We love touching base with customers who really put our gear to the test. We sat down with Brandon Aquino and Gary Mead, two customers who are avid campers, and asked them for tips for the uninitiated and to share some of the experiences they’ve had along the way. Luckily for us, they’re both professional photographers so they could document the fun.

Gary Mead @itsinstagar
What is the single most important Front Runner gear item you need for summer camping? I would have to say my 45L water tank and shower arm. In the winter I can go a good few days without a shower but in the summer it's so nice to rinse off after a hot/sweaty day before passing out. How do you stay cool, aren’t you still hot? I usually try to camp near a lake or river when I know it's going to be a hot day so I can jump in or just spend the day in cool water. Best advice for beginners who’d like to camp in warmer temperatures? Lot's of cold drinks besides your beer! Water, coconut water, sports drinks etc. I have frozen all of my drinks before a trip to the desert which was great as well. Pick up a few of those facial sprays from Evian and toss those in your cooler too, feels great when the sun is blasting. Why do you enjoy camping so much? I love sleeping and waking up outside. The fresh air and mountains are a major mental reset for me. What’s been your greatest experience camping in summer and why? I was living in Hawaii and my friend Ola set me up with his extra gear so I could join my friends that were spending the weekend down on the beach. No agenda at all, listening to music, cooking meals together, sunrise dives with pods of dolphins and the most visible milky way I had seen. It was all so simple and I was hooked. I couldn't tell you how many times we woke up on that beach those summers. What was your worst summer camping experience that you learned from? Waking up in a tent hungover at a music festival when it was already close to 100 degrees out. Don't camp at a summer music festival. So you’re camping in the summer- how do you actually spend your days? Are there favorite activities? I bought a kayak last summer and that has been my favorite activity besides cooking and enjoying some relaxing time. I actually stayed out until 5 am the first night I got the kayak, staring up at the stars while floating in the middle of the lake during a meteor shower. It was pretty rad. How about driving tips to get there and back? Map out your drive and avoid major parks during holiday weekends. Keep an emergency box (just in case) and include water, snacks, coolant. Be sure to have a good spare tire.

 

 

Brandon Aquino @brandonsoutside
What is the single most important Front Runner gear item you need for summer camping?
For summer camping, it would be the awning. It’s easy to deploy which is a big plus so you can get into the shade quickly. How do you stay cool, aren’t you still hot? Good clothing helps you stay cool. Stick with synthetic fabrics that wick the sweat off. Best advice for beginners who’d like to camp in warmer temperatures? Stay hydrated, use sunscreen, and wear a hat. It’s no fun getting sunburned! Why do you enjoy camping so much? My parents brought me camping at an early age and it’s given me best the memories. Campfires, fishing, hiking were a few things that we enjoyed as a family and it’s those experiences that I love to share with others. It’s no different today- I camp because I enjoy the company of friends and creating awesome memories of being out there. What’s been your greatest experience camping in summer and why? Greatest summer camping experience would be the story of hammock camping up to the Sierra Nevadas. On this particular trip, my friend Mike, my brother, and I decided to camp in bear country. Over the campfire, we brought up bear stories and somehow it planted the seed of fear that night. We barely slept. All throughout the night, we were wide awake and we couldn’t shake the fear of being human burritos! Morning came and we laughed at how we scared ourselves. And yes, we were adults at the time. What was your worst summer camping experience that you learned from? Worst camping experience would be sleeping on the memory foam mattress in Trona, CA. Memory foam maintains heat and it becomes a terrible insulator to sleep on when the weather is hot. On that particular night, it was 85f or 29c. I couldn’t sleep it was so bad! I should have opted to sleep on a hammock or to change the mattress to something more comfortable. So you’re camping in the summer- how do you actually spend your days? Are there favorite activities? I like to camp up in the mountains and near water during the summer. My favorite summer activities would be photography, fishing, kayaking, and climbing if rocks are nearby. How about driving tips to get there and back? Plan your trips accordingly, especially if you plan on visiting places where it’s in the triple digits. Make sure you’ve got more than enough water should unexpected happen. Also keeping spare fluids like coolant and oil on hand for emergencies.

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