiment bottles: Save them to reuse on your next camping trip. Before you head out, fill them with pancake batter or eggs (shells off and pre-whisked) and pop them in the cooler. Come breakfast at the campsite, you’re ready to go with an easy meal (and impressive too, if that’s what you’re going for).

Lunch and Dinner – We love a meal in a cast iron pan because the possibilities are literally limitless. You can use it on the camp stove or over the fire, and you can cook virtually anything in it.  And anything that’s sturdy, durable, and lasts a lifetime is a win in our book.

Pantry Essentials  – On one of our Toad campouts, someone realized that an old toolbox makes the perfect camp kitchen kit. Who knew? It’s the ideal size for spices, utensils, bottle openers, and mini bottles of booze. Cheers!

toolbox

Cleanup – Take an empty laundry detergent dispenser, fill it with water, flip it upside down, and you have a hand and dish-washing station right at the campsite. Put a bucket below to catch runoff water. Whoever’s on dishes duty will thank you.

The Sweet Stuff

We recently learned an epic tip that will flip your S’mores world upside down (thanks to Toad Lindsay’s Mother-in-Law and everyone’s favorite Toad mom Kathy). Put the piece of chocolate in the middle of your marshmallow before roasting. It’s gooey and delicious and trust us, you’ll never look at a S’more the same way again.

fire

The Every Campout Checklist

Keep your checklist by your camping gear so you never forget the essentials. We don’t leave home without our headlamps – key for keeping your hands free for more fun things than holding a flashlight (see: S’mores and whipping up a stellar breakfast). Also important to the checklist: Mini first aid kit, microfiber towels (compact, quick-drying, and lightweight), and reusable cups and utensils. 

reusable cup

What We’re Wearing

Lindsay’s favorite is the Telluride Sherpa Jacket – “Not only is it two jackets in one, but it also makes a perfect pillow. The triple threat of eco-friendly jackets.”

telluride sherpa jacket

Drew’s loving the Epiq Jogger – “Fitted ankles keep the critters out and the Hemp and Organic Cotton blend makes them cozy enough to double as jammies.”

Epiq Jogger

Dr. Drew’s Car Camping Hacks

When the phrase “car camping” comes to mind, you might envision the well-curated craft of surviving in the out-of-doors a la Wes Anderson. It’s a well executed blend of home sweet home meets the great outdoors into a savory alfresco. But when is comes to driving a rickety 1959 trailer across the country on our Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable Tour, the line between survival and car glamping begins to blur. But Dr. Drew, our Tour Manager and Master of Wingin’-It makes tight tour dates and long hours between the white lines look like a breeze. We caught up with Dr. Drew for his advice and insights into easy summer car camping. 

Cot or inflatable or sleeping pad? No more sleeping pads! Cots or inflatable only to help keep the ol’ back in fighting shape.

Sleeping bag VS. Blanket? What you want is a high “warm and cozy” factor and the freedom to move freely. In the summertime, I go blanket. Currently using: ​Down-filled Kammok Bobcat Trail Quilt (mostly because I like the name). For a lighter but equally cozy option, I’m all about the Cashmoore Blanket

Jerky – A tasty protein filled snack that keeps froth levels high and hunger levels low. Currently munching: Epic Provisions, high quality product and a mission-based company. 

Kitchen – Never hit the road without a way to heat up water. No matter where you are, you can fire up a hot meal and warm the soul. Currently using: Jet Boil Genesis Base Camp System. Lightweight, packable, everything you need to get gourmet if you want. 

Quinoa – Fills you up in desperate times. Good sweet or savory. 

Trail Mix – When the Jet Boil runs out of fuel and you have to go caveman style. I’m currently snacking on Shar Snacks (rhymes with “bear”), which I picked up in Austin. Organic and responsibly sourced. 

A good book – Currently reading: History of Haight Ashbury by Charles Perry.

Audio Book – The sound of another human’s voice can be quite comforting on the open road, especially when it reminds you of home. Currently listening to: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.

