Excuse us for being total hipsters, but we were into hammocking before it was cool. We are, however, ecstatic that other people have realized how wonderful hammocks are.
1. Wear it on your head. Whether to cover a bad hair day, shield your scalp from the sun, keep sweat out of your eyes, stay warm, or look cool, the classic biker bandana is a winner. Fold diagonally, place the folded edge on your forehead, and tie the ends behind your head.
2. Blow your nose on it. Using tissues in places with no trash can is a pain. Somehow they always end up tucked in weird places or stuck to an entire load of laundry after being sent through the wash. Bandanas that have been used as handkerchiefs can be machine or hand washed with detergent and hot water, and ultimately take up less space and resources than a box of tissues.
3. Use it for first aid. In a pinch, a bandana can become a sling, a tourniquet, or a bandage. You can fill it with ice to make an ice pack or wrap it around something hot to make a hot pack. You can dip it in water and use it to clean a wound. If you're caught out without a first aid kit, it could save your life, or at least your comfort.
4. Make a bindle (the cloth bundle on a stick you see in stereotypical depictions of hobos). This is actually a convenient way to carry an unexpected load and can be put together on the spot. Find an appropriate-length stick, place your goodies in the middle of your bandana, and tie the corners to the end of the stick. You can also tie the ends to your belt loop, handlebars, or backpack strap to make a pouch. This is great for things you find along the way, or items you don't want to get crushed in your backpack or pocket.
5. Dip your it in water then tie it around your neck, letting the evaporating water cool you off. This works best in dry climates.
6. Tie it over your face outlaw-style to keep dust or sand out of your nose and mouth.
7. Tuck it under your hat to keep the sun off your hat to keep the sun off your neck. Sure, it's not all that stylish, but neither is a sunburn!
8. Clean up yourself, someone else, or your gear. A wet bandana is a great way to do a quick sponge bath in your tent or a public bathroom. It also works great when you need to wash up in a stream that's to shallow to really get in. When you have enough water and privacy for a real bath, use it as a washcloth. You can also use it to wash dishes or clean up spills.
9. Get someone's attention. A red bandana makes a great signal flag in an emergency.
10. Sling a line over a branch you can't reach. Tie up something heavy (a rock, your car keys, a camp biscuit) in the bandana then tie it to the end of the rope. Give it a few swings then toss it over. With any luck you'll be able to grab it on the other side and string up your bear bag, hammock, or clothesline.
We love our Vibram Fivefingers shoes. Megan has the Sprint (youth model) and Caitlyn has the KSO. They're great for the trail, the beach, or even the office.
Maybe this is cheating a bit, since I don't know where to tell you to buy a hammock like this. Mine is one of two that my parents brought back from backpacking in South America shortly before I was born. They slept in them, with the addition of mosquito nets, on boats on the Amazon, in rented rooms with hammock hooks instead of beds, and wherever else they could find to hang them. Then they came back to the US, and I was born. This hammock made a bed for me when I needed naps, a quiet place to play or read in the shade when I was older, and an all-purpose lounging spot. And now, nearly 30 years later, it goes camping with us.
We're kind of hippies. We like skinny dipping and nature and thrift stores. We're not dirty hippies, though, and to stay clean our go-to product is Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap.
What's so magic about soap, you ask? Well, if you're asking that question you haven't tried this soap. It comes in a handful of great-smelling herbal scents like peppermint, lavender, and tea tree that are safe for even our super-sensitive skin, and it can be used to wash anything. We've used it for our cars, boat, bodies, hair, pets, dishes, laundry...you can even brush your teeth with it in a pinch!
For more information about Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps and the zany Dr. Bronner himself, check out Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox on Netflix. You can get the soap at Target, Whole Foods, and many other supermarkets and health foods st
It was a few days after we arrived back from Roatan that we decided to go swimming and discovered that Caiti's favorite swimsuit, a nice red one by Speedo, was missing. We're sure we packed it, and would certainly have heard from our friends at Mango Creek if it had been left behind, so the only logical conclusion is that the TSA had something to do with it. They did, after all, leave a notice that our bag had been searched, though they didn't mention anything about confiscating a red swimsuit.
Fortunately we had lots of REI gift cards left over from Christmas, and were able to replace it with this very nice blue one by TYR. While Caiti hasn't quite forgiven the TSA, she really likes this one.
Has anything ever disappeared from your luggage?
Today we gave the Sunfish a good scrub, and raised the sail to inspect. It's in good shape, but still an unfortunate color.
We were at a thrift store --- the Family Value Thrift Center in Spring Branch, to be exact. We love that place. While digging through piles of cat figurines and Stephen King paperbacks, Caiti came across a Polaroid Land Camera. It was white, with a rainbow stripe. It was $8.
We took a leap of faith and tracked down some film for it. Some nice hipsters down at The Impossible Project had film that would work with old Polaroid cameras, but at $23.99 a box, it wasn't cheap.
There are plenty of water bottles in the world, but Platypus makes some of the best. They're sturdy, don't make your water taste like plastic, and, best of all, collapse flat when empty.
Platypus bottles can hold up to boiling water and being frozen full.