My Secret Campsite: Jeff Roberts

Peak-bagging and campfires with Mission Workshop’s co-owner

By Diane Rommel

A Weekend of Peak-Bagging and Campfires With Jeff Roberts of Mission Workshop
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14 November 2017

As the co-owner and creative director of Mission Workshop, Jeff Roberts makes clothes we love to wear.

They’re designed to go anywhere: Boardroom. Bar. Bishop, California.

The latter is where you’ll find Roberts’s favorite campsite, an underrated spot called Horton Creek with views of snowcapped peaks and great access to all manner of climbing route.

InsideHook: What’s your favorite secret campground?

Jeff Roberts: Horton Creek Campground in Bishop, CA. I started going there because I’m a climber, and Bishop is a destination for all types of climbing. Over the years, though, I’ve begun to appreciate this campground in its own right, for its unique position, with dramatic, sweeping views of the Sierras to the west and the White Mountains to the east. It’s especially picturesque this time of year, when snow starts returning to the high peaks. Even though it takes some time to get there, the drive is a pleasure, with a continual flow of interesting sights over the passes and along the eastern side of the Sierra. Horton Creek is also a great home base for a number of amazing hikes in the Bishop area, including the Palisades, Buttermilks/Druid Stones, Rock Creek and many others.

IH: What's your favorite camping meal?

JR: I’m not a big fan of dehydrated meals, so I try to get some fresh veggies even when camping and backpacking. If I had to pick one favorite, it would probably be pasta primavera (recipe below) with lentils, olive oil, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast. Zucchini, bell peppers, onions and garlic keep well without refrigeration — and this meal can be cooked in one pot. If you’re on a backpacking trip lasting more than three or four days, the fresh veggie option becomes less practical, and dehydrated food becomes a more important part of the mix. And then peanut butter or SunButter cups for dessert.

IH: What do you sleep in? 

JR: I get cold easily when I sleep, so I usually sleep in a 15-degree synthetic fill Marmot bag even when it’s 40 or 50 degrees out at night. I also bring a pair of down booties for extra nighttime happiness.

IH: What do you like to wear?

JR: I wear my Mission Jeans pretty much every day in fall, winter and spring, whether I’m camping or not. I usually also wear a cotton/polyester blend T-shirt — poly manages moisture, cotton helps take the edge off of that plastic-bag feeling poly can get — and layer with a Marmot Driclime Windshirt and some sort of big Primaloft puffy jacket, especially on cold nights. I always bring a beanie and gloves, because putting them on (or taking them off) is the easiest way to regulate core temperature.

IH: And how do you spend your time?

JR: When I’m camping, it’s usually connected in some way to climbing. It could be rock climbing, bouldering or bagging a peak. There’s nothing better than getting back to the campsite after a full day, when your muscles are spent and your fingertips are screaming, eating a bowl of pasta and sitting by the campfire with your friends or family, just chatting about nothing and staring at the flames of a campfire and contemplating the endlessness of the multiverse. It never gets old.

Recipe for pasta primavera:

I like using a pasta that cooks quickly, like orzo or angel hair.

Boil water in a pot and cook the pasta.

Rough chop the veggies.

When the pasta is 3-4 minutes from being done, throw in the veggies and a can of drained lentils, or any canned beans. (If you’re backpacking, omit the lentils or bring dried lentils if you have enough time and fuel to cook them).

When the pasta is done, drain the pot and stir in the olive oil, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast. Finish off with a dusting of sweet paprika and squeezed lemon.

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