Head South, Young Man – Camping Baja-Style.

It’s a rite of passage for any California surfer–the Baja California surfing campout. Far from home, in a foreign country with excellent waves–the possibilities are limitless. There are hundreds of spots to pitch a tent, surf until your arms are jellified, and do basically whatever the hell you want to do (within the law, of course, which in Mexico isn’t saying all that much).

The typical campsite in Baja California looks something like this: The winch-equipped, ultra-reliable four-wheel-drive vehicle is positioned smartly on the northern side of the camp. The vehicle is parked there to block the prevailing northerlies, leaving the camp free of tent-tossing wind. On the southern side of the camp, a rock-lined pit accommodates a nightly fire. The fire is not right next to tents, wetsuits, gas cans, boards, or anything else, because it gets hotter than hell, emitting eye-melting sparks and tent-burning embers. The campfire is the social gathering area, where every night the day’s waves are exaggerated while campers swill tequila. Be careful, though–too much tequila and you may tumble into the fire.

In the middle of the camp, a twelve-by-twelve piece of carpet has been laid down to keep dust to a minimum (absolutely mandatory if you have fussy females with you). A massive cooler, which also serves as a table and seat, is packed with block ice (because it lasts longer) and filled with beer, water, milk, cheese, vegetables, and fruits. A smaller cooler is for dry items like bread, tortillas, pasta, and canned goods. The propane stove is atop a portable table, where it waits to heat up some beans and fry a freshly caught corvina or lobster (negotiate with local fishermen for the lobster). There are no dirty dishes around, because such a lazy-ass display of slobbery only attracts coyotes that will ransack your camp and lure your dog away to be jumped into the pack–or worse yet, to be eaten. Tie up the mutt at night.

A small shovel and biodegradable toilet paper are used to bury human feces far from camp. If not buried properly, flies land in somebody’s shit, then on you. This is a major rule while camping in areas without toilets–abide by it.–Justin Coté


What You See: Perfect right points, stunning sunsets, miles of undeveloped coastline.

What You Don’t See: Armed military checkpoints, 1,200-pound cows in the middle of the road, banditos posing as broken down motorists.