As the year winds down and the summer hots up, many of us anticipate impending escapes from the hustle and bustle. Desires for fresh air and communion with nature inspire blissful daydreams of waking up on the beach, lunching in the mountains, and falling asleep to the river's lullaby. There are few better ways of experiencing the splendour of the natural world than while glamping.
Glamping, for those of you to whom this term is new, is simply glamorous camping. (Think our wealthy colonial forebears with their luxurious tent lodgings while on safari.) Glamping is camping for those of us who have moved past (or have never been keen on) roughing it, and instead have found how to enjoy it in style. Glamping is for those of us who have figured out that everything is that much better with a few creature comforts.
Now, remember this is glamping, not camping - your tent has to become a home away from home, with comfort and enjoyment your primary goals. Make sure you buy/borrow/hire a good tent, with tarpaulins for shade and floor mats. Where possible, choose sites with hot showers, or buy a solar shower. Get organised, and pack your car well, after all you'll want to take the kitchen sink.
Literally, pack a plastic tub for washing, as well as dishwashing liquid, a sponge and a dishcloth - glamping is all about the little things. You'll want crockery, cooking and eating utensils, can opener, chopping board, pot, pan, plastic glasses. Take a portable gas stove, gas lamp, whistling kettle, paper towels, torches and candles. For your comfort you'll need folding chairs, folding table, beach towels, and (why not?) a hammock. For sleeping, a blow-up mattress (with pump that plugs into the car lighter), good quality sleeping bag (down if you can), and your own pillow. Other essentials include jumper cables, wet-wipes and bug repellant.
No holiday is complete without good food and drink, and two minute noodles have no place on a glamping trip. Go stocked with a french press and good coffee, wine, cheese and crackers, and other snack food to nibble on. Pancake mix makes for a decadent breakfast and curries make for delicious, one-pot dinners. Get creative with no fuss foods like couscous, always pack a few herbs and spices (nutmeg adds great flavour to nearly everything), and stop at road side stalls to pick up local, fresh produce wherever possible along the way.
In addition to enjoying the destination, make the experience extra glamorous by taking in luxurious activities along the way. I make it a rule to always stop at hot pools when I pass them and indulge in a good few hours of soaking. Massages, wine tasting, cocktails and wood-fired pizzas also satisfy. So, whether you're a beginner glamper wanting to experience the great outdoors, or a veteran camper wanting to add a bit of glamour, make comfort your priority, pitch your tent, shake up a cocktail and watch the sunset from your home away from home this summer.
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