Confession of a happy camper: I’m in it for the beers, food and fire

Confession of a happy camper: I’m in it for the beers, food and fire

By Anne Meisner Synnesvedt

What I love most about hiking, is actually when I stop. It’s a paradox – I know it. It took me some time to realize it. And even more, time to say it loud. But when I think about the adventures I’ve done this year, the first things that come to my mind are not the magnificent mountains in Greenland or the clear water in the huge lake outside Copenhagen. 

It’s the popping sound of a beer being opened and the crackle of the bonfire. The smell of a simple dry-food-pasta-carbonara, and watching stars with loved ones wrapped in sleeping bags. Of course, a major part of it is the shaking and tired legs, the sunburned face, and the feeling that ‘you really deserve this extra piece of chocolate’. 

But there is no need to hold it back anymore. I’m not mainly in the outdoor universe because of the long and exhausting hikes. I’m in it for the camping part. My name is Anne Meisner, I am a happy camper, and I am proud of it. 

Keep on reading and I will bring you along to three very different camps I made the past year. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

KOBBEFJORDEN, GREENLAND: A home with a (fucking amazing) view

 

Half a year ago I made a big decision. I quit my job in Copenhagen and moved to the capital of Greenland, Nuuk. In the last six months, it has been snowy, sometimes around minus 30 degrees chill factor, and crazy storms. But now the snow has started melting and spring is sneaking in from behind in the mountains. 

Through the winter, I have prepared my gear for adventures in the arctic summer. I bought a new sleeping bag, a tent with mosquito windows, and a double inflatable mat, so my boyfriend and I can sleep together without the risk of waking up laying the cold crack.

Now – the end of May – the temperatures are only about minus two degrees in the night, and I decided it was time to go on a micro-adventure to check out my new gear.

Chocolate, jetboil, and fleece

On top of the new gear, I added the most necessary to make a perfect arctic-wilderness-home: plenty of chocolate, a well-reviewed book, the boiler (a Jetboil Flash), and my deeply loved Patagonia-fleece. Of cause, we also packed one thing that was preeeeetty essential in this area too: an emergency rocket to protect us from potential polar bears. I didn’t really think it would be necessary, but after a friend told me, that a bear was seen in the area a few years ago, I just couldn’t get the ‘what if’-question out of my head.

We hiked for four hours that day. The landscape changed character from green heather to deep wet snow. When we stopped for the day, it was way earlier than planned. I had no objections – it just prolonged the camping period. 

We built the camp early afternoon and had plenty of time to hang out, read books in the sun, and drink coffee before dinner. Absolutely perfect. We ate a dry-food-risotto from ‘Adventure Menu’. It was pretty expensive and to be honest it wasn’t that good. 

But even a bad risotto can be good when you are having it on a rock down by the water covered in your sleeping bag looking at sky-high mountains.

Six things I wouldn’t have been without on this trip:

Emergency rocket, the book ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Dalia Owens, ‘Mountain Equipment Glaicer 1000 Sleeping’-bag, white sheep-look-a-like fleece from Patagonia, ‘Klymit Double Insulated V’-sleeping mat, and ‘Tatonka Grönland 3 Vent’-tent.

FURESØ, DENMARK: Fire, food, and beers

I have always loved to cook outside. Last year, my friends and I actually made a thing out of it. We met a couple of times after work, bought the stuff we needed for dinner, and headed to a nearby forest.

One of my absolutely favorite places to do that is at the lake ‘Furesø’ near Copenhagen. It takes about 20 minutes by train, then 10 minutes by bike, and before you know it you are surrounded by green beech trees in front of the deepest lake (34 m) in Denmark. Simply amazing. 

Another pretty amazing thing about this place is that there are so many cute and cozy fireplaces around the lake. If you are taking a walk by the hilly shore, you can easily find your own unique and favorite spot. Perfect for a happy camper like me. 

When I cook in nature, I always make an effort to turn the campsite into a kitchen. Sometimes I use falling woods as a chopping board, find herbs in the forest, and use the branches around me to start the fire. 

When I tell people about our ‘cook in the forest’-thing I often hear them respond something like; “That sounds amazing, but it takes too much time, to make food over fire”. I wouldn’t agree though. With the right planning, it’s not that bad, and I am sure that the energy you get out of it is much more worth than the time you anyway (probably) would have spent in front of the TV instead.

We often arrive in the forest at 5 pm, open the first beer at 5:01, and start the fire around 6 pm. Then we prepare dinner while we chatting for an hour until we 6:30 sit with pasta bolognese in one hand and another beer in the other.

Six things I wouldn’t have been without on this trip:

IPA beers, pot (the one to make food in), my Bluetooth loudspeaker, a really sharp knife, my jente-cup, and a warm woolen sweater to fight the evening chill.

TOUR OF MONT BLANC, SWITZERLAND: The light packer

The last camp I wanna give a shout out is from a fantastic tour I did last summer. Through France, Italy, and Switzerland I hiked around the great massive of Mont Blanc. The road was long, bomby, and the “ups and downs” were endless – both the mental and the physical ones. Because of the tough route, we had to pack as light as possible meaning nerdy lightweight gear and in general just a few things  – pretty sad for a happy camper. 

Nevertheless, I did bring a few things that a professional light-packer-person definitely would have left at home. A loudspeaker for music and podcast, a book, tons of snacks, and some extra camp-shoes and lazy pants. 

And even though I could have killed myself while hiking with a 15 kilogram-heavy backpack in harsh sun and up, up, up to 1500 meters elevation a day, it was all worth it when we stopped in the eve. My camp-goal for the entire trip was to see something extraordinary as the first thing every morning. And so I did. We slept at steep hillsides, deep valleys, and in thick fog. 

Six things I wouldn’t have been without on this trip:

Vango Banshee 300 tent, instant coffee, sneakers, my bluetooth loudspeaker, playing cards, extra camp-shoes for the night.

As I mentioned in the beginning: It took me some time to realize just how important the camping-part is when I’m adventuring. After I found out that ‘that’s my thing’ it has been so much easier for me to pack and plan. Now, I know that I will always prioritize the less-important-but-cozy-stuff and hence accept to carry a little extra weight. At the end of the day, it’s a cheap price to pay for memories for life (and good pics for the gram ofc).

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