Camping is great, but not everyone is a fan of hiking to their campsite, cooking their food on a stick, and sleeping on the hard ground. Enter glamping. Glamping is a way to enjoy the outdoors without sacrificing the creature comforts that many of us crave. These might include electricity, a comfortable bed, scrumptious food, and an overall cozy atmosphere.
Here we will teach you what is glamping and how to glamp, beginning with the 7 essentials for transforming your campsite into a more luxurious “glampsite”.
What is glamping?
The term “glamping” is an amalgamation of glamorous and camping. The idea is to experience the natural beauty of the outdoors without all the work that comes with traditional camping like hauling all of your equipment to a campsite, setting up a tent, and searching for firewood. It allows anyone to experience the adventure of camping within their own comfort level.
The word glamorous is subjective of course. Perhaps your standard for “glamorous” is staying at a 5-star Safari Lodge in South Africa where guests are treated to unparalleled service, additional indoor lounges, a spa, a restaurant, and safaris at their fingertips. Maybe glamping to you is spending the night inside an eco-friendly canvas tent at Pennsylvania’s Airydale Retreat or high up in a forested canopy at the Sanctuaria Treehouses. Glamping can also mean transforming a traditional campsite into a more luxurious experience, by adding on a few amenities and decorative details. (This does mean that you will have to haul a few items for the initial setup, but it will all be worth it!)
The degree of luxuriousness really depends on you, however learning how to glamp always begins with a few key elements. Read on for the 7 essentials for glamping.
The 7 Glamping Essentials
1. The perfect glamping tent
If you want to make your campsite more luxurious, the first step is to find the perfect glamping tent. A tent is the centerpiece of glamping. Save your simple lightweight tents for a multi-day backpacking trip and instead, choose a larger tent with substantial headroom. You will need the extra space to accommodate a plush bed and accent pieces such as accent rugs and end tables. Popular brands like Eureka typically offer a larger version of their traditional tent models. More recently, other brands have begun selling specialty styles including safari-style bell tents, tipis, and transparent dome tents.
- Bell tent – If you are looking for a luxury tent that will impress your friends and make for beautiful photos, look no farther than the tents from Lotus Belle. While these glamping tents are a bit on the pricier side, they are built to last. White Duck Outdoors offers a smaller model at a slightly more affordable price.
- Large Classic tent – The Ozark Trail Dark Rest Cabin Tent has 6.5 feet of headspace and can accommodate 10 people. That’s a lot of room for a fancy glamping setup. The NEMO Wagontop Tent takes it a step further with the attached standing-height vestibule, ideal for additional living space.
2. Ambient lighting
Lighting is something small that can really make a difference. Think about it. Dim lights can make a place moody and romantic. Flashing lights can transform a room into a dance party. Add tiki torches, and suddenly you’ll feel as if you’re on an exotic island. Your choice of lighting can set the mood and add fun, decor, and ambiance to your campsite, transforming it into a luxury glamping getaway.
- Lantern – The Black Diamond Apollo lantern delivers up to 250 lumens of light. The USB rechargeable lantern has a power meter that indicates how much battery is left. An adjustable dimming switch allows versatile brightness to illuminate a small tent or your entire campsite.
- String lights – The REVEL GEAR Trail Hound Camping Light provides long, bright, and energy-efficient mood lighting with 100 LEDs on a 30 ft. strand. It includes 6 different modes and is made to withstand the elements. A budget-friendly option are Holiday string lights or these Edison Lights from Walmart.
- Colored lantern – Luci Lights are a fun way to add a pop of color to your glampsite. This inflatable lantern is charged by the sun and cycles through 8 colors.
- Tiki Torches – Not only will these outdoor torches add a touch of island flare to your setup, but the citronella scented fuel will also help to keep pesky mosquitos away.
- Complete Lighting System – For the environmentally conscious, BioLite offers a more robust and sustainable setup. This system includes four lights—two hanging, one motion-activated, and one on the control box. For background music, the control box houses a built-in FM radio and MP3 player. It also has two USB ports to easily charge your phone or other devices. The 20Wh battery gets its power from a 6-watt solar panel that is designed to efficiently get power from the sun instead of using limited resources.
3. Comfortable Bedding
There is a reason why hotels with a 5-star rating must have plush bedding with high thread counts. A nice bed equals comfort, but a Tempurpedic mattress with throw pillows and weighted blankets equals luxury. Whether you go for “comfort” or “luxury”, glamping requires something a bit more than a sleeping bag on the floor of a tent. There are many options along the spectrum of comfort, ranging from low to high in both quality and price.
