Every year, Americans gather to celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks, beer, burgers, and bunting aplenty. It is righteous indeed to commemorate the date on which our revered forefathers officially stated their intent to cleave from Britain and form “a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” (thank you Abraham Lincoln’s peerless Gettysburg Address). However, even this finest, most hallowed of holidays can become rather blasé after years and years of the same beer ‘n burger celebrations.
So this year, if you’re looking for a unique new way to celebrate America’s birthday, why not take advantage of one of your country’s greatest resources: the American wilderness!
Camping out is a great way to have a great time that’s both memorable and affordable, and with a bit of planning, it can be a uniquely American experience, too.
PATRIOTIC CAMPSITE CUISINE
The Main Course
Go ahead and gobble up all the trail mix and granola bars and whatnot you can stand, but when you camp out over the 4th of July, you need to enjoy at least one epic, manful, American meal. And that meal, sir, will be anchored by the Davy Crockett. This tasty meat-rich meal is remarkably easy to make, especially if you prepare the ingredients ahead of time. Just note that it requires refrigeration to keep the meat safe, so either eat it as soon as you make camp or bring a cooler with you. Also note that the recipe below serves one, so scale it as you need:
- 1/3 Pound Ground Beef
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Onion
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper
- 1/4 Cup Shredded Cheese
- Spices (Red Pepper, Black Pepper, Paprika, Whatever Else
OK and here’s what you do: mix all the stuff up into a patty, wrap it in tinfoil (be generous with the foil so you retain juices), and jam that sumbitch right into the coals of your campfire. Leave it in there for about 10 minutes, then pull it out (with tongs or a stick, mind you) and unwrap pure American deliciousness. (If you want your meat well done, or if it just isn’t cooked enough, as cooking with coals is not a precise method, back in it goes.) Feel free to cook potatoes, corn, and other eats in this method, too.
What sweet do you eat on a 4th of July camping trip? Dude… you eat s’mores. The simplest answer is always the best, right? Right. So, for the three of you not in the know, here’s the 4-1-1 on the s’more:
- Graham Crackers
- Chocolate Bar (better make it a Hershey’s)
Roast a marshmallow over the fire, then sandwich it between graham crackers with a layer of chocolate on one or both sides. Allow for brief melting. Eat. And sure, go ahead and try fancy varieties like flavored crackers, varieties of chocolate (like cayenne pepper infused chocolate FTW) and such.
Not only is the Old Fashioned an American original, but it is considered by many to be the OG of all cocktails worldwide. The simple recipe (in fact there are many varieties, but all are similar) can be traced to early 19th Century New York, and by the middle of the century, people everywhere were enjoying this new “cocktail” concoction, which remains popular to this day. And thanks to its elegant simplicity, an Old Fashioned can be prepared prior to your excursion and then enjoyed at the campsite.
Our Campsite Cocktail Old Fashioned is a simple twist on the original. For each serving you’ll need:
- 2 Ounces Whiskey (Bourbon or Rye)
- 2 Dashes Angousta Bitters
- 1 Sugar Packet (easier than a cube when you’re roughing it!)
- 1 TBSP Water (sourced and filtered from that nearby stream?)
- An Orange
Pre-mix the whiskey and bitters, if you’d like. At the campsite, mix in the sugar and water with the booze, then cut a wedge of fresh orange. Squeeze a few drops in, drop the rest of the slice into the glass (or mug or what-have-you) and enjoy.
HAVE A SEAT, AMERICA STYLE
Assuming you’re not trekking too far overland to reach your 4th of July campsite, then treat yourself to a bit of American respite with this US Flag Folding Chair from Quik Chair. It comes with a carrying bag complete with a shoulder strap, features two built-in cup holders, and at last check it’s priced at just $17.49 per chair.
Why they didn’t just go ahead and price the thing at $17.76, we’ll never know. But hey, a good deal is a good deal, so go ahead and show some pride as you take a load off. Or you could just sit on the ground and love America anyway.
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
When camping in the wilderness, a safe, well-monitored campfire is a great way to stay warm, keep things cozy and festive, and cook your food. Fireworks, on the other hand, are a great way to start a wildfire that ruins both your holiday and untold acres of priceless habitat at the same time. So lets avoid using them. Even sparklers have no place in the woods. But glowsticks? Those babies couldn’t hurt a fly! Unless you used one like a little bat and went around hitting flies, but you probably won’t do that. Red, white, and blue glowsticks are safe and patriotic at the same time, so use them as bracelets, necklaces, or hang them around your campsite (clean up later!) to bring some safe American luminescence to the evening.