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The Not So Great Outdoors…

Hawkes Bay Camping

Is Camping Worth The Hassle?

Here in New Zealand, the hottest days of summer are upon us. With many a warm weekend in our futures before the season ends, it’s time to pose this generations-old question: is camping really worth it?

Sure, the idea of it is nice.  Communing with nature.  Spending time in close quarters with people you love.  Or rather, people you thought you loved, until you spent three sleepless nights in a clammy, leaking tent with them, listening to them snore and thinking of imaginative ways they could meet their demise that would look like an accident.  But I digress.

What is it about camping that has us continuing to forgo all our modern creature comforts, to return as tourists to the tent-dwelling lifestyle of our ancestors? It turns out, scientists around the world have been asking themselves the same question.  Many recent studies have attempted to measure what it is exactly that’s so good for us about being in nature, and why it’s so important to make it a regular part of our lives.

The Three Day Effect

There’s no two ways about it, camping requires a lot of planning and organisation only to then spend a long weekend searching for insect repellent you now cannot find, and showering in a communal bathroom of a dubious standard.  But David Strayer, a cognitive psychologist from the University of Utah, is here to tell you it’s worth it.

Strayer has documented a phenomenon he calls “The Three Day Effect”.  Basically, his research shows that our brains operate much better after spending three days decompressing in nature.  Having a break from all the commuting and instagram scrolling gives our pre-frontal cortex (the decision-making, problem-solving part of the brain) a chance to have a rest from the stressors of modern living like you would rest a muscle in between sets at the gym.  Strayer’s studies showed participants performing 50% better at problem-solving tasks after three days of hiking in the wilderness.

Yes, that’s all very well I hear you say, but remember?  The NASA level planning and organisation that’s required! The dodgy campsite bathrooms!  Fear not, MISA is here to help. Our rPET Mesh Bags are super handy when packing for your outdoor adventure – the mesh material gives you a storage option that lets you see what you’ve packed (and what you, unfortunately, haven’t). 

The Mesh rPET Bag also makes an excellent, fast-drying shower caddy – the handy loop allows you to hang your bag on a hook or the showerhead, so you never have to put your shampoo on the questionable shower floor.  Just, for the love of all that is holy, make sure you wear jandals.

Shower Caddy MISA MESH BAG
The MISA Collective rPET Mesh Bag makes a handy dandy shower caddy.
Face Brush
Face Cloth


Beach, Please.

Here in NZ, where you can’t really drive east or west that far before hitting the ocean, camping is often synonymous with beach time.  But for those of us who would much rather lounge poolside with a frosty Mojito, it may seem the cons outweigh the pros.  Never mind the mosquitoes, the wind, the unpredictable shade, and/or people lying next to you playing Pitbull too loudly on a tinny i-speaker.   Let’s talk SAND, friends.  The stuff that somehow works its way all through your car, every nook and cranny of your house and into shoes you swear you never even brought to the beach.

Before you give it all up as a bad job, you should know there are some very easy solutions to help make the seaside time more palatable for even the most beachophobic among us.  At the frontlines of combatting the dreaded sand, a mesh bag, (like, ahem, the MISA rPET Mesh Bag, par example) is a super handy beach accessory.  Residual sand falls right through when you give it a shake, so you’re not finding it all in the bottom of your bag later.  For like, weeks.

The old fitted sheet trick also works like a charm – bring one with you and at each corner place a sturdy item – the chilly bin, your bag, your two year old (just kidding, two year olds are notoriously bad at this).  This gives you a clean area with raised sides, protecting the things placed within from sandmageddon.

But why bother? I hear you ask/sigh/wail.  Well, it turns out being at the beach is actually really good for the human body. The action of pounding surf on the sea shore creates negative ions, free floating particles in the air that, when absorbed by our bodies, stimulate an increase in serotonin (the “happy” brain chemical).  In some cases this mood alteration can be as effective as taking an antidepressant, as one Columbia University Study recently showed.

