As we rolled up to the Los Prietos Campground just outside of Santa Barbara in my tightly packed Honda CR-V, I slammed on the breaks. I missed the entrance. No worries, I’m an expert at illegal u-turns and finally we arrived at our intended destination. My heart was thumping, not because of my inability to follow the GPS, but because I hadn’t seen my friends or been in the great outdoors in a while. I could barely contain my excitement and didn’t even have the patience to park my car correctly. When I hopped out of the car, I knew exactly what type of camping trip this was going to be: Hot weather, but chill people.
In my excitement, I almost forgot my mask. I quickly rummaged through my car and put it on then approached the amazing group of people in the campsite next to mine. I remember seeing Keenan first and giving him an elbow bump while chuckling at the huge bottle of hand sanitizer on the table. Boy, did I miss my friends. Then I see Charlie’s blonde hair emerge from behind the kitchen tent where he was cooking up some delicious dinner and a huge smile forms across my face. Of course, no one sees it under my mask, but it’s ok; I smile well with my eyes. Then Adam, Michelle, and Roni pop out of their tents and are clearly ready to catch up after months of not seeing each other in person.
Hey friends, Lil’ Kim here - I’m a long time BroloNation member and was Keenan’s roommate for four years in our mid-20s after meeting at UCLA in the marching band our freshman year. Our tight-knit group of friends decided to combine the outdoors, vacation, and COVID guidelines together and go camping before the summer slipped away from us. I wanted to share a bit about our trip and how we had a great trip, even in COVID times, that will make 2020 hard to forget.
Los Prietos is just a short drive outside of Santa Barbara. The drive up from LA was refreshing with the road gliding along the coast giving us a great oceanside view the whole way there. We planned a 4 day camping trip during what we later found out was one of the hottest weekends of the summer in California. It's highly recommend to take the weather into account when planning. There was a significant fire risk this that weekend in Los Prietos, and our did everything we could to combat and mitigate that risk. We also couldn’t ignore the elephant in the room of 2020, that we were in the midst of a pandemic and still gathering in a sizable group, albeit entirely outside. So we ensured everyone was comfortable with the precautions we had in place and did our best to understand what each person’s boundaries were beforehand.
Brolo Tip #1 - COVID is real! Be safe
While your risk of transmitting COVID outside is lower, it's not zero. So, remind everyone to bring a mask and put hand sanitizer around the campsite, especially near food stations. Prior to the tip, discuss with your group how you can “pod” up to minimize food and supply sharing.
We ultimately divided up into 2 groups and each group had enough people to bring food and supplies. With planning ahead of time and masks and hand sanitizer available to everyone, it was easy to have a good time while making sure we were all safe.
Brolo Tip #2 - Plan a LIGHT Itinerary, but keep it flexible.
We had planned a few nearby hikes but ended up making a game time decision to skip them because of the heat. No worries though, because we has a some fun activities that everyone could partake in including:
Tie Dying white T Shirts
The best and easiest design for those who have never tie dyed is the classic spiral. Make sure people wear gloves to avoid dying their hands for a few days! Wet your white t-shirt, then make sure to wring out the water as much as possible. This will help the shirt retain the dye. After dying, put it in a gallon ziploc and let it sit for 12+ hours for the best results! See below for a few of our designs.
Supplies needed: White T Shirts, gloves, rubberbands, Tie Dye pack (got ours at Michael’s), big bucket, gallon ziplocs, and a plastic tarp to catch the dye runoff
Board / Social games that allow you to team up!
Sit safe distances apart and pick one or two people from each team to manipulate any game components necessary. This minimizes the amount of people touching game pieces while maximizing your teamwork and fun. Highly recommend the following games: Decrypto, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Spyfall, Codenames, Hanabi
Chill in a Hammock!
This was maybe my favorite activity of the trip. There’s nothing quite like relaxing in nature under the beautiful night stars. I know it’s not a group activity, but swinging in the hammock with a nice cold drink was the dream.
We luckily had a certified yoga instructor (shoutout to Brolonation’s Renee!) who led us in an intentional, last day, early morning yoga session that helped us clear our hearts and minds before we left camp. If you don’t have a yoga instructor as a friend, don’t let that stop you! Download an app, or pick a different form of exercise to enjoy in nature.
This Yoga session was a Brolo special session featuring poses that match some of the best selling Brolos, like the Eagle Pose, the Wolf Pose, the Tiger Pose, and the Bull Pose! Many thanks to our friend and yoga instructor, Renee, who personalized the yoga session with some creative pose development just for Brolonation.
After enjoying a campfire, take a walk and turn your gaze towards the immense night sky. There’s nothing like getting lost in the expansive night sky and seeing thousands of stars normally hidden from view to help ease the mind. There’s comfort to be found in a gentle reminder of how large the universe is and how small/insignificant some of the problems we can get hung up on are.
Brolo Tip #3 - Do your supply runs early in the morning
We made the mistake of doing our supply run mid-day, and as a result, by the time we made it to the stores the heatwave and blackout (yikes) meant ice couldn’t be found anywhere. You snooze, you lose!
Brolo Tip #4 - Protect your specs with a Brolo
Sunglasses are a must, but it’s easy to misplace your glasses around the campground. Camping is a doozy, you’re constantly doing things with your hands, and you’re out in nature. You gotta keep your glasses close and make sure you’re always looking good. Nothing better for that than your brolo.
I hope you learned something useful for camping in a safe way during a pandemic! With this virus refusing to go away, we may have another summer to polish off the camping gear, and make use of these great camping tips. I hope to see you out in nature. Keenan and Colin can vouch that whenever we get together it’s a guaranteed good time or a full refund will be issued.
Till next time!
P.S. Buy a Brolo so I can keep helping these guys make awesome content!