Oh, glamping! You with your gauzy curtains, glowing candles, and rich, woven rugs. You are such a tease. While I am happy to camp in any way, glamping (that’s glamour + camping for anyone who has actually been living off the grid) has always had an unavoidable appeal. While our camping thus far has been far more utilitarian, a recent camping trip was the perfect opportunity to distill what I wanted from the glamping phenomenon and apply it to my own campsite.
From the outset, I had a swathy, frosted Pinterest driven image of glamping in my mind, but to make that a reality, I had to tease out the specific details. What I learned is that glamping is equal parts actual comfort and ambience. It’s about creating an atmosphere that is romantic and cozy that simultaneously makes the irritations of nature disappear (bye, bye bugs), while highlighting the beauty of the outdoors (hello, lantern laden trees).
More than anything glamping is, believe it or not, an attitude. Yes, it is an attitude with an emphasis on accessories, but it is still a new way of looking at the time honored tradition of camping. Glamping is camping all dressed up in such a way to make it a relaxing retreat rather than something to merely be endured. Glamping is fancy. It’s a little bit (or a lot) frivolous, but it gives camping a frosted filter that can make it so much more fun.
Maybe you are a seasoned camper with a long history of roughing it and you would like to add little comfort. Or perhaps you are someone who has kept a wide berth from “roughing it” but you heard ‘fairy lights and mason jars’ and you couldn’t look away. Whatever your glamping reasons, this is what you need to do it up right.
For Your Tent or Sleeping Area
To start you want to create a place to sleep that is a retreat that makes you want to climb into bed and never get out. This is definitely a no-sleeping- bag- zone. A bell tent or a safari tent is the primo glamping sanctuary, but even if your budget doesn’t keep pace with the Queen of Sheba, you can still have a frugally-inspired nature haven.
1. Nice Linens: This isn’t so much about thread count-although feel free to go Egyptian cotton crazy, if you want-it’s about creating a cozy atmosphere with luxurious blankets. Down comforters are always a big hit, but I also like to include big patchwork quilts. There is nothing cozier than a quilt.
2. A Blow-up Bed: Without a blow-up bed or some other kind of mattress to get you off the ground, you are just plain camping.
3. Rugs or Woven Mats: Plastic crinkling beneath your feet is so pedantic. Throw some rugs, woven mats, or even quilts on the floor of your tent to amp up the comfort. Feel free to mix and match whatever rugs you have available and overlap to cover the floor of your tent.
4. Lovely Lighting: A warm glow is welcoming in any retreat, but it is a must while glamping. This is the one area in glamping where you must value safety over beauty. Open flames inside your tent are a big no-no. Instead, choose decorative lanterns with electric tealights or other soft lighting options.
5. Plenty of Pillows: Of course, you feel more comfortable and relaxed when surrounded by piles of pillows. Grab all the pillows in your house and throw them everywhere-just like confetti only fluffier.
Beyond the Tent
6. Hammock: Even the most basic campsite needs a hammock, but a well-appointed hammock has all the elements you want to embody the glamping attitude. A fancy, lacey hammock would be the pinnacle, but even a mundane canvas hammock cleans up nicely when you add a stack of pillows and some quilts. To take it to the next level, you can add a gauzy mosquito net around the hammock for ethereal extra.
~It's just a hammock until you add a fluffy pillow, then it's a glammock~
7. Diningware: Your fancy campsite deserves better than the standard blue-speckled enamelware, of course. Glamping demands a little bit of beauty even in your plates and cups. Thanks to the built-in vintage,mishmash feel of glamping, you can hit the thrift store and stock up on mismatched dish sets. Mason jars for drinking are totally acceptable, if not mandatory.
~There is no end to the uses of mason jars, including great silverware holders~
8. Kitchen Conveniences: The heart of comfort happens in the kitchen, and that is true of a camping kitchen, as well. Glamping kitchens run the gamut from simple to lavish, but the basic elements include a dedicated surface for food prep, a place to wash up, and a way to organize ingredients. It is not at all uncommon for glampers to bring high quality knife sets, cookware, and any other home kitchen elements that make cooking easier.
9. Lanterns, Strings of Light and Other Ambience: If all of glamping is the sugar-crystal icing on the cake of camping, then outdoor lighting is the thick layer of sprinkles. Lanterns, fairy lights, and even chandeliers give an aura of romance to your campsite. Candles can also be used with abandon while outside. Remember that presence is more important than practicality. When in doubt, add more foufy lights to every upright surface.
10. Decorative Details: Just like at home, the details are what finish out the look and make it memorable. Triangle shaped flag bunting is the calling card that rubber stamps the whole shebang as 'glamping approved.' These come in so many color and fabric options, plus have the ability to be draped pretty much anywhere, so go crazy. Other details can include simple vases with wildflowers or wooden crates and baskets for holding miscellaneous camp gear.
~Wooden crates make a great storage system and sidetable to hold a vase of wildflowers and a punched tin lantern~
Easy Glamping in a Few Simple Steps
Maybe you aren’t ready to go full-glamp, but would love to add a little touch of outdoor luxury to your campsite. The easiest way to create an ambience of camping luxury is to designate an area in your campsite where you can add some sophisticated comfort and style.
Start by creating a romantic canopy. You can do this in two minutes by stringing a rope between two trees and draping a quilt or blanket over the rope teepee style. Use a few rocks to anchor the blanket to the ground and create an open space.
Another canopy option can be made from a dollar store hula-hoop and a few spare curtains. Open the hula hoop at the joining point and string the curtains onto the hoop. String up the hoop from a nearby tree and anchor the curtains to the ground to make a teepee space below.
Once your canopy has been created, throw a quilt on the ground and pile some pillows into your space for cozy comfort. Decorate the area with lanterns, bunting flags, and other details. Climb on in and enjoy your glamping space as much as you enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings.