May 19 2014 05:41 PM

Summer essentials for road trips, camping trips or trips to the beach

The Wilder bag by Bradley Mountain
The Wilder bag by Bradley Mountain

Whether you're going camping or shipping off (or getting shipped off) to camp, summer's the time to sit back, relax and stop complaining about these things I keep hearing about called "May gray" and "June gloom." Because, as I write this, it's 94 degrees, and my cat is licking droplets from the bathtub. Besides, your random partly cloudy days are no match for the impending deluge of Daisy Dukes (of Hazzard) and Shutter Shades (oh, you know, those stupid-ass sunglasses that Kanye wears).

Here's a way better list of summer essentials that are perfect for wherever the road takes you.

Pack it

Enamelware has a great reputation for standing the test of time—and heat. Made of porcelain and steel, people like the fact that enamelware retains its color throughout its lifetime. You can pretty much do anything to it (except maybe drop it—even then, it still wouldn't break), which is probably why it's making a comeback. Falconware's limited-edition tumblers ($9.50 each) at Pigment (3801 30th St. in North Park) are stackable and surprisingly lightweight. While you're there, grab a foldable barware set from Henley Brands to ensure proper (de)-hydration if you get lost while trekking through the woods. 

Eat it

Back in the day, choosy moms chose Jiff. Now that I'm all growns up, I'm choosing not to fill myself or my kid with sugar and artificial preservatives. Yes, I take peanut butter very seriously. I've recently pushed my love of nut butter to a new level by exploring locally made options—Pacific Beach Peanut Butter being one of my new faves. For a protein-packed, sugar-free snack, go with the Organic Valencia blend ($8.99). No need for a delivery system (bread) here—eat it right from the jar. Pick it up at a farmers market and eat it while you walk. Seriously. The consistency is a little different than the Jiffs and Skippys of the world. It's just ground nuts (a mix of salted and unsalted), after all. But it tastes real. 

Beef jerky isn't really my thing; I'm usually immediately turned off by the insanely high sodium content. Jerky's Gourmet of San Diego, a mainstay at farmers markets around town, was acutely aware of this problem and has created a line of low-sodium, artificial-preservative-free meat sticks made of 100-percent grass-fed beef. OK, my interest is piqued. Oh, and they have a line of alcohol-infused jerky that uses local beers? I'm in! If you're a fan of IPAs, you're going to dig how the malty flavor of the Craft Beer jerky ($7.99) really develops as you chew. Chipotle Tequila ($7.99) packs way more punch and is definitely the more adventurous choice if you're looking for something different. Perfect for traveling, these things really stand up to extreme conditions like heat and sweaty gym bags. 

Sling it

Speaking of bags, but not sweaty ones, you simply can't head out on the road without something durable and large enough for all your snacks and accessories. Men, San Diego-based Bradley Mountain has your back, literally, with a couple of options that should totally help you with that—and with the whole looking sexy and rugged thing. The Scout ($150) is a versatile day pack made of heavyweight canvas that should last through the ages. The Wilder ($450) is a bigger, badder, put-everything-you-could-possibly-need-to-live-like-a-nomad type of bag. Put one of these bad boys on, and you're all, like, "I just tamed a crocodile in the outback—would anyone care for a meat stick?" 

The ladies would benefit from getting to know Boutonne—also San Diego-based—specifically its line of leather-bottomed tote bags. Every woman I've shown this bag to has wanted it immediately. The Reverse Mills Tote ($149) is totally handmade—as is every single product you order—and its combination of oiled leather and reverse denim makes it a sophisticated, lightweight option for summertime adventures. 

Got tips on local retail? Write to or follow her on Twitter at @polinjun.


See all events on Wednesday, Dec 7