SPONSORED I bet you already have a summer plan. My iCal indicates I have something planned for eight of the 15 weekends of summer (through Labor Day). Half of my summer is already busy. So when my husband casually says, “Remember when we went camping last summer? Let’s go camping soon,” I think: Where's the tent? So much work to get ready. I haven't seen my hiking boots since last August. (Plus various expletives.) But, I say, " “Sure! That sounds like fun!” This could be anything: hiking, camping, boating, a bike trip, or whatever takes you from the comfort of your house and into the great outdoors. If you enjoy these little sojourns, you know just how much preparation, organization and flat out work they require. When you find something that works for you to make these trips easier, please, please share it. Here are my tips: No. 1- Screw Top Wines. I like having wine while I camp. I think sipping on something around the fire at night is a wonderful thing. Naysayers are every where on screw tops, and I have already had my first few sips while they are digging through the picnic basket or wondering who brought the wine key. Look no further than wines from Australia and New Zealand for your camping wine partner. Every wine we have from New Zealand has a screw top. (Yes ma’am, even Molly Dooker. I’ve seen people ruin a perfectly nice wine key on these.) One of my favorites is Langmeil “Hangin’ Snakes” Shiraz-Viognier. This is so much more than the super-produced Aussie shiraz out there. Its scent is incredible. It has a lot of distinct cherry fruit flavors and the tiniest hint of flowers from the viognier. Our wine consultant Noelle turned me on to this wine and it’s just perfect to sip at the fire. It has enough character to keep you interested, but not too much to over think, and is just good red wine to enjoy by the fire.
No. 2- GoVino Wine Glasses. No one is toting along their Riedel stems up north. If you are planning on it, please reconsider. But, I understand the need to enjoy your wine, and the bouquet is definitely not coming out of the red solo cup. These are the kind of thing you wished you had invented: shatterproof plastic as thin as crystal, little thumb indents so they are easier to hold and less likely to slip out of your hand while you’re trying to get out of the anti-gravity chairs. You’ll reuse them all summer! No. 3- Nutella. (Really, these are my tips after all.) Use Nutella instead of chocolate bars in your s’mores; they’re easy to pack and you don't have to worry about melting! Assemble and wrap in aluminum foil before toasting on the fire. For bonus points, add some banana slices. Be prepared to go camping more often as an excuse to eat them. There's 15 weekends left, people. Use them wisely! - Lindsey Coleman