Monthly Archives: June 2019

Items to Bring to a Festival in Retrospect

I just got back from one of the US’s largest music festivals of the year, Bonnaroo. There’s not much more that I can say about the festival itself other than you’ve got to go to understand the love, positivity, and amazingness that humans can bring together in one weekend.

A big part of the experience is camping out among tens of thousands of festival attendees, and that means for 4 to 5 nights straight. This can be a hectic and unsettling experience for people new to that sort of thing, but I can guarantee that over 90% of people who visit Bonnaroo learn to love what it means with getting to know your neighbors, being out in the wilderness, and adapting to a totally new way of life for 5 days of the year.

With that comes learning what to bring each year, though, and every single time I go, I notice something that would be extremely convenient for the next year. Here’s a few of the items I’ll be bringing to Bonnaroo next year and every year forward:

Storage bins.

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN

Shipping supplies and boxes and whatnot are something a lot of people don’t expect to bring to a campsite, but you wouldn’t believe how useful an organized set of storage boxes actually is. By the end of the weekend, I was searching for a few items and taking up more time and stress than was needed, so next year I’ll be looking at different office and shipping supplies such as cardboard boxes and plastic storage bins.

Lanyard koozies.

Didn’t know these were a thing until this year, but it’s exactly what you think it is: a lanyard that hangs around your neck and has a foam pouch for your beer to hang from your neck while keeping your hands free. They looked cool and were super useful.

Sun reflector.

I’m looking into getting a big one of these for next year in order to reflect the morning sun away from my camp in the mornings. It’s not just the light that bothers you, though; it’s the heat that can be brutal and cause you to lose precious sleep.

Comfortable and supportive shoes.

This should seem like a no brainer, but a lot of people like me know how great Tevas and Chaco sandals can be. The problem is, at night or during particularly long days of being on your feet, very comfortable shoes are a godsend when you just want your feet to not hate you. I made the mistake of bringing an old pair of tennis shoes this year when I should’ve had a better pair for standing and walking all day at times.

DIY Jerky Pt. 1

Making your own things, whether it’s related to your home, your entertainment, or what you consume, is always going to be cheaper and more rewarding than purchasing it from other people. The downside to all of this, though, is that you have to spend more of your time.

Think about it, though. If there was no downside (i.e., time and effort), then everyone would be making their own stuff and businesses wouldn’t exist. That’s why the saying time is money is and always will be true: because if it’s more convenient and quicker for you to have someone else do it for you, they will for money.

I’m always an advocate for DIY, however. Wood projects? Do it on your own. Dinner? Cook it yourself. No matter what it is, I’ll try to do it on my own before paying someone else unless it’s a highly specialized thing that I just cannot do on my own.

One of those things I’ll be making this week is my own beef jerky. First off, jerky prices are absolutely insane when you think about it. Whether you’re having it sent to you in some shipping boxes online (which is arguably cheaper than getting it from any local store) or buying it off of shelves, jerky is priced way too highly for a lot of products that are subpar or worse.

Instead, I prefer to make my own jerky. While it does involve some time and patience, it always ends up turning out tastier than anything I’ve ever bought from a store and I save more money doing it. I really don’t know why I don’t make it more often.

The biggest thing to keep in mind when making your own jerky is the cut of meat you’ll be purchasing and curing and the type of cure/seasoning/salts you’ll be using to actually cure it before dehydration.

Those factors are what determine the flavor more than anything (and even the consistency and toughness). Perhaps you want to go for a slightly fattier cut of meat, or maybe you want something leaner. That’s where you’ve got some give and take in the process to perfect what suits your own taste buds. For me, I prefer a specific brand of seasoning and cure salts that I order online. So, when I see those shipping boxes arrive at my house, I know it’s go time and the jerky will be aflowin’ within days.

DIY is Better Than Paying Someone Else Extra

When it really comes down to it, I’m a DIY kind of guy. I didn’t use to be this way, first off. In fact, I was pretty big on buying things premade simply because time was more valuable to me than anything. If I had to do it myself, I’d pass on it. I felt my money got a lot more mileage out of buying me more time and less work.

Well, that was the lifestyle before. But the past few years have shown that I’m actually far more inclined to do my own work and put my own time towards something if it means saving money. Don’t ask me what changed, honestly. I think it was just maturity and aging that made me realize my money was worth saving for other things, especially since doing things on my own has taught me how to be better at those very tasks.

That’s why I do my own packaging if I’m going to ship a few boxes to some family or friends. I know that a lot of shipping stores will offer to do it for you and package for you, but I find that rates are higher this way. Instead, I try to gather what shipping supplies I do have and put those to use for shipping by packing the boxes all up, taping it off, printing my labels out, slapping them on, and simply paying for shipping once I arrive to the shipping drop off location. By using my own shipping supplies, I’m able to save by buying in bulk and staying away from others doing the work for me.

This is exactly why I’ve begun to do my own stuff with wood working, repairing things around the house, changing my own oil, and always cooking my own food. Sure, others can do those things for you, but it always comes at a price that I just cannot justify when I know I could tackle it on my own with a little bit of patience, time, and learning.

It’s no wonder my dad has done all this stuff on his own from the get go. I’m beginning to understand what makes a conscious homeowner when these tasks are concerned. Rather than have others handle your problems at a price, just do it yourself. There’s no easier way to put it than that. Is it easier for you to just shell out extra for someone else to do it? Yes. Is that the way you want it done, though? Probably not.