By Kristen Seymour on September 9, 2020 in Life Hacks
Staycations and other close-to-home trips are trending in 2020. Many people who are looking for a getaway are opting for camping or glamping (AKA “glamorous camping”) trips, according to a recent Kampgrounds of America (KOA) special report.
However, the rising interest in camping and glamping isn’t brand new; between 2014 and 2019, the number of campers who pitch their tents three or more times per year increased by 72 percent. Many of these keen campers are Millennials and GenXers, who, according to the 2019 KOA North American Camping Report, are more likely to identify as lifelong campers than the generations before them — and who value the family-friendly atmosphere of camping as they introduce their children to the world of roughing it.
Whether you’re an avid outdoors person or not, you can take camping to the next level with creative (and sometimes swanky) glamping accessories.
Taking Camping to the Next Level
Roughing it is relative, right? Some folks wouldn’t dream of anything shy of a multi-day backpacking trek through the wilderness, while others are all about finding a cool place to camp in their car, hook up a trendy trailer, or spend a few days in a swanky cabin.
According to the 2019 KOA North American Glamping Report, more than half of campers say they’d like to try this glamorous form of camping. And who can blame them? Glamping is a fantastic way to introduce those friends and family who tend to identify as “indoorsy” to the wonders that camping has to offer. Plus, it’s a fun opportunity for seasoned campers to mix things up and create a truly memorable experience.
But what exactly is glamping? That’s a fair question, because according to KOA’s glamping report, travelers define glamping in a variety of ways, ranging from cabins or trailers in pre-established glampsites with spectacular views to roomy safari tents, treehouses, and yurts. In fact, those unique accommodations are a big part of the draw, according to 56 percent of respondents; 63 percent say that a desire for a unique outdoor experience makes glamping so attractive.
At its core, glamping is really about connecting with nature — but without sacrificing comfort. The experience still involves adventure seeking and excitement, but with more luxurious accommodations, services, and facilities than traditional camping, according to 63 percent of prospective glampers surveyed.
How to Turn Camping into Glamping
It’s easy to turn a traditional camping trip into a glamping adventure with a few accessories that create an elevated (and seriously Instagram-worthy) experience. Just remember, there’s no single right way to go glamping, so go all out with as many extravagant options as you can manage if that’s your style, or keep it more minimalistic with just a few posh touches. However you approach it, be sure to take some time to relax and enjoy your efforts.
Whether you plan to set up camp in a remote site or head to an already existing glampsite, these gear ideas will help you plan the perfect glamping excursion.
Get a tricked-out tent
On a glamping trip, don’t choose your tent based on how much space you need — instead, base it on how much space you can possibly take up. Sure, an enormous safari-style tent may not be necessary for two people, but this isn’t so much about getting by as it is about making your glampsite extra in all the best ways. Look for a tent that allows you to stand up and double the occupancy size (or more) for a space that feels relaxed and roomy. A tent with zippered window and roof panels offers extra ventilation and more visibility for gorgeous views!
Set yourself up to snooze
Who needs a fancy hotel bed when you’ve got a high-quality air mattress and resort-worthy bedding? An elevated cot can help your backwoods boudoir feel more like home, and other homey touches like a cozy comforter, super soft sheets, and your favorite pillow will ensure a solid night’s sleep beneath the stars. Bright blankets and throw pillows are good for snuggling and upping the style quotient, too.
Have fun with furnishings
It may not be practical to lug your bedroom set into the woods, but there’s no reason you can’t bring a small folding table to serve as a nightstand and a plush rug to add a little comfort and color to your space. Poufs, sturdy vases (perfect for displaying wildflowers you find nearby), camp chairs with cup holders, and other portable, non-fragile items can also make great additions to your site. Remember that you’ll be outdoors, so anything that’s easily broken or ruined may be best left at home.
With a little prep and planning, you can still whip up culinary masterpieces when dining — and cooking — al fresco. Begin with breakfast; there’s nothing like an outdoor espresso maker to make you forget how far away your favorite coffee shop is. A portable fold-up kitchen makes it surprisingly simple to store, chop, prep, and cook your favorite meals no matter how far off the beaten path you’ve landed. Don’t forget your favorite cooking tools, like a sharp knife or cast iron skillet.
And then there’s the food itself! The sky really is the limit, especially when you’ve got a set up like the one above. Using real (but unbreakable) dishes and utensils instead of disposable options will add to the atmosphere without increasing your carbon footprint.
Set up a sipping station
Bring a cooler with a nice long ice life and a bevy of beverages to make sure everyone in your party stays hydrated. Consider cracking a special bottle of wine to celebrate or make a signature cocktail or mocktail — maybe even a premade version to save time and effort. As with the food, remember that real cups and glassware make for the most glamorous and most green option; after all, nobody wants to sip an excellent Sauvignon Blanc out of a Solo cup.
Light the way
Getting a campfire going is almost mandatory for any outdoorsy adventure — assuming it’s allowed where you’ve chosen to stay — but if you don’t want the hassle of building one from scratch, you can always bring along a portable, smoke-free firepit. And that’s not the only light you’ll want once the sun goes down! Add LED lanterns and fairy lights all around and within your tent. It’ll look cool, of course, but it’ll also make it easier to find your way around in the dark. Citronella candles in a jar can provide some mood lighting and help keep mosquitoes away but be careful not to leave them lit or place them anywhere that could cause a fire hazard. Fire-free options like solar-powered portable camping lanterns or boring old flashlights are handy additions, especially for sprawling glampsites where people need something portable as they travel to and from tents and facilities.
Have the perfect hang out
Sure, you’ll gather around the fire at night, but what about during the day? A colorful outdoor rug will really pull the space together, especially with some comfy camping chairs or bean bags scattered about, and perhaps you’ll also want a folding picnic table for meals and games. A hammock hung nearby offers an ideal opportunity to relax without missing a moment of sunshine. If bugs are a big issue, consider a model with an insect net so you can snooze without being disturbed.
Factor in your facilities
A private tent for sleeping is one thing, but if you want to go all out with the glamping experience, be sure to pack your portable toilet (you can also bring a privacy cabana to go along with it). Portable showers are an added touch for those who don’t consider a quick dip in a nearby lake to be a proper bath.
Add in some extras
If you’re backpacking, it makes sense to want to cut down on weight or get by with less, which is why it’s so much fun to throw all of that out the window (but not literally — littering is bad!) when it comes to glamping. Remember that you get to make your own rules. While you can definitely opt to unplug and stick to playing cards and yard games like cornhole or bocce, you can also bring a projector and an extra sheet (or even a blow up screen) for a movie night. Load up on fun gadgets such as marshmallow spinners, portable air conditioning units or lights with ceiling fans, and heated blankets to make absolutely certain your glamping extravaganza is an extravagant trip to remember.
Whether you pack just a few small comforts from home or go all out on the extras, you have the ability to create the exact glamping experience you want. Now that you know what to bring, you just need to figure out where you want to go and hit the road!