Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Pretty Campers Club

My daddy would have been proud. Everyone else was just stunned.

When I crawled out of the tent, my friends stopped and cocked their heads, like they had just discovered a new creature on the shores of Lake Powell in Utah. One with polkadot markings.

Or perhaps my fluffy parasol clashed with the sand, lake muck and last night's campfire smoke.
Finally, someone spoke: "You look like love child of 'The Mickey Mouse Club' and 'I Love Lucy.'"
It was true. And totally my intention.

I was wearing a red-and-white polka-dot vintage-style bathing suit from West Side Sinners in Denver ( and an oversized white hat, in addition to the umbrella, which matched my skirt.

Sounds high maintenance. But it was quite the opposite. I had the lightest bag in the group, and I was also the only face to not get sun-fried, thanks to my double decker umbrella-hat fortress.

You see, fashion involves much more than simply putting on clothes. It spans the entire process of visual self-expression, including what you choose to use, how you use it and why. And person's fashion consciousness is amplified when condensed into a tiny duffel bag.

I have packing down to a precise equation: multi-purpose. Everything must hinge around one color and style scheme, maximizing style options and minimizing space.

For my dad, the bottom line is lightweight. He and his buddies have a club, the Rocky Mountain Titanium and High Tech Devices Backpacking Club. Because my dad worked in IT for 30 years, he insists I use the acronym RMTAHTDBC.

The RMTAHTDBC prides itself in low-weight, but not minimalist, packing. Points are awarded for the coolest devices that are invented in the garage, always involving duct tape. For example, piece of foam that quadruples as a chair, pillow, table and hat would be considered top-of-the-line couture.

Your overall pack weight earns the most points. Any pack weighing more than 35 pounds is an embarrassment. My brother's once came in at 20 pounds. Granted, he slept under the stars -- and later the hail -- without a tent, but that just elevated his style status.

Unlike my hail-beaten brother, my secondary objective for outdoor packing is to shield myself (and expensive hair dye) from said outdoors. A massive sunhat is a must, such as the wide-brim Jeanne Simmons hats for $29 at Paper Doll, 1141 Pearl St. in Boulder. My fave is the 7-inch-wide black-and-white striped wire brim hat, which comes with a matching handbag.

Some hats even boast 50 SPF and can fold into a tiny wad. Check out for more of the glory.

For a slightly smaller but still ridiculously awesome 5-inch brim hat, check out the Raffia Exotic Hat by Tropical Items Madagascar (, a Boulder-based retailer of handmade, fair-trade crafts made in Madagascar.

A portion of all sales goes to the nonprofit Hope for Madagascar, which aims to improve the lives of the Malagasy people and their country. Find the raffia hat at Boulder and Beyond Art, 1211B Pearl St., for $39.99. It comes in 12 colors, including dusty pink.

Which just so happens to match my Lake Powell parasol and skirt.

I think I need to start my own club: The Rocky Mountain Pink Parasol and Pretty Campers Club.


No comments:

Post a Comment