Sunglasses MISA MESH
After beaching, give your MISA rPET Mesh Bag a shake before stashing it in the car or your tent.  The sand falls right through, preventing it from ending up in unwanted places (e.g. the INSIDE of your cellphone case…).
Reusable Drink Bottle


An Appetite For The Outdoors

If your idea of dining al fresco is more patio brunch with bottomless mimosas than a coin-operated BBQ with endless mosquitos, the idea of having to organise, cook and eat every meal outside may be enough to make you abandon the entire camping endeavour.  Possibly for life.

However, if you are a fan of your aforementioned life, eating in the great outdoors may be a great way to prolong it, according to University of Sunderland Clinical Exercise Psychologist Dr. Paul Innerd.  Innerd suggests that eating outside can instantly lower our cortisol levels (elevated levels of Cortisol have been linked to depression, anxiety and heart conditions).  This is especially true if we are eating in the company of family and friends. 

Eating in a group setting rather than alone can also encourage us to make healthier food choices, says Innerd.  Not only this, but there is some evidence to suggest that eating alone can put a person at an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

So how to make sure that the benefits of campsite dining outweigh the many pain points (bugs, hassle, potential food poisoning…)?

Obviously at MISA, we know a lot about keeping things fresh.  Yes, pun intended.  Our rPET Everything Bag isn’t just as fly as heck, the breathable recycled material actually works to keep fresh produce fresher and crisper for longer.  This is especially helpful if you’re at a campsite where your only source of refrigeration is a chilly bin (aka cooler).   

If you do decide to stay at a campsite without any kitchen or fridge facilities, a good way to manage that efficiently is to bring two coolers, one larger and one smaller.  Each day, take only the food you need for the day out of the large cooler and put it in the smaller one.  That way, the large cooler gets opened only once per day and stays cold for longer.

Speaking of cool, our rPet Mesh Bag is also super handy in the campsite kitchen if you prefer your food bug-free.  It can be used to cover plates or food while you finish preparing your meal, keeping insects out of your hard-earned mouthfuls, without letting hot food get soggy.

Camp Cooking - MISA Everything Bag
MISA rPET Everything Bag, serving the freshest produce (in the freshest lewks) al fresco.
Portable Butane Stove
Cutting Board https:


In Camp-clusion

Whether you’re a nature nut or a confirmed city slicker, camping offers a bounty of health and wellness benefits for those who brave the elements.  If you choose to answer the call of the wild this summer, we at MISA Collective hope our handy (and stylin’) little bags make it easier to for you to embrace the great outdoors.

Happy Camping!



Birch Hill, Central Hawkes Bay


Sources “Call to the Wild: This is your Brain on Nature” by Florence Williams, January 2016  “Negative Ions Create Positive Vibes” By Denise Mann, May 6, 2002   “Why eating outdoors wards off disease and illness” July 2016

Time Magazine ( – “Why Eating Alone May Be Bad for You”

By Amanda McMillan, October 25, 2017




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Bet you didn’t think you could fit a watermelon in our MISA Bags! Not that you’d ever do that … Baby from Dirty Dancing didn’t need one.





MISA mesh produce bags are so much mightier than they seam… (typo on purpose!). With enforced double stitching they are super strong and can hold 2-3 kgs. That’s a heavy watermelon! Or a bucket load of apples for apple pie.

The mesh itself is also pretty special. It is super expandable. Like how you wish your waistband would be after an amazing potluck dinner. You know the feeling. That’s another reason why this watermelon picture explains so much. But it’s not just about fitting in more… it’s also about straining out less.

With the perfect mesh hole size, MISA Reusable Mesh Produce Bags are the best thing when you’re looking to get all home-makery in the kitchen. No fussing around with deteriorating cheesecloth, or moldy cotton or scrubbing strainers… use a MISA mesh bag instead! We love to use ours for easy clean up juicing (dream!)because we hate washing all the finicky bits of a juicer machine. Making milk alternatives on the cheap is our new hobby – cue dairy intolerant partners requests!

