JUST VISITING? LIVING LOCAL? WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

Cush Side of Camping

Camping isn’t always ideal for everyone. But if you decide to “rough it” this summer, maybe try to make it more relaxing (i.e., more like home) by glamping.

Article
Gina Conroy
Photos
Sarah Eliza Roberts
Posted
May 28, 2018

You love the great outdoors, but you’re not a big fan of roughing it. You prefer a comfortable bed and hot shower after a long day outside, not a sleeping bag on bare ground and cleaning off with baby wipes. No running water and electricity? Peace, out. And what about hot cooked meals, fresh brewed coffee, and a pleasant place to do your business. If you want to explore nature, but won’t give up the comforts of home, then glamping is for you.

Also known as glamorous camping, glamping combines everything you love about camping with some of the amenities offered in a cabin, lodge, Airbnb, treehouse or hotel. Whether you want a little more comfort in your traditional camping experience or you’re ready for a five-star stay under the stars (with a similar price tag,) these ideas will get you out enjoying nature no matter your style.

Though some of its earliest adopters included Genghis Khan, glamping rose to new heights during the Ottoman Empire, when extravagant tents, outfitted with silk panels and carpets, were set up as mobile palaces for sultans.

Despite its name, the activity doesn’t have to be super pretentious; at its heart, glamping is about getting close to nature with a little more comfort and a lot less lugging of stuff. With the spike in predilection for a touch of luxe in the “wild,” a handful of savvy adventure companies and experiential campgrounds offer luxury getaways (think of cots inside state-of-the-art tents, outdoor furniture, chef-crafted meals, better-than-basic bathroom facilities) for not-so-rustic folks to unplug in comfort.

If the idea of drifting away under the stars and communicating entices you, there are ways to “glamp” yourself and lessen the chances of interacting with moist dirt and insects and foraging for makeshift, leave-no-trace toilets.

No glamping checklist is complete without utensils and cooking pans. (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)
No glamping checklist is complete without utensils and cooking pans. (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)

________________________

Shelter and bedding
Want quick, no hassle tent setup? Consider the convenience of an inflatable tent with no poles, ropes and stakes. To glamp up your tenting, Jarret Miller, assistant general manager at Backwoods (an outdoor apparel and gear supplier in Tulsa’s Farm Shopping Center) suggests using sleeping bags and pads instead of cots and blow up mattresses. These pads offer smooth and stable sleep and are faster and easier to inflate then a mattress.

Some people may consider car camping, pop-up campers or RVs glamping. But if you want a true glamping experience, a framed shelter set up in nature with many amenities of home under one dome shaped roof is what you’re looking for. The most popular glamping shelter is the circular shaped tent called a yurt. Many yurts have luxurious mattresses, bedding, and furniture while some come equipped with bathrooms and showers. Other popular structures include tipis and luxury caravans which can also have heating and AC like RVS.

If you want to stay mobile, check out the Selk’bag. Rated to temperatures as low as 35 degrees, these fun-to-wear onesies come with amenities including rubber soles, comfy hoods and belts to adjust the fit. Only thing missing is a butt-flap.  

________________________

Weather
With traditional camping you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature. Temperature inside the tent is controlled through flaps and zippers which facilitate air flow, if there is any, or keep out the cold. Mike Cunningham, a travel and backpacking expert at Backwoods suggests layering for quick temperature control.

“Icebreaker [clothing] is made with the best Merino wool,” says Cunningham. “It keeps you cool if you’re hot and warm if you’re cold, and it doesn’t take on body odor.”

An IcyBreeze portable air conditioner and cooler is another innovative way to keeping you and your food cool. This cooler dispenses cold, dry air up to 35 degrees below the outside temperature. The fan shoots air up to 25 mph from a tube in the cooler for relief from the heat day or night. The cooler holds 30 pounds of ice and lasts up to seven days at temps up to 90 degrees.

What about keeping dry? With traditional tents, there’s no sure way to prevent leaks from seeping through tears, flaps and zippers. If you want to glamp up and dry out, try Ultra-Ever Dry, a hydrophobic coating that repels water and waterproofs anything. Spray it on your tent and watch the water roll right off. You can even put it on your hiking shoes, backpack, or anything that might get wet on your outdoor adventure.

With glamping, you’re safe and dry in your yurt or RV. But pack a raincoat and umbrella if you plan on venturing outside.

________________________

Backwoods' mission is to teach, inspire, and lead people to live adventurous outdoor lives. (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)
Backwoods' mission is to teach, inspire, and lead people to live adventurous outdoor lives. (Photo: Sarah Eliza Roberts)

Good, clean fun
Restroom trips are the least favorite camping excursion for many. Traditional campers pick potties based on necessity, surroundings and what’s available. Just don’t forget to dispose of the wipes and toilet paper in proper receptacles.

To glamp up your hygiene routine, you may prefer being close to a camp ground with showers, sinks and toilets. Just remember to always wear flip flops and bring your own towels, soap and anti-bacterial wipes.

Some people use DIY potties inside their tents or pop-up campers for middle-of-the-night pit stops. This is convenient when camping with little (or big) girls. Try lining a 5 gallon bucket with a trash bag and top it with a toilet seat. Get a healthy supply of toilet paper and flushable wipes. In the morning, dispose of the contents in a communal toilet or dig a hole away from the campsite.

If you packed everything but the kitchen sink, you’re doing it wrong. You need the skink for a truly luxurious experience. How else are your teenagers going to apply Clearasil at night? Reliance makes a Wash’n Go compact three-gallon sink with toothbrush holders, shaver holders, vanity mirror, cup rest and LED light.

