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Archive for May, 2018

Car Camping Tips for the Northwest and Beyond

Friday, May 11th, 2018


Skip Memorial Day!


Let’s clarify: Celebrate Memorial Day, but DON’T be one of the millions of people in America to be disappointed by car camping during a major holiday. When you DO go, here are some tips to make the most of your camping excursions this season.



1: Embrace Overpacking!

When backpacking, it helps to be mindful of how much weight you can shave off, and how much you DON’T cram into your pack. But if you’re bringing the family car, SUV, or van, the only limit is legroom! That extra blanket, air mattress, or cooler can turn your trip from “Let’s get out of here.” to “I wish we had another day!”.  If your current ride isn’t quite roomy enough, check out the VW Atlas, Kia Sorento, and Mercedes GLS.

2: Buck Convention!

What better time to finally read that novel? You might feel pressured to go hike, fish, or look for deer tracks, but it’s ok to just sit by the fire and find out what happens in the next chapter while listening to the wind in the pines. Are you more of an extrovert? Bring a board game that requires a large group and lots of free time! This is often hard to pull off in town, as we constantly have screens and sounds bombarding us on the daily. Use the isolation to your advantage and dig into some Risk, Settlers of Catan, pinochle, or even (if kids aren’t present) Cards Against Humanity!

3: Make GOOD Food!

Look, hot dogs and marshmallows are fine. I would argue they’re necessary for a classic camping outing. That said, bring a cast iron skillet, build in little rock burner for it in your fire pit, and do up some LEGIT food! With the right cooler setup, bacon is definitely an option. Go this route to be able to use the grease to sear zucchini, onion, asparagus, or any other veggie you’re a fan of, then toss with the chopped bacon! Just that with some salt and pepper and you’re already miles beyond mystery meat in a white bun. Want more inspiration? Check out these 10 Delicious Cast Iron Skillet Recipes !

4: Be Safe!

Even camping in a drive-up campground, here in the Pacific Northwest anything from a squirrel to a bear might decide to investigate all this good food. Make sure to have an overhead food storage system, a bear-proof food locker, or both. Speaking of which, always carry bear spray. Depending on your personal values, local wildlife, and local laws, a firearm could be a good tool for that ‘what if’ scenarios. Walkie-talkies, flares, firestarting kits, emergency blankets, and rain gear will also serve you well if things get dicey. Use the The Ten Essentials as your guide!

5: Leave No Trace!

This is usually the refrain of hikers, climbers, and backpackers, but it should apply to ANYONE who is out enjoying nature. Make sure to pack out all your garbage, completely eradicate your fire by burying and dousing it, and try to leave the campsite looking better than it did when you arrived. Find out more about Leave No Trace camping principles here.


Have any more camping tips? We’d love to hear them!

The VW Bus: Sophomore Smash

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018


photo credit: Allen Watkin, Flickr

Bands, sports stars, and car brands are all susceptible to the sophomore slump. Can anyone but trivia nuts name Meatloaf’s second album? When’s the last time you thought about Rick Mirer? And let’s not forget, the Fox-body Mustang was a huge gamble that fortunately paid off for enthusiasts everywhere. The Mustang II moved units in spite of its lackluster performance and bland design.

There are, as always, grand exceptions to the rule.

If the Volkswagen Beetle is the company’s most recognizable car, the Type 2 (known as a Kombi, Microbus, or Transporter depending on geography) is a close runner-up. In 1947, Dutch importer Ben Pon drew up a first draft of a spacious, economical people and stuff mover based on the brand new VW Beetle. Engineers ran with it, and the Type 2 was born. It’s a triumphant piece of design. The basic look continued from 1950 to 1979. The original Type 2 was even produced as a NEW VEHICLE until 2013 in Brazil. After a wildly successful VW ad campaign by now legendary firm Doyle Dane Bornbach, counter-culture buyers transformed these pedestrian but cute utility boxes into something of their own social movement. Thanks in part to linking with Westphalia to make camper versions, the Microbus has become synonymous with hippie culture. Ever since, Volkswagen vans of all kinds have been sought after for those seeking to grab a piece of that sweet, sweet van life for themselves. While the Vanagons of the ’80’s and the Eurovans of the ’90’s have their own cult followings, nothing quite entered the American psyche like the original Type 2 Microbus.

Now, spurred on by the success of full electric cars like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, and the entire Tesla line, Volkswagen sees an opportunity to reintroduce some of that sophomore magic with the ID Buzz, an modern electric with its feet (tires?) planted firmly in the past. Set to launch in 2022, the next generation of tradesmen, adventurers, and dreamers will have a worthy mascot once more.

Take a look at the concept in action!


Photo credit: Volkswagen


Video: Fully Charged Show