We did it! We camped, and it was Waits’s first time, and my first time in maybe a decade (seriously), and we didn’t die and we didn’t kill each other and we ate really amazing food and IT WAS SO FUN.
So of course, I want to share our adventure here on the blog, but I took about a million and one pictures so I’ve decided to break the camping posts up into parts, with each one highlighting a different aspect. Like today: food.
We were car camping, obviously (as opposed to backpacking), so weight wasn’t an issue. For us, as vegans and with me being gluten-free, my main concern was availability. Which is why I wanted to pack everything we would need for the entire duration of our adventure (8 days total, 4 nights camping). And I did!
I packed three wooden wine boxes of unrefrigerated foods. Potatoes and onions and spices (salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, curry, and cumin), canned beans and chili, avocados, olive oil, and Braggs. Enough oat milk to last the entire 8 days (a carton per day between cereal, coffee, and Waits’s oat milk sip cup habit). Unopened condiments like salsa, ketchup, mustard, and bbq sauce. Oatmeal and chia seeds, brown rice bread (for me) and hot dog buns (not gluten free). Chocolate, Dandies vegan marshmallows, and vegan graham crackers for s’mores. I know that gluten-free vegan graham crackers do exist, but we weren’t able to find them before we left. We had a hard enough time just finding vegan ones! All of them, especially at the natural foods stores, contain honey. So just a heads up, if you ever get stuck in a s’mores pinch, the Nabisco brand original graham crackers are “accidentally vegan”. I didn’t say they’re healthy, but they are vegan.
I also packed a separate “snack box”, which lived in the back seat, center position, easily accessible from any position in the car. We had a number of long driving stretches and I wanted to make sure we wouldn’t have to keep stopping.
I included a good mix of healthy snacks and tasty treats – everything from homemade raw zucchini chips to cinnamon almonds to roasted chickpeas. Lara Bars and fruit bars and apples and pistachios. Tortilla chips and squeezie pouches and of course – Snapeas. In the name of honesty I should tell you that there was not just the one Costco-sized Snapea bag pictured here, but an entire other giant Snapea bag as well. We’re all three of us a bit obsessed with them and even named our camp in honor of the crispy goodness. #teamsnapea
But as far as food-related items, we brought a 2-burner Coleman stove and a wine box full of cooking supplies (floppy cutting board, knives, slotted spoons and tongs, skewers, cast iron skillets, can opener, that kind of stuff).
And for refrigerated food, I packed two 48-quart coolers full of everything I thought we’d want or need. I packed veggie dogs and burgers, tempeh, vegan mayo and butter, hummus and hummus and more hummus, a variety of vegan cheeses, coconut yogurt for breakfasts, broccoli and brussels sprouts and bell peppers, cucumbers and sauerkraut and kalamata olives and I’m sure a bunch of other things I’m forgetting, but you get the idea. Most of the food fit in one cooler, which left the other for cold drinks.
And that, my friends, is how we packed a vegan camping trip!
We left late at night, right around Waits’s bed time. The idea was that we could shave a few hours off the drive while he snoozed in the car seat, which would make for a much easier time the following day. So instead of Santa Barbara to Sequoia in one go, we drove Santa Barbara to Bakersfield and spent the night in a teeny tiny motel there. At least the king bed was cool.
In the morning we all woke up early, excited and ready to start our adventure. I was smart enough to have packed leftover coffee from the day before, so we had perfectly iced coffee to wake up to (pretty nice when it’s already over 80 by the time your rise). Coffee:
On the road bright and early:
The I5 through California’s Central Valley is a strange and surreal place. Olive trees and almond trees and slaughterhouses. Oppressive heat. We listened to 90s music and Waits promptly fell in love with The Smashing Pumpkins. He makes his mama proud!
Finally, after much snacking, many pit stops, and a few too many detours, we made it to Sequoia National Park: home of the Giant Sequoia trees, and scene of some of the most breathtaking landscape I’ve ever witnessed.
I really do love California.
This is General Sherman, the largest living organism on the entire planet. Giant Sequoias are unique in that they don’t grow too terribly tall (as far as redwoods go), but they are FAT. Thick from their roots all the way up to the tippy top. You can see a few veeeeeery small people in this photo, and that might help to give you some sense of how incomprehensibly enormous that tree trunk is.
It is 2300+ years old, and standing underneath it feels a little bit like magic.
We spent most of the afternoon exploring the Giant Forest (mostly we were looking for faeries).
Before we knew it the evening was setting in, and we still had to make camp for the night!
But finally, we were up and running! I know I mentioned a few weeks back that I started a hashtag:
The idea is that vegan kids are normal, and get to have the same fun and fantastic childhood as any other kid. Be it roasting hot dogs over a campfire, or digging into a big chocolate birthday cake, vegan kiddos are not deprived. And we have the photos to prove it! I urge you to browse the hashtag up there (now with over 50 entries, and counting) and enjoy all that massive cuteness and inspiration it provides.
And if you have a wee vegan in your life, please share pics and use the hashtag! Also keep in mind that you can go back and hashtag old pics, and remember that if your privacy settings are restricted we may not be able to see your pics.
By the time we finished eating, it was dark. And by the time we got everything cleaned up and packed up safely in the bear box, it was bedtime for the baby boy. Luckily after the day we’d had, he was asleep in record time. Which left Jeremy and I to relax around the campfire together.
Another first for us. ♥
Coming soon, more Sequoia, natural eco-friendly vegan camping essentials, Yosemite, and more!