Illumination – Headlamp: Princeton Tec. String lights: Revel Gear Trail Hound 30ft. Back up: Bic Lighter and soy candle.

A good sweater – Keeps ya warm and doubles as a pillow. Currently wearing: Midfield Hemp Crewneck.

Tunes – DemerBox for indestructible tunes and a long battery life. Currently jamming to: 2 Spotify playlists, Highway Sounds (more rocky/bluesy) and I’m With Her (all the badass ladies). 

Bug Control – When you’re in Charleston in the summertime, you need all the help you can get. I’m not a fan of the chemical sprays so I like to wear clothes with Insect Shield® Technology built right into it. Currently wearing: Debug Mission Ridge Pants and Debug Peak Season Shirt – they keep the bugs out and still look presentable for date night. 

Trash – Rule #1: try not to make any. I like to make my own meals, buy in bulk with mason jars, and avoid takeout. But if you’re driving, stick a box on the passenger seat floor, a perfect receptacle for cherry stems and peach pits. 

Hydration Station – My ultimate long drive hack: strap a Camelbak to your seat and never deal with water bottle caps and spills again! 

Happy Trails. Come out and see the Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable Tour on the road. Check out national summer schedule here

Camp Kitchen: Pesto Halibut

Words by Kaleigh Wood; photos by Gretchen Powers of Powers Provisions and Johnie Gall of Dirtbag Darling

Aluminum pouches are your best friend when it comes to a camp kitchen. You can prep, season and seal everything before heading out (or bring foil and make your pouches onsite). I grew up hunting and fishing in the Lower 48 and have really enjoyed harvesting my own food in Kodiak, AK this year. (And a major perk of living in Kodiak is receiving wild fish and game from friends.) When transfer season rolls around in the Coast Guard, everyone gifts you the leftover food when they clean out their freezers. With lots of halibut in our freezer and friends coming to visit, our recent camp menu was a no brainer.

The morning we left to go camping, I threw the frozen fish and a jar of pesto in the cooler. I prepped the veggies, hit them with a healthy dose of EVOO, salt and pepper, and sealed them in an aluminum pouch. I grabbed a couple bags of instant rice for an easy starch to round it out. You know, just for the hal-i-but.

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Pesto Halibut with Veggies 

2 Large Halibut Filets
4 TBSP Basil Pesto (make it from scratch if you’ve got fresh herbs)
3 Carrots, 1 Red Bell Pepper,1 Zucchini, 2 Shallots – julienned
2 Bags of Boil in Bag Rice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO, affectionately)
Salt
Pepper
Fresh Basil

Get your grill going then crack a beer or make a whiskey as your charcoal gets going. Take halibut, pat dry, season with salt and pepper, then lay flat on foil that has a touch of EVOO so your fish doesn’t stick. Top fish with a healthy dollop of pesto and seal in a foil pouch. Bring water to a slow boil and add rice bags to jet boil or pot of water. Once grill is ready, place your veggie pouch and fish pouch and let the steam do the work. Take a peek in 10 mins or try a sample to ensure everything is cooked. Plate it up: scoop of rice, scoop of veggies, piece of halibut, topped with fresh basil on top. YUM.

 

 

The Boulevardier

2015_Great_Basin-3016

We all have that friend who’s ready for anything – he can open a beer with his shoe, navigate by the stars and always has a pack of cards handy. That’s our friend Joel. Joel came with us on our road trip to Great Basin National Park for the first time. He’s just the kind of guy you want around when the van breaks down on the highway, when you’re looking at a billion stars, when you need a nightcap to warm you from the inside out… True to form, Joel came prepared. He calls it The Boulevardier, we call it Joel’s Lighter Fluid.

The Boulevardier aka Joel’s Lighter Fluid 
2 parts bourbon
1 part Campari
1 part sweet vermouth

Combine ingredients in a shaker (or do what Joel did, put ingredients in a to-go coffee mug… just make sure it’s clean!). Take a lighter to the orange peel to warm it up, then twist peel to loosen up the oils. Serve up and garnish with the orange peel. Enjoy with good company and a raging campfire.