As much as we love the other three seasons, we have to admit we’ve got a special weakness for summer. Because even though most of us are long past the “school’s out” days—or rather, it’s our KIDS that are gearing up for 9
days of barefoot, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed joy—we still get a little frisson of excitement when we turn the calendar page to June.
Why? Because even if we’re *technically* in the office Monday through Friday, our summer hearts are in hardcore out-of-office mode. So if you’re sitting in your dank cubie and dreaming of adventures to come, here’s the perfect fodder: 5 ways to make this summer camping season a LOT more playful. Get after it.
- Trick Your Rig
Listen, you don’t judge us for NOT spending our vacays free-climbing the Nose or bagging our third K2 summit. So we won’t fault you for wanting to camp in complete comfort—in fact, we applaud you for it! So this summer, why not take your car camping game to the next level with a built-in storage system?
While there are zillions of Subaru platform bed ideas on Pinterest, we prefer to take our design inspiration from #vanlife build-outs—they’re often more involved, but they’re always more creative. If you’re working with a standard wagon or SUV cargo area, a simple platform bed is probably your best bet; this will give you a cozy foul-weather sleeping area PLUS loads of storage for pool floaties and other toys.
Not a master carpenter? Relax—there’s a build-out for every level of complexity and ability, from “I need soft-close drawers for my camping cookware” to “I am a risk to myself and others when using a handsaw.” HOT TIP: when researching your build-out, you’re going to stumble across 1,000 “solar shower” ideas of varying insanity. Ignore them. For $30, you can hang this sucker from a tree and bathe in balmy bliss.
- Kick It > Lick It
Speaking of $30-ish well spent: YayLabs SoftShell Ice Cream Ball is about to become your favorite new camping accessory. If you’ve ever been sitting around the campfire, thinking “ONLY ice cream could make this moment more amazing,” (A) you’re definitely not alone, and (B) your wish has just been granted.
Just add natural ingredients like cream, sugar and vanilla in one end, shove ice and rock salt in the other end, and kick the SoftShell around for about 20 minutes—et voilà! Ice cream! As far as we can tell, the only downside is that each ball only makes about a pint. Plan accordingly to ensure happy campers.
3. Get Your Game On
Sure, there are plenty of space-saving games you could bring along on your next camping trip; Bananagrams, Mille Bornes and Cards Against Humanity are all great options. But I think we can all agree that summer is the time to GO BIG…and this summer is the time take your camping games game to the next level.
If you like the idea of oversized tic-tac-toe, but don’t want to drop 50 bones on the posh wooden set pictured above, you can make a beach party version using second-hand hula hoops and Frisbees (9 each). Or, if you’re handy AF—once you’re finished with your sweet Subie build-out—just whip up a set of giant Yardzee dice, then tuck them away in your neatly labeled “fun bin” for all to enjoy on the next trip.
4. Sit + Spin
Ahhhh, the sounds of nature: the babbling of summer streams…the rush of the wind in the trees…the chatter of jays and squirrels…the evening song of crickets and owls…the bumpin’ of the bass. Wait, WHAT?
We’re not suggesting you be THOSE campers, because we’ve all had to share the “wilderness” with somebody else’s taste in music. But for those early afternoon cocktail hours when your nearest neighbors are still out hiking, and the camp host is cleaning the privy—here’s your Summer Playtime Playlist, courtesy of Kelty and Spotify. So fire up the Bluetooth and crack open a cold one…summer has come to PLAY.