Consider this: right now, you’re inside, online, reading a blog, but the blog is about the outdoors. That mixture of appreciation for both outside and inside fun marks you as a perfect candidate for a new fad known as “glamping,” or glamourous camping!
Wait, hey, come back, it’s not as weird as it sounds. Like any camping trip, you pack up a tent, mosey out into the wilderness and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, fishing and s’more making with your friends, family or partner. The important differences are on the inside, just like people and calzones.
DIY glamping setups typically consist of large tents stuffed with quality furniture, comfortable bedding and plenty of amenities. The key is comfort, and having a cozy place to come back to at night after an exciting day outside. It’s like making a home-cooked meal versus grabbing a bag of grease from a drive-through; the emphasis on preparation and quality over convenience and savings makes for a far more enjoyable end product. No expense should be spared in crafting a luxury hotel-like atmosphere in the tent, and elaborate interior designing is a huge part of the fun, as well as a great way to flex some creative muscles.
Now, since we’ve already established that you were born to glamp, let’s get right into some guidelines for getting the most out of your experience.
- Find a comfortable mattress, and don’t scrimp on the sheets!
There are plenty of portable air mattresses out there, but for your glamping trip you want to focus on those that put you high above the floor, either by placement on legs or by virtue of their thickness. Throwing on a mattress pad can further increase the comfort factor, as can investing in quality linens that won’t leave you itching all night.
- Prepare meals in advance, and get fancy with your snacking.
By preparing homemade meals in advance, you can camp out without suffering through dinners of hot dogs and beans. You can prepare a meal that can be heat up over a campfire, or even invest in a portable oven. Jazzing up the snack options is a fun idea as well: ditch the granola bars and trail mix and bring along cheese and crackers, finger sandwiches, shrimp cocktail and chocolate strawberries. You can even gussy up your s’mores by adding ingredients like fresh fruit, caramel, cinnamon or coconut. Finally, leave the paper plates on the shelf and bring along your glass dishware to complete the gourmet dining experience.
- For furniture, strike a balance between portability and comfort.
A big bonus of glamping is lounging around on a cozy chair or couch rather than on the dirt, and eating off a table rather than your lap. Hauling a recliner or a dining table out into the wilderness can be a tall task, though, and it’s probably wisest to compromise on comfort a little for the sake of practicality. There are plenty of options out there for folding wooden dining tables and chairs, as well as for attractive inflatable couches and lounge chairs. The wooden furniture, along with being foldable and portable, adds a rustic look to the campsite.
- The right lighting makes for the right atmosphere.
Dragging a generator out to provide portable electricity is an option, but it’s likely going to be bulk, noisy and ugly to look at. Portable or battery powered lights may be the better option. The trick is to avoid harsh, white LED lamps and to instead find lamps that produce softer yellow light that create a relaxing atmosphere and can be left on near a campfire without overpowering the more natural light source.
- Decorations and extra amenities help you personalize your glamping experience.
One great beauty of spending time outdoors is the multitude of activities to explore, and the beauty of glamping is that it gives you access to these activities while simultaneously giving you the option to say “no thanks, nature, I’m gonna kick it inside a while.” Along with the bikes, hiking gear, kayak, and whatever else you bring along to enjoy the outdoors, you can also pack for those moments when you’re rejecting the wild by filling your tent with amenities like a portable DVD player, a speaker system, a bookshelf or even an outdoor projector screen to watch movies on as a group. Glamping embraces excess, and it lets you enjoy the comforts of the indoors and the excitement of the outdoors all in a single outing.
Photos courtesy of Killarneyglamping.com and Katrina Horner
Sam Williams is a public relations intern this summer at The Outdoor Campus. He’s an Augustana College student in the not-summer, and spends his free time searching the house for snacks.