You can also purchase portable showers like the NEMO Helio Pressure shower. Leave this collapsible, heat-absorbing water reservoir in the sun for a couple of hours, and then compress the foot-pump to build pressure for a warm shower or clean off dirty pets.

________________________

Laundry and clothes
While cotton may be more comfortable, Cunningham suggests avoiding the fabric because it takes longer to dry and keeps the odor. He suggests choosing synthetic or wool clothing that dries quickly.

“You can wear if for days and it won’t smell,” says Cunningham.

If you’d rather do laundry but there’s no washer or stream nearby, Scrubba allows you to launder anywhere. The flexible internal washboard provides machine quality washing in minutes all inside a small bag.

________________________

Water
With traditional camping, you either haul gallons of water to your camp site or find the closest clean stream. Even then you may need to boil and filter it.

“Filters don’t take out viruses because they are smaller than bacteria,” Cunningham, a backpacking expert says. “Aqua tablets kill viruses.”

________________________

Bring the heat
In traditional camping situations, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over an open fire or on a grill are staple foods for lunch and dinner. Add a cooler and cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven to the mix and you can make a variety of meals. You can make fire starters from cotton pads or cardboard dipped in melted wax to get the fire going. If DIY is too much work, buy campfire roasting rods.

Many RV sites that have grills and yurts may even have a stove, but if not, you can glamp it by using a propane cooker stove like the DragonFly. Or try a BioLite CampStove that doesn’t give off toxic gases like propane. There’s no risk of running out of fuel because twigs and wood chips keep this clean-burning smokeless fire going. In addition, it generates electricity and cooks meals and boils water in minutes.

Who says you can’t have freshly-baked cookies or pizza while camping? The Camp Chef Outdoor camp oven comes with a double-rack oven that’s big enough for a 9 x 13 inch pan. The entire unit runs on propane and weighs only 32 pounds.

Can’t live without your kitchen? Try My Camp Kitchen, a portable kitchen cabinet and counter top that stands on four legs and is sturdy enough for all your meal preparations.

________________________

Perk up your morning
Since the early days, men have been brewing coffee over an open fire. Today you can do the same with a cast iron coffee pot. Or glamp up your outdoor brewing with a French press or a propane coffee maker with a push-button ignition for matchless lighting.

For the full-on baristas in the bunch, check out a Stumptown Rambler travel kit that comes with a grinder, AeroPress, filters, enamel mugs, beans and an on-the-go brew guide.

________________________

Swinging is a breeze
Part tent, part hammock, the Cacoon is a perfect way to lounge in the shade. Simply hang it from a sturdy branch or metal tripod and enjoy the views from your perch. Choose from three sizes and 11 colors to find the perfect match for you.

________________________

Let there be light
When the fire fades, most campers reach for their battery operated flashlights, but with solar lights and lanterns there are other illuminating options. Ideal for long lasting light without electricity, solar lights come in different sizes, styles and prices. If you’re traveling light but don’t want to skimp on light, try an Aidier inflatable solar camping lantern that start around $10. But remember for a long lasting charge, solar lights need an adequate amount of daylight, so it might not work well on a cloudy day. LED lanterns with dimmable bulbs allow you to get the brightness just right.

Glowing sticks illuminate those pesky tent stakes that tend to grab a toe in the dark, and a solar powered water bottle may come in handy if you’re out past dark or need a middle of the night drink.

________________________

While glamping means different things to different people, it’s all about comfort. But it’s all about getting outdoors and connecting with nature.

Though Backwoods carries lightweight gear and apparel for backpack excursion, they’re not just a store. What sets them apart is their expertise and classes. “Our mission is to teach, inspire, and lead people to live adventurous outdoor lives,” says Miller.

________________________

Glamping Checklist

Packing

  • Backpacks and bags
  • ‍Storage boxes
  • Sleeping bags
  • Sheets and blankets
  • Pillows
  • Air pump
  • Repair kit for air mattress
  • Utility bags for storage
  • Duvets

Furniture

  • Folding table(s)
  • ‍Folding chairs
  • Folding shelves
  • Door mat

Lighting

  • Flashlight
  • ‍Spare batteries
  • Lantern
  • Cigarette lighter
  • Water-proof matches
  • Fuel
  • Citronella candles

Cooking

  • Water carrier
  • ‍Thermos or water jug
  • Charcoal
  • Skillet
  • Pans with lids
  • Oven mitts

Dishes/Utensils

  • Plates
  • ‍Insulated mugs with lids
  • Bowls
  • Knives, forks, spoons and teaspoons
  • Sharp knives
  • Can opener
  • Corkscrew and/or bottle opener
  • Potato peeler
  • Wooden spoon
  • Fish slice
  • Tongs
  • Chopping board
  • Skewers/grill forks
  • Tablecloth and clips
  • Scissors

Cleaning Up

  • Dish soap
  • ‍Cloths
  • Trash bags
  • Paper towels
  • Scrub pad
  • Tissues
  • Hand wipes
  • Anti-bacterial lotion

Bathroom and personal items

  • Toilet paper
  • ‍Towels
  • Soap in a plastic case or liquid
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Comb/brush
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Tooth brush and paste
  • Make up
  • Medication
  • Feminine products
  • Extra toilet paper

Miscellaneous

  • First-aid kit
  • ‍Sunscreen and chapstick
  • Bug repellant
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Safety pins
  • Clothesline and clips
  • Sewing kit
  • Umbrella
  • Binoculars
  • Rope
  • Duct tape
  • Watch

LOCATOR
Backwoods
The Farm Shopping Center | 6508 E. 51st St. | Tulsa
918-664-7850
backwoods.com
Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sunday: Noon-5 p.m.