If you’re like me, you really are making attempts to ditch the single-use bags- but I get to the checkout counter and all my fruit is rolling around and I get the checkout sweats as I try to wrangle them. Let’s be real friends, these beauties are gonna make your checkout a breeze. Oh and that mesh I keep on harping about- makes a grand difference here too because MISA Mesh bags are truly transparent. There’s no need for the checkout person to manhandle your fruit and open up the bag to identify them. Then it’s straight home to wash, dry and store, keeping them in the bag the whole time. So much less fuss. Did you know they also help in keeping your fruit last longer? The breathable mesh allows ethylene gas to escape which prevents the over-ripening of fruit. Sayonara squishy, bruised fruit.

Seriously, MISA reusable produce bags are the easiest alternative to single-use plastic bags. They weigh nothing so stash some in your handbag, tote, backpack, reusable shopping bag and march along to the farmer’s markets, shops or local greengrocers like the eco-conscious boss that you are. Guys can even scrunch them into pockets- in case you’re the type that gets weird about carrying a man purse.

‘Nuff said. These MISA Reusable Mesh Bags are a win!

Now… I’m off to get some fresh groceries and organize a potluck dinner.





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PET is one of the most common types of plastic/packaging found in your average household. Most of us casually use single use plastic every day without really thinking about it. That cheeky croissant on the way to work, the coffee, the receipt for car parking tickets. All of these items might serve a purpose for anywhere between 10 minutes and a few hours – unfortunately, these bags, cups, and receipts will live on far longer than us. You might be thinking what’s one bag, one cup… says seven billion people. With experts saying there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by volume by 2050, we were driven to create

MISA as a response to the use of our oceans as a dumping ground.

We at MISA Collective want Everyone to be part of the solution.

Our reusable produce bags are made using RPET – Recycled polyethylene Terephthalate AKA single-use plastic bottles. By choosing RPET we are making a conscious choice to upcycle a material that already exists. We thought about organic cotton, we love organic cotton, so pretty, so aesthetically pleasing, but cotton has it’s dirty little secrets too – did you know it takes 10,000 liters of water to make 1 kilogram of cotton, not to mention the pesticides. Cultivating cotton has had devastating effects on the Aral Sea –  what & where is the Aral Sea I hear you ask. Exactly. It WAS the 4th largest lake in the world that is mostly gone due to heavy cotton cultivation in the 60’s. The UN called it

“one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters”. Let’s face it we don’t want to be part of that statistic.

So let us tell you how RPET is made, it’s pretty simple. In reality, we’re surprised not more people are using it.

Post-consumer PET bottles are collected and sent to recycling centers where it is crushed down into bales. The bales are purchased by recycling companies where the PET bottles are crushed, washed, separated and dried out.  These bottles are blitzed into tiny tiny pieces and washed again to give pure PET flakes. These flakes are melted down and spun into a plastic fiber that can be woven into new sheets of material, RPET.

We hope you all use your Keep Cups, Kleenkanteens, Swell bottles and other reusable drink containers like the conscious consumers you are. But while society works on creating less plastic bottles, MISA Collective will add our contribution by choosing RPET and upcycling materials that already exist to lessen the impact on the environment. And we are in good company; fashion brands are also following suit. Eco-conscious favorite Everlane recently launched a whole line of outerwear made entirely from RPET, as did Patagonia with their renewed polyester material. Love that the Movement Into Sustainable Action is happening! What other fashion or homeware brands do you know of making an effort to use recycled source material??

Follow MISA Collective and our Eco Hacks for some more inspiration.


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Are You In Or Are You Out?

We are most definitely in. Getting excited about the impending plastic bag bans in New Zealand and sitting huddled around a cup of tea planning our MISA Bags launch in windy Wellington.

As believers of climate change and as champions of individuals making a difference, we can’t wait to share our MISA Reusable Produce bags with everyone.

Especially after seeing the news of another dead whale who’s stomach was full of plastics.

Working hard to get our plastic alternative bags up online, Amazon and good retail stores. Stay tuned!

Let’s make a Movement Into Sustainable Action!