Camp for the young at heart

Camp. This word makes me think of campfire songs, horseback riding, old pen pals, and counselors with funny camp names, like Casper or Sunbeam. While some of us may get nostalgic for those carefree summer days, us lucky ones still get to experience adventures reminiscent of camp. Whether it be jumping off rocks on the San Joaquin River, hiking through knee deep powder to find afternoon freshies, or diving the Mendocino coast, there are countless ways to get a little camp in your life. Often, my friends go off on adventures in a group of 20-30, making a normal trip feel very camp-like. 

The crew at "Fish Camp." Photo Credit: Kelly Moore

The crew at "Fish Camp." Photo Credit: Kelly Moore

While it might sound like quite a feat to organize a group this size, following a few simple guidelines makes it nearly effortless. Here are some tips to help you plan your next Camp Adventure, of the grown up variety. 

Team up in food groups

Instead of bringing 30 coolers with food for each person, team up. We have found two ways to do this that work equally well but are dependent on the Camp's amenities. Option 1: You are lucky enough to have a few coleman double burners or even a full stove and oven in that Cabin in the woods. Split up into groups of 4 or so and take a meal to cook for the whole group. A big scramble, pot-o-stew, or even a taco dinner is pretty easy to whip together. Yes, even for a group of 30. The serious benefit to this? You only have to cook once, then you can sit back and enjoy! Option 2: You're backpacking and only have lightweight stoves, a pot, and not much else. Break into groups of 5-6 to cook your meals in small groups, each taking on a job (chopping, heating, etc.). Once you have your meals together, gather 'round the fire and enjoy the company of the group. 

Pro tip: Catch your own dinner! These guys are prepping some fresh abalone for sliders we made to feed the group above

Pro tip: Catch your own dinner! These guys are prepping some fresh abalone for sliders we made to feed the group above

Keep a camp box

Often, a good adventure may spontaneously present itself and you want to be ready! Always be prepared by putting together a camp box so you can easily get the essentials together as you pack up the car. A good camp box may include:

Don't double pack

You are prepared--hopefully your friends are, too. Don't over pack and end up bringing things you can easily share (think pots, pans, coolers). Team up with your food group and only bring what you need, leaving room in your car/backpack for more beer, whiskey...you know, the essentials. 

Breaking down the kitchen before we float. You definitely don't want to over pack on a river trip!

Breaking down the kitchen before we float. You definitely don't want to over pack on a river trip!

TAKE ALONG AN EXPERT

While it is always fun to explore a new place, it is even better to explore with a friend who knows the best swimming hole, out of bounds run, or uncrowded hike. 

KEEP IT LIGHT

Naw, I don't mean the food. At camp you always did silly things, so don't underestimate the power of having some good ol' fashioned, juvenile fun. 

Piñatas=Camp fun!

Piñatas=Camp fun!

On a recent sailing trip we only have 8 people to feed. We kept it simple; Lauren and I cooked, everyone else ate! 

On a recent sailing trip we only have 8 people to feed. We kept it simple; Lauren and I cooked, everyone else ate! 

Have you ever done a Camp style cookout? Tell us your favorite group meal in the comments!