Inflatable mattresses are the ideal option as they most closely mimic a large plush bed. Cots and futons also provide a sense of comfort and luxury as they are elevated off the ground. Pillows are an important component of bedding and are considered glamping essentials. Not only do they provide a place to lay your head at night, but additional accent pillows can make a campsite instantly more cozy. Try tossing some throw pillows on an area rug, on some chairs, or even on a hammock.
- Pillows – Pillows for your bed should be comfortable and maximize your sleep experience. In addition to pillows for the bed, splurge on a few colorful and patterned throw pillows to place strategically around your site.
- Bed Cot – The Eureka Quickset Cot has a rugged powder-coated steel frame that is built for long-lasting use. Itsets up instantly thanks to it’s quick-deployment system, and it’s long design fits sleepers up to 6.5′ tall.
- Inflatable Mattress – The REI Co-op Kingdom Insulated Sleep System brings a little luxury to traditional camping pads. The bed has a 3.6 R-value for comfort down to 40°F. It comes complete with queen-size air mattress, padded cover, insulated quilt and a topsheet. The downside is that it does require a hand pump. On the other hand, the REI Co-op Camp Dreamer Double Self-Inflating Deluxe Bed quickly self-inflates from its small packed size to plush, full inflation. If you have access to an electric hookup, then consider going all out with a 24-inch inflatable mattress from Brookestone.
- Futon – Futons are great for glamping because of their versatility. The Snow Peak Campfield Futon is a great all in one futon, transforming into a bed, a loveseat, stacking shelves, or two seats and a table. Multi-functional pieces are useful when it comes to packing and trying to fit equipment into a limited trunk space.
- Dog Cot – Don’t forget about our four-legged friends. Fido needs a bit of luxury too! The Helinox Elevated Dog cot is designed with strategically cut mesh to keep your pup comfortable and cool at night. For winter glamping, Ruffwear has designed the Highlands Dog Sleeping Bag. Yes it will keep your pup warm, but we all know this doggie sleeping bag is just so we can see them looking all cute and tucked in like a furry baby.
- Outdoor camping blanket – Pendleton camping blankets are beautifully designed and add a bit of character to your glamping set up. You will certainly want to wrap up inside one of these as you huddle by the fire. The Rumpl Featherlite Down Blanket is the epitome of practical luxury and comfort. Made with sustainably sourced 800-fill goose down, it is both warm and water-resistant.
4. Ample Furniture
Furniture is an essential item for turning your campsite into a full glamping experience. Say goodbye to sitting on rocks and decomposing logs, and say hello to comfy chairs and couches. Glamping furniture like end tables and an area rug can be arranged inside the tent to make it appear more room-like. Pieces of furniture can also be arranged around the campfire to create a welcoming and comfortable lounge area.
- Camp chair – The Lafuma camp chair is one of the most popular outdoor chairs not only for glamping, but also for beach trips, picnics, and everyday use in a backyard. This luxurious lounge chair is made from UV-resistant and anti-odor mesh. When folded, this chair packs easily.
- Camp couch – The Kelty Low Loveseat has a relaxed, low-profile, and reclined design meaning you’ll stay comfortable without towering over the campfire.
- Camp Kitchen – The Roll Top Kitchen Table by Mountain Summit Gear is an essential piece for any glamping chef. The three top table consists of a fold-out table to place a cookstove, a top shelf for prepping ingredients, and a bottom shelf for storage.
- Side Tables – When it comes to glamping, roll-top side tables are the way to go. The creative design allows for quick setup and easy transportation. The larger Roll Top Table by Mountain Summit Gear is ideal for cooking, eating, and games. The smaller campfire table by Primus can be placed inside a tent or by a few camp chairs as an additional end table.
- Area Rug – The outdoor mat made by CGear Multimats employs sand-free technology to ensure that sand won’t stick to the material, brushing off easily by hand. The dual-layer weave also allows sand and dirt to fall through the mesh making clean up a breeze.
- Electric cooler – If you are a dedicated glamper looking to make a long-term investment, then the choice is easy. Dometic is the top-of-the-line brand for electric coolers. The Dometic CFX3 95 Dual Zone Powered Cooler fits 133 cans or a variety of food with the included dividers. Phone connectivity allows for remote temperature regulation. The GoSun Chill Electric Cooler is a good mid-range option that keeps food cold, frozen, dry and organized—no ice required.
