April 29, 2013
Living in a camper forces you to prioritize your possessions. You have to be selective. A camper has thirty square feet, mine has twenty five. Everything must have multiple uses. This ethos attracted me away from my cluttered New York City apartment in the first place and is the same interest that inspired The Burning House Project. After continuous tinkering here’s a list of things that are essential for my life on the road.
iPhone 5. Want to find a place to eat? Whats the weather doing? How long does it take to get to Bishop from here? It’s my connection to the world and spontaneity. Mine is jailbroken and with the help of a handy $20 tethering app, I can connect my laptop to the phone’s 3g modem. Screw telephone companies and their price gouging ways. (MyWi tether app)
LL Bean 20° Goose Down bag. Few things are more essential to a nice camping experience than a good sleeping bag. 20° covers pretty much all of the temperatures I’ve come across in the last 60,000 miles. After over 500 nights in the last two years, my bag is still going strong. (LL Bean)
Poler Camera Bag. I use this thing as a murse to hold headphones, iPhone Chargers and of course, my camera gear. Remove your chatskis, and it doubles as a cooler for a six pack of your favorite beverage. (Poler)
Gerber Multitool. A solid pocketknife is a must. It comes in handy in all sorts of situations. I’ve worked on my van, cleaned fish and taken out a cactus spike in Mexico with it. Plus it works when you need to open up a snack. (Gerber Gear)
Casio F-91W watch. Back in the 90’s, a training camp in Afghanistan taught Al-Qaeda members to use this watch as a timer for bombs. Rumor has it that because of this, the CIA has thrown Arabs into Gitmo and other godforsaken places simply because they wear the watch. It also happens to be the most widely distributed watch in the world and costs $9 on Amazon. The box claims that it’s water resistant but I’ve surfed with it dozens of times. (amazon)
Dr. Bronner’s. I don’t always shower, but when I do, I use Dr Bonner’s peppermint soap. Me and every other NPR listener you’ve met raves about this stuff, but honestly its a must. You can wash dishes, clothes, your hands and even your teeth with this stuff. (amazon)
Short rubber boots by Tretorn. When the weather gets shitty, you don’t want to have shoes. These short boots have 90% of the upside of full-size rubber boots without the inconvenience. I’ve worn them in the forest in British Columbia and on the beach in Mexico. They have a faux-fur liner so your feet stay warm when it’s cold. Don’t take this fur as invitation to not wear socks though, or they will start smelling like a DARPA-funded science project. (Tretorn)
Down Jacket. I wear this jacket 70% of the time. It packs down into a travel pillow. I take it everywhere. Patagonia has a rock solid warranty so if it starts hemorrhaging feathers, you can take it back. (Patagonia.com)
Backpacking Stove. This thing packs into a box half the size of your fist and can cook a steak. Need I say more? It also has an auto lighting feature so you don’t need to fuck around with matches or a lighter, things I’m always losing. The tanks are easy to get your hands on and last a while. (amazon)
John Wesley Twin Fin Pin Tail. My friend Beamer turned me onto John and his Pin tail twin fins surfboards. I’ve surfed them up and down the coast and had a blast on them. If I had to take one board with me on a trip, I’d take this one. (John’s blog)
Wrist Rocket. If I ever get around to it, I’d love to write a piece called Zen and the Art of the slingshot. There are so many variables at play. Rock size, distance from target, aiming technique. It’s great for passing the time. (Amazon)
One of my favorite parts of living in a camper is how it has shown me that I can be happy with very few things. I’ve met a community of people on the road that take more pride in what they do than what they own. These people have inspired me to think differently about my relationship to things.
Here are some more links,