Mammoth Lakes, CA
Although I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I went camping as a kid. To say I would prefer glamping is a bit of an understatement. My ideal scenario for "camping" would be a warm bed decked out in rustic accessories and a beautifully done bathroom for a steaming shower at the end of an adventurous day of hiking, climbing, fishing or other. My husband on the other hand, grew up on a ranch, he not only loved camping growing up (and still does today) but chose on numerous occasions to camp in the backyard. For him, spending time in the outdoors is an essential part of recouping from our busy lives, so about a month after our wedding, when all the hustle and bustle subsided, we decided to use his new tent for the first time and go camping and fishing in one of his favorite places, Mammoth Lakes, California.
We decided about a week before the trip that we would be driving the 8 hours from San Diego to Mammoth and all we had was a tent, a cooler, and a couple of old sleeping bags. With that knowledge, I quickly took to google and my dear friend Amazon Prime to find a few items that would keep us (mostly me) comfortable for the weekend. Below are my favorite finds and although it didn't quite give the exact glamping accomodations that are upwards of 150/night, it did provide lots of comfort at a reasonable and price and bonus it can be reused for next time.
1. Mattress Pad
I insisted on a mattress pad...only I said it should be an air mattress because obviously those are more comfortable than foam. Well let me tell you from a miserable first hand experience, keeping air between the freezing ground and your warm bodies just sucks the heat right out of you and into the air mattress... coldest night of my life. Next time I plan to find a thick foam mattress or cot to try out. Stay tuned for the updates of how it works out. I've currently got my eye on these two for now. The LaidBack Pad Memory Foam Sleeping Pad, which can connect with others to make a bigger bed, or the Azurec Ultralight Portable Folding Bed, which keeps you a bit off the ground and is easy to store.
2. Portable Electric Pump
We planned a list of activities on the water and they required inflation. We were car camping so used our car to power the pump and away we went for our blow-up raft and float tube for fishing. If you plan to sit on a float on the lake, or maybe some camping furniture for around the site, this definitely comes in handy for both inflating AND deflating. They are super affordable at $10-$20 and who knows, maybe you'll want your glamp site to have a few of these. :-P
3. Double Sleeping Bag
Most of my co-workers and friends joke that I have about 1 degree of happiness, but in actuality, I'm constantly cold and when sleeping, I'd rather not sleep cocooned in a single sleeping bag and rather with my husband. I found this one and am in love. It keeps you toasty warm. Much better than the piles of blankets I used to use so that I could make a "bed" while camping. I imagine this one will also be handy when we go camping with our first little one down the line.
There is nothing worse than waiting what feels like hours to me to get a fire started on a cold night. (If you haven't picked up yet even though this trip to Mammoth was in August, the nights were FREEZING!). Instead of spending time with the hope and pray method that the wood you collected catches fire, I suggest the InstaFire. A Shark Tank product that has taken off and is amazing for literally get the spark going no matter where you are. Whether you are planning to cook dinner over the fire or just spend the night under the stars with some warmth, this stuff makes it much easier to enjoy the experience than freeze with a sputtering fire.
5. Plan Activities
Many camping spots have tons of water sports, fishing, hiking, kayaking and more. For us, it was all about hiking and fishing. We stopped at Bass Pro Shops on the way up to get me a starter rod and then stopped into a local fish shop in Mammoth to see what flies and bait the fish were biting. For any camping spot, I suggest doing some online research for some activities, but then stop in at a local spot for rentals or gear to find out some of the hidden spots. Avoid the high traffic spots and take in some of the best hidden views. In Mammoth, some of our favorite spots are Hot Creek for both hiking (more walking but still amazing) and fishing. If you are looking for a real trek up the mountain, Heart Lake gets you off the beaten path and into some places that are relatively untouched.