Thursday, September 10, 2009

Princess Camping Part 1

I am going to embark on a mini-camping trip this weekend to attend the now famous party at "The Ranch". While this is NOT "The Ranch" as in "Skywalker Ranch" as in "George Lucas", it is still a pretty happening place that houses some pretty cool folks. There will be all kinds of artists and activists and filmmakers and generally interesting people in attendance. So I can promise you photos aplenty.

Why here's a camping photo now from a trip I took with Mister Man some years ago. We were "painting with light in the night". Here's how it works: you wait until nightfall, and then put your digital SLR on a tripod, turn it to the Bulb setting, close your apeture to its smallest setting, and paint with light.

The cherry on top of our adventure at the ranch is that we are camping! While this may not be the BIG camping trip planned for the first weekend in October, it is a mini, one-night trip that will involve SOME elements of Princess camping. And I have PROMISED that I would post some photos and tips about how I learned to love roughing it in the woods.

First of all, I'm not talking WILDERNESS camping here. THAT is just far too advanced for me. I'm talking COMFORT! Princess camping is synonymous with comfort. Wilderness camping, on the other hand = sleeping on a bed of twigs while using a rock for a pillow and being eaten alive by mosquitos and bears. Okay, I'm joking, but really, doesn't it make sense to travel with the following items?

A comfy duvet!
AND a sleeping bag
AND an inflatable mattress (natch). Though for this MINI camping trip I will probably make do with 2 therma rests.
And pillows - SEVERAL pillows
A camp stove (for the coffee)
A stovetop espresso maker (to make the coffee)
The coffee (preferably the espresso)
The cream for the coffee
In terms of things for wearing, you need a decent raincoat (cheap insurance really), some slip on flip flop kind of things for when you want to putter about the campsite without lacing up your sneakers, a pair of rubber boots (the second installment in the cheap insurance policy) and a fleece wardrobe. My friend Doodie even had a fleece bra. I believe it was a leopard print pattern. And I'm not even kidding you.

Seriously though, fleece is great. A pair of fleece pants and socks never go astray. A fleece vest and jacket are really gonna do the trick too. Before I studied film, I didn't own a stitch of fleece. And then I found myself on a student film shoot with a bunch of women who were clad in Mountain Equipment Coop gear from head to toe. I, on the other hand was wearing: Dayton boots, black jeans, a leather jacket and a black beret. It was cold. And damp. And I was miserable. Suffice it to say that by the next shoot, I had invested in fleece. And now I can't imagine living without it.

You will also need to wear a head lamp (for reading in the tent, or washing dishes, or trying to find the contact lens you dropped at night, or so you can actually look into the bear's eyes before he - JOKING!!!). Paully and Michele gave me this one for Christmas one year. It has a white light setting and a red light setting.... It rocks!

A few other items on the list:

A stand up light (preferably one of those Coleman battery operated lanterns, so you can pretend you're in Little House On the Prairie)
Marshmallow/hot dog roasting fork thingies
Snacks (including marshmallows and hot dogs or tofu dogs)
Your own personal supply of t.p. (VERY VERY IMPORTANT)
A hot water bottle (which you fill with hot water that you heat in a pot on the fire). You tuck the hot water bottle in the foot of your sleeping bag about half an hour before you turn in for the night. Hello coziness!
If it's cold out, you want a toque for your head. It will keep the heat in at night!

This is all you really need.

Oh, and this:
Perhaps it seems counter intuitive to bring both bug spray AND After Bite. Be prepared, I say.
Normally, I travel with Tent Mahal, pictured above. This is not a fabulous photo unfortunately... But, I do promise some spectacular INTERIOR and EXTERIOR shots when we return from the big OCTOBER camping trip.

You can't really tell in the above photo, but, it actually has two "rooms" and you can actually STAND UP inside. This is a good thing, seeing as how it took thousands of years of evolution for us to actually stand upright. So, if we are able, we should probably celebrate standing upright as much as possible. And that includes INSIDE a tent! Tent Mahal was a gift from Mariette after taking wedding snaps. But THIS weekend, as I'm only in a tent for one night, I'll be putting up the wee tent. It doesn't even require a degree in engineering! In fact, it's even easier than assembling an IKEA bookshelf.

And now I will leave you with this image. What EVERY person needs when camping is a friend, lover or partner who will sit around the campsite plotting adventures on a map, while wearing SPOCK EARS. Yes folks, that is Mister Man. In his glory. Note Tent Mahal in the background. See the "vestibule"?

I can promise that the NEXT installment of Princess camping will feature some great tips like how not to pee on your shoes in the middle of the night when the chilly temperature makes you want to pee every 5 minutes.... (this one is for the women out there!)


  1. oooo, i cannot wait for mini-camping! but i don't have galoshes or a headlamp! oh noes!

  2. thank you thank you thank you!!! You've helped me get one tentative step closer to venturing out into the pseudo-wilderness!!

  3. While my inner-hairy man rolls his eyes at the mention of princess camping, that duvet is kinda nice