Editor’s Note: This is a special edition to ModernJeeper from our friends at Kamp-Rite.
A couple of weeks ago, we heard the California coast calling our name so we had to go. Specifically, the coastline of Bodega Bay, which became the site of our latest quarterly camping trip.
Every few months, we like to turn off our computers and trade in the day-to-day grind of the office for a weekend out in nature, allowing us to take our latest gear for a spin and also reflect on why we started Kamp-Rite in the first place—to elevate your experience.
These trips also give us the opportunity to show you how the Kamp-Rite team camps and pass along any ideas or tips that you can use for you own outings. For this trip, the Kamp-Rite team brought along a total 10 weekend warriors (plus a little pup adventurer!) for a full-on group/family-style excursion, which proved to be the perfect number—big enough for a good time, but small enough to keep the logistics from getting too crazy.
- 1 Double Tent Cot
- 2 CTC Doubles
- 2 Oversize Tent Cots
- 1 CTC Standard
- 1 CTC XL
- 1 Kwik Set Table with Benches
- 1 Kwik Pantry With Cook Table
- 2 Kamp-Rite Ice Chests (coming soon!)
- 1 Folding Rocking Chair
- 2 Double Folding Chairs
- 1 Director’s Chair with Side Table
- 1 Director’s Chair with Side Table & Cooler
- 1 Chair with Detachable Footrest
- 2 Folding Chairs with Lumbar
- 1 Lounge Chair
- 1 Kwik Set Hammock
- 1 Privacy Shelter
- 3 Overnighter Two-Person Sleeping Bags
- 2 Kitimat Mummy Sleeping Bags
- 1 3-in-1 Sleeping Bag
- 1 Camper 4 Sleeping Bag
Pro tip: Always reserve your campsite, if possible.
Spring weather can often be fickle, but this season has been particularly temperamental. A few weeks before the trip, we made a reservation for an earlier date that we ended up losing due to the rain. As a result, we decided to wait and see how the weather would pan out before making another reservation. Unfortunately, we waited a little too long and were unable to make one, so a few of us decided to head out a day before the main group to ensure we could find an unassigned campsite before the weekend crowds rolled in.
After wrapping things up at the office on Thursday afternoon, we packed our gear into our cars, hopped on I-80 West and headed toward the Pacific in caravan fashion. One of the many great things about living in Sacramento, California, is the city’s central location relative to many popular natural attractions, such as Lake Tahoe to the east and the coast to the west. Our journey took us past Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, through Petaluma, and out to Doran Beach, where we arrived in just over two hours.
Pro tip: Be ready for the unexpected.
As hoped, we were able to find an open campsite on the beach amid stunning views of Bodega Bay and quickly set up camp. Alas, though the location was beautiful, Doran Beach was not meant to be. Once again, the weather proved influential—intense gusts of wind peppered the campsite all throughout the remainder of the day and it only grew worse post-sunset. By the time the sun showed its bright face the next morning, we knew we had to relocate before the rest of our camping group arrived that evening, lest we all get blown out to sea.
In between spatters of cell phone reception, we were able to look up campgrounds in the surrounding area and happened on Casini Ranch, an historic family campground on the Russian River about a half hour drive up the coastline in Duncans Mills.
The Casini Family has lived in the area that is now Casini Ranch for four generations, beginning in 1881, when Bartolomeo and Anastasia Casini settled in the area around Duncans Mills. Their son, Paul Anthony Casini, worked as the dairy manager on the land that is now Casini Ranch for the La Franchi family, which at the time owned the dairy ranch. From 1928 to 1932, Paul Anthony Casini bought out the La Franchi’s shares in the dairy ranch until becoming its sole owner. Over the next 33 years, people visiting the area would often express an interest in going to the Russian River to fish, which led Paul Anthony Casini to grant access to the river through the property. In 1965, Paul’s son, George Casini, began the process of turning the 110 acre parcel bounded by the Russian River and Moscow Road into what is now Casini Ranch Family Campground.
