Dispersed Camping In The Wilderness Was Easier Than Anticipated

What do you get when you combine two funny but very easily stressed out people, an awesome trailer and a wilderness trip neither was 100% prepared for? You get our next blog, of course. And even though I’m not sure why I introduced it like a 90’s movie advert, you’re in for a fun ride along hearing all about our latest adventure.

Rachel and I recently had the incredible chance to rent out a Pin Drop Travel Trailer from an Arizona-based company. To say this opportunity was huge would be an understatement, as these babies are a hot commodity, and for good reason. While I will get into the amenities shortly, let me just say that they take camping to a whole new level, and once you go Pin Drop you won’t go back.*

*I tried to find a rhyme but I was a glass of wine and a CBD gummy deep so please don’t judge. [EDIT: Rachel would like to add her own actual rhyme, “Once you go Pin Drop you won’t want to stop.”]

The lead-up to the trip could be labeled as stressful, more for Rachel because she was the one handling all of the logistics and therefore the adultier-adult if you will. While there were moments when we weren’t sure this adventure would happen, once we solidified the plans it was all uphill.

I drove down from Las Vegas intending to prove my ability to be a helpful wilderness explorer. Inside I was freaking out, mainly because I’ve not been without a shower or functioning toilet longer than 24 hours in a very long time. Rachel, on the other hand, was dealing with very realistic technicalities like figuring out how to get a hitch attached to her car, because these are things that you need to think about when you start hauling in the big leagues. We were hoping for a guy named Hal to come along and talk shop with us while he attached a “rig” as I like to call them for a very reasonable price, but the truth of the matter is Rachel had to shell out a couple of hundred dollars to a very tired-looking UHaul associate who was most likely overworked due to the holidays.

Once the hitch was installed, we hit the open road to Cottonwood, Arizona, where one of the headquarters lies. The owners were there to greet us and helped us hook everything up while showing us all the incredible amenities they have in each of their rentals. We showed up way later than anticipated, thanks to UHaul overbooking us and having the hitch ready four hours later than anticipated. The owners were super flexible about our timing difficulties, which was really helpful.

Finally, the rig was hooked up and we didn’t even have to fight any UHaul employees (by the time we left though I swear we were one of the boys, we’re all getting beers & wings at Hal’s place next week).

Let me rewind a bit to my arrival in Phoenix, so I can add some helpful pointers for preparing for a camping trip the likes of this. After a tasty dinner at a restaurant (we wanted to enjoy civilization as much as possible before we hit the dusty trail), we headed to a nearby grocery store to grab some food that would A.) keep in hot or cold weather, and B.) was easy to cook over a basic stove. If you’re planning on taking a caravan or camper van trip, or anything that offers a basic kitchen setup, some easy meals include pre-baked potatoes that you can then reheat, veggie burgers (since they won’t go off in a cooler), sandwich ingredients, grapes, hardboiled eggs, apples, any kind of baked bread (including banana bread or the like), and easy to enjoy snacks.

I cannot stress how perfect the pre-baked potatoes were and highly recommended bringing a few along on any camping trip. We also packed a couple of bottles of wine and sipped them while stargazing. Very romantic for our second company camping trip.

Don’t be fooled, we had to get up and struggle blindly around in nature to take a pee before we could get back in the camper for a romantic sunrise reading session.

We camped along FR689, there are a bunch of dispersed camping areas along that road and along nearby FR618 (dispersed camping guidelines for this area are linked here). The campsites were spread out, the fire ban in the area has been lifted for now, and by bringing our own provisions we had no need to stop in nearby towns. It was a perfect getaway, just us in nature with nothing to do but enjoy it.

I slept so well on this trip, and the morning views were something to write home about. After a hearty meal, a homemade fire, and some wine, we indulged in a great night’s sleep then awoke to a stunning sunrise over the desert hills. As we watched the sky change from pink to orange from inside the cozy camper, I reflected on how incredible it is to truly take a break from city life and immerse yourself in the wilderness. No noises or tv or internet to distract us, just nature’s paintbrush and a good friend to enjoy it with.

The next morning we woke early and hiked the Bell Trail, which was maybe two miles from our campsite. The hike to the Crack at Wet Beaver Creek was an amazing one, full of amazing red rock vistas, a beautiful creek surrounded by yellow and orange aspens, and tons of cool cacti and steep cliff faces. It was incredibly different than any of the other hikes we’ve done thus far, most closely resembling the famous West Fork Trail in Sedona.

I was wearing new boots and starting to question my friendship with Rachel during this hike, luckily she brought some Chewy granola bars as a peace offering.

We spent our second evening cooking, dancing around a campfire (you read that right, and no, I won’t elaborate… it’s better left in the desert). We finished off the evening reading inside our awesome little den, then caught another epic sunrise before heading back to civilization. This trip was hands down one of my favorite camping experiences in the world, thanks to several key points. Having a kitchen changed the game, and allowed us to bring plenty of (cookable) food so we didn’t have to head back to services constantly.

Finally, women where they belong: drinking a beer while cooking a baked potato out of the back of a trailer in the middle of nowhere.

The sleeping portion allowed us to keep warm and have basic necessities like electricity so we could function after dark. Did we have to pee outside and become one with nature? Sure. Was I great at it? No. But would I do it all again, and again? Yes. The best part and our biggest focus in this blog was the ability to travel without having to deal with overpopulated areas.

This self-timer picture is a tribute to Rachel’s vanity, like did you really need to be in this picture that badly bro?

Let me tell you, these things are the bee’s knees. Inside each one, you have a kitchen setup that sits at the back and includes a stove, sink, cooler, and lighting. Inside the trailer itself, there is a queen bed with the comfiest mattress you will ever sleep on (or at least the comfiest one attached to the back of a car), speakers, lights, and storage space in the form of cabinets. The camping game has changed my friends, and you will definitely want to be a part of this movement.

If you’re reading this and thinking: sure that all sounds lovely but my name is NOT Hal and I know nothing about hauling trailers, that’s ok. Neither did we. In fact, Rachel was having extreme anxiety about the prospect of hauling this thing behind her car. But the good news is, these things are a dream to drive and we even reversed, TWICE!

Campsite from night two, also the location where we warded off potential murders with our awful fireside dancing (watch the scene with Sandra Bullock dancing around a fire with Betty White in The Proposal for a good mental image)

For anyone looking into getting involved in camping during these trying times, I highly recommend checking out https://www.pindroptraveltrailers.com/ or similar companies in your area. The feeling of getting away from the stresses of daily life and immersing yourself in nature is so refreshing I might be making it a weekly ritual. You still get all the perks of an RV or basic cabin, but the freedom of being able to move from site to site and place to place is so much more fun. Trust us, we are both wound so tight with anxiety and came back feeling like we just had a weeklong yoga retreat, so we know what we are talking about.

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