There’s a time and a place for minimalist camping, but sometimes minimal just doesn’t cut it.
If weight or space isn’t an issue, why sacrifice comfort during your vacation in the wilderness? Get your glamorous camping—or “glamping”—on. Here’s how to fluff up your campsite and enjoy the great outdoors in comfort.
First things first, you’ll want to establish some personal space to set up in. Whether this is a stand of trees for your hammock, or the little tent area behind that bush, it’s your space. And if you’re not concerned about weight and pack size, don’t force yourself into a small tent if you don’t have to. Live a little! Get a campground tent palace to make home base. You may not spend the whole trip in it, but I guarantee it will be worth it when you find it’s time for a siesta after a long hike or ride or a late night around the campfire.
Perhaps the most important factor in comfort is getting a good night’s sleep. Don’t endanger it sleeping on rocks or a hard surface. Get yourself a cushy bed to ensure you have a nice place to crash when the night winds down. While you’re at it, don’t hesitate to ditch the confinements of a sleeping bag. Pack up a bag with some sheets and blankets for an open bed.
If you’re headed to a place with access to electricity, or if it has a foot pump, bring along a blow-up mattress. It may be a little more work upfront to set it up, but it’s worth it after a long day (or night). Sleeping on air beats sleeping on rocks any day! Alternatively, a luxurious cot would do the trick. Keep your body off of the ground and build yourself a comfortable nest on a cot. There’s no reason to cut corners—after all, you’re glamping.
Once you have your resting place established, your camp kitchen is the next space in line to fix up. If there’s no need to, then why sit in the dust trying to boil water with a stove that’s smaller than your water bottle? Live it up, and make sure you have a good cook space to get you and your crew happily fed.
As camping has become more popular, camp kitchen details have come a long way. For one, the market has blown up with advanced stoves. Single-burner stoves have evolved into something far more complex—stand-up stoves with multiple burners, more energy output, and multitudes of accessories to make cooking a more enjoyable experience. So treat yourself to something bigger and better. Pack along a multi-burner stove, and throw in a grill or griddle in order to experience deluxe camp meals. If you’re really feeling ambitious, you can bring along a stove that doubles as an oven and bake yourself a fresh dessert while cooking up a dinner spread. This may seem like overkill, but imagine how good cookies would taste after a long day of burning calories in the mountains.
When it’s time to clean up, set up a sink and clean up in comfort, rather than hunching over your plate with a corner of a sponge and a Nalgene. Just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you have to eat dirt.
Let’s not forget the smaller pleasures that come with camping outdoors. When you’re hanging out around camp, you might as well be comfortable. Rather than making that log a makeshift seat, pack along a lounge chair in which you can kick back and relax while enjoying a tasty beverage. And if that tasty beverage happens to be a cocktail, don’t cut corners and put it in a plastic cup—there’s an array of cocktail glasses that’ll spice up a camping box and make your drink just that much more fabulous.
What’s a party without some tunes to jam out to? Portable speakers provide good sound quality and add some fun to the atmosphere, and bring along a solar panel or two to keep your gadgets charged (an iPad is much easier to pack than a stack of board games). If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, pack in a bocce ball set or some horse shoes for happy hour. And don’t let the fun end once the sun goes down. Make sure to bring some lanterns to string up around camp to keep the good times coming.
In the end, camping doesn’t always have to be about having the lightest or most packable gear. Sometimes it’s fun to pack all of the little accessories that you know you’ll thank yourself for later. So don’t hesitate to pack a little extra. It’s time to get your glamping on.