It wasn’t our original plan, but we were intrigued by the campground’s history, and its proximity to Bodega Bay meant we could easily continue our planned coastal exploration and relaxation. After checking for campsite vacancies, we drove over to Casini Ranch, enjoying spectacular views along Highway 1. Once at Casini Ranch, we checked in and made our way to our assigned campsite, which exceeded our expectations. Completely encased by trees and bushes rising over 50 feet high, the campsite offered ample space for all our weekend warriors and their gear, along with the privacy to make it feel like it was just us at the campground—not to mention, it was wind-free! We texted the rest of our group the new location and began setting up camp until their arrival in the evening.
It wasn’t long before the rest of our party arrived and the weekend outing truly began in earnest. We helped everyone set up their Tent Cots, got a campfire going, and gathered around in our various Kamp-Rite chairs–along with some nice, cold beers– to catch up with the group. Meanwhile, the more culinary-gifted among us went about preparing our first dinner of the weekend, grilled chicken fajitas. Storytelling quickly ensued and this went on until it was time to call it a night, hop into our Tent Cots, and lull into a deep sleep, the kind that’s only possible under a starry sky, removed from our luminous, digital distractions.
The following day, we awoke to a beautiful, crisp morning. Breathing in that distinct coastal air interlaced with forest pine filled our bodies with vigor to conquer the day ahead of us—or perhaps it was the comfortable night’s sleep we got in our off-the-ground Tent Cots. In any case, we pulled up a seat to our Kwik Set Table with Benches and started off the day with a delicious assortment of pastries from Wild Flour Bread and pour-over coffee from Temple Coffee, one of our favorite coffee roasters in Sacramento.
Once breakfast was complete, we loaded up some gear into a truck and headed out to the coast for our first adventure of the day, making a quick stop along the way to pick up a batch of fresh salmon from a local roadside stand. A few minutes later, we set foot on the sandy beaches of Goat Rock, which lies by the mouth of the Russian River. We spent the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon on the beach playing bocce ball, kicking around a soccer ball, taking photos and just enjoying the scenic shoreline with good company.
Eventually, hunger catches up to even the most ardent of explorers, so at lunchtime, we packed up our gear and headed further south down to Lucas Wharf where we stopped at Fisheterian Fish Market. If you’re ever in the area, you absolutely need to make a stop here and try their “Shane’s Fish Tacos.” We don’t know who Shane is, but he certainly got the recipe down right—grilled Fresh Rock Fish served with a fusion of chipotle mayo and cilantro lime sauce, topped with fresh cilantro, green onions, and accompanied by a wedge of fresh avocado, lime, shredded cabbage and a side of specially blended Pico de Gallo, all on top of mild-red chili flour tortillas made in Sacramento by the Madrid family.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Bodega Bay without eating oysters. Our favorite were Fisheterian’s Maui Wowie Oysters—large sized, barbecued oysters served with house-made Asian fusion sweet & spicy sauce and topped with cilantro and green onions. We seriously could have stayed here all weekend eating our hearts out.
After lunch, we made a quick stop up the street at The Tides Wharf to pick up fresh clams, oysters and wine for the trip’s final dinner, then headed back to our campsite.
By the time we returned to Casini Ranch, the sun had begun its descent into that golden hour of the day where the harsh intensity of the sunlight fades into a glowing embrace. We took this opportunity to head down to the bank of the Russian River, which was only steps away from our campsite, and set up the Kwik Set Hammock, a Kwik Table and a few Folding Chairs to relax and take in the final hours of sunlight as our trip neared its apex.
Upon returning to the campsite from the river, it was time to enjoy our final night together in style. Out came the bottles of wine and trays of cheese and charcuterie, along with a few Old-Fashioned cocktails to toast to a great weekend. Dinner soon followed: a grand feast consisting of grilled trip-tip and salmon served with seasoned vegetables, potatoes, and the fresh oysters and clams picked up earlier in the day. Of course, it wouldn’t be proper camping without a round of s’mores, which we dully roasted to cap off an amazing trip. We wrapped the night up by giving each of our weekend warriors a Pull for Adventure tag, a little keepsake to commemorate a great adventure together.
Few things are dreaded as much as packing up on the final day of a trip, but thanks to the innovative design of Kamp-Rite gear, we were able to wrap everything up quickly and painlessly. We said our goodbyes to our friends and hit the road refreshed, reenergized, and ready to resume our daily grind.
Till next time!