5. How to glamp with appropriate cooking gear
The first time we ever cooked with our cast iron skillet outdoors was on a glamping trip in Pennsylvania Dutch country. Typically when we camp, we spend a few hours assembling the tent, setting up our sleeping bags, gathering firewood, etc. By the time dinnertime rolls around, all we want to do is throw a hot dog on a stick and call it a day.
When glamping, most of those amenities are already taken care of when you arrive. If you learning how to set up your own DIY glamping getaway, these things are typically taken care of on the first day. Without this precious time spent on set up, you have more time available to spend on other things like cooking a gourmet meal over a fire (or cookstove.)
- Cast iron set – We speak from experience when we say that you will want more than one skillet. If you cook like us, then you will need one skillet for the cornbread, a dutch oven for the campfire chili, and another skillet for the bourbon peach cobbler. The six-piece set by Camp Chef is all you need to prepare a multi-course gourmet glamping meal. Add in an adjustable campfire tripod or a cast iron cook stand and you’re all set.
- Cookstove – Coleman is a recognizable and reputable brand in the world of camping. Their 2-Burner Propane Campstove has been a classic camping essential for years. Two adjustable burners provide even heat distribution, making cooking while glamping both easy and effortless.
- Dinnerware table set and utensils – The GSI outdoors Enamelware set comes as a 4 place setting complete with plates, bowls, and mugs. In case you want to save the cleanup for when you get home, the set is also dishwasher safe. Complete your place settings with this eco-friendly Bamboo utensil set made by To-Go Ware.
- Cooking utensils – Aside from a campfire spatula and spoon, the most important campfire cooking tool is a good set of knives. The GSI Outdoors Rakau Knife Set comes with a bamboo cutting board, microfiber dishcloth, sharpener, and 3 knives. The set is packaged neatly within a cloth case with an integrated knife sheath to protect and safely manage the blades.
- Coffee – There is no better way to start a day than with a fresh cup of coffee surrounded by the magnificent outdoors. There are several coffee-making systems on the market from the more traditional coffee makers for campers and RVs to percolators and pour-overs. We are biased toward the french press since we like our coffee strong and flavorful. The Stanley Classic Vacuum French Press is made with double-wall vacuum insulation and an insulated steel lid helping to keep contents hot. Don’t forget a classic kettle for heating your water!
When learning how to glamp, entertainment is one element that can significantly elevate a traditional camping experience. You can never go wrong with an acoustic guitar by the fire, however there are many other options that can make the experience more entertaining and enjoyable. Imagine plopping down on a soft blanket after a few hours of slacklining, a movie is playing on the projector, and the kids are playing checkers next to the fire pit. Everything is perfect for a night of relaxation.
- Portable Speakers – Every epic glamping trip needs a soundtrack and every soundtrack needs a good set of speakers. JBL offers a great line of quality and durable speakers, many of which can be linked to create a DIY surround sound system.
- Slackline – The Gibbon Flow Line Treewear Slackline set is perfect for beginner and seasoned slackliners alike. The 25m slackline comes with 2 metal ratchets, two 2.5m ratchet straps and Treewear straps for simple and fast setup.
- Movie projector – The RCA Bluetooth Projector connects to cable boxes, gaming consoles or a variety of streaming devices (mobile phones, Roku, Apple TV or Chromecast). If you do not have a tent wall or other flat surface to project your video, you may want to consider this portable 50-inch Ozark Trail Outdoor Projector Screen, ideal for glamping.
- Outdoor Games – Cornhole is ubiquitous with outdoor gatherings so it is only right to bring this outdoor party game to your glamping getaway. The Outside Inside Cornhole set features two mid-size game boards with fold-out legs that convert into low camp tables. If cornhole isn’t your thing, the Alps Mountaineering Eclipse Table + Checkerboard is an innovative gaming table with 2 levels, one for playing and a lower level for holding your food and drinks.
7. The Quintessential Hammock
Whether you are camping or glamping, a hammock is always a nice accessory to have on hand. For the more practical campers, ENO makes some of the best hammocks around that are both durable and lightweight. For the more luxurious glampers, there is a whole world of options ranging from 2 person traditional hammocks, to “boho” decorative hammocks, to the newly popular pods and swings.
- Classic Hammock – Eno has been our go-to brand for years when it comes to lightweight and quality hammocks. They are available in both solo and double sizes.
- Decorative Hammock – The Fringe Hammock by Opalhouse puts a playful touch on the traditional hammock with its vibrant colors and fringe details.
Learning how to glamp is simple once you have the necessary equipment. What are some of the essential items on your glamping packing list?
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