Now that spring is in full force, it is time to dig out your tent, sleeping bags, and cooler and head out into the great outdoors. As we get older, I have found it is really hard to get a group of friends together for a weekend in the woods. I get the “staying at a Holiday Inn is the closest I will ever get to camping” response all the time! So, I have had to up my camping game over the years, to trick friends into coming, so now I “glamp." With these simple tips, you can glamp too and your friends will be begging you to bring them along!
The concept behind glamping is simple: bring the indoors outdoors.
- Blankets: The most important thing to bring besides the basics (tent, camping chairs, cooler etc) is blankets. Bonus points if you have Pendleton or Woolrich blankets lying around the house. These are what you will use to completely transform your campsite into a comfortable oasis in the woods. Drape them over your camping chairs and they will instantly take any ugly, mismatched chairs up a notch. And they also serve double duty: when it gets chilly at night, everyone can wrap themselves up and stay warm. You can use one as a tablecloth -- it will feel more luxurious than those old red and white-checkered plastic tablecloths -- and finally, place one on each picnic table bench, so when your guests sit down for dinner, their bums are kept warm!
- Throw pillows: Let’s face it, camping chairs are not the most comfortable seats in the world. Place them on each chair and your guests will love you for it. Plus, if you drive to a great lookout to watch the sunset, they can be tossed on a blanket on the ground for comfy sunset seating.
- Hammock: Cover it with blankets and pillows to make it look (and feel) even more luxurious. Trust me, this will be the most coveted "seat" in the whole campsite.
- Rugs: Place an outdoor rug in front of each tent; it feels more welcoming, and it helps keep mud from getting into your tent.
- Candles and lanterns: Place them by the front of each tent and on the dining table to create a soft welcoming glow and add to the ambiance.
- Gourmet dinners: Forget the hot dogs and hamburgers, treat your guests to a world-class meal they would expect to get in a restaurant. The best way to not become a slave to the outdoor kitchen is to prepare everything at home before you go. I love bringing homemade soups and stews. Make them ahead of time, freeze, and then all you have to do is heat it up on the stove at camp. Another great meal is anything on a skewer -- Peruvian chicken skewers with yellow rice, lamb skewers with fresh tzatziki sauce, or use your imagination. Plus, with skewers, you get to hang out with everyone around the fire while cooking.
- Lunch accouterments: Create lunches for on the go by pre-making Greek chicken salad, stuffing it into pitas in the morning and volia -- a perfect lunch for the traill! Add an extra touch by wrapping each sandwich with wax paper and tying a sprig of evergreen with twine around it. Place everyone’s lunch in a brown paper bag and add a bit more evergreen to the outside of the bag.
- Tableware: Forget the disposables. and bring charger plates, real silverware, tin plates, candles and real wine glasses to create a welcoming tablescape that will make your guests want to linger long after dinner is done. And don’t forget a trash bag to take home your dirty dishes.
- Camping games: Cards Against Humanity is a crowd favorite, but your camping neighbors might not appreciate the noise. A deck of cards and a cribbage board are my go-to-favorites.
- S'mores: You definitely don’t want forget the marshmallows for roasting!
Happy glamping darlings!