As a kid, I used to go camping with my family every summer. My mom, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma and I would load ourselves up into various vans and head down to a beachside state park to camp for a week or two every summer. We would go on early morning walks on the beach, hike up the rocky terrain, splash around in the warm waves of the Atlantic Ocean, grill burgers for lunch and roast marshmallows until they were blackened to the point of being nearly inedible. It was always such a low-key, inexpensive and amazing family vacation.
Then I grew up and realized how truly expensive camping can be.
As a 20-something year old, it was almost impossible to get together a group of friends to go camping, and when people did actually seem interested, no one had any of the necessary gear. We'd strategize how one of us would buy each piece of equipment and a sleeping bag, and we'd pull together our funds for one big tent, but it never happened.
And thus, I spent my "fearless" 20s – when I had a fairly flexible schedule – avoiding camping solely because of the cost. If only It's Borrowed had existed in the early aughts.
Now, I envy young millennials who, using a few clicks on the app, can round up everything they need to go camping for the weekend. When the wild starts to call your name, you no longer have to avoid it because you don't own the things that you need to set up your campsite.
Instead of buying a tent for $41.50 to $673.83, a stove for $34 to $400.02, a sleeping bag for $21.77 to $261.63 and so much more, why not just borrow it?
And if you have already invested in a garage full of camping gear, wouldn't it be great to let your stockpile of supplies make money for you while you're not using them?
Living in Southern California, there is no shortage of unique locations to go camping within a few hours long road trip.
This spring, a super bloom of wildflowers has made the Anza-Borrego Desert the go-to spot to camp for a weekend. Located two hours north east of San Diego, Anza Borrego is the largest state park in California spreading for 585,930 acres across San Diego, Riverside and Imperial county lines.
Home to Desert Big Horn Sheep, black-tailed jackrabbits, desert iguanas and kangaroo rats – to name a few species – the various plants that are in bloom right now include the fishhook cactus, desert chicory and the brittle brush.
Where to Camp: Reserve sites for the Anza-Borrego Desert online via Reserve America, or park in the unlimited camping available roadside. If choosing the latter option, make sure to camp no farther than one car's length from the road and more than 100 feet from any water source. More information about where to camp can be found on Hikespeak.com.
What to bring: Lots of water and sunscreen. Temperatures right now range from the mid-80s during the day to the in the low 50s at night, so pack light layers and hoodies, bring a sleeping bag and a tent. Many of the campsites are considered to be primitive and do not have fire pits, so if you want to have a campfire at night you will need bring a metal container to contain it in. You must pack all coals as trash, and dispose of them and all other trash outside of the park.
What to do: If you like hiking, then Anza-Borrego is the place for you. There are many trails in the park and nearby, but I suggest the 5.5 mile Hellhole Canyon trail, which leads to the Maidenhair Falls, and the .75 mile Cactus Loop trail if you prefer an easygoing walk. If you want to take a drive to see what else is nearby, check out the Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain.