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How to go glamping – a list for DIY camping in style

If you want to go camping, but are intrigued by the idea of not abandoning comfort and style, then glamping is for you. Glamping, or glamorous camping, is a fun way to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. And you don’t even have to book a yurt or rent a tree house for the night (although that would be fun, too!). If you don’t know how to go glamping, this post is for you.

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How to go glamping

There are many luxury accommodations available, but you may be on a budget or just want to glam up your tent a little. You can definitely upgrade your campsite without breaking the bank. Here are some suggestions for a beginner glamper. You many even have a few in your garage or closet!

DIY Glamping tips

1. Make sure you have a decent tent

Having the right tent can be a huge game-changer. While you can obviously sleep in a little tent and feel quite cozy, a large tent can accommodate a glamper a little better. I recommend that you choose one that you can stand up in and that has an easily accessible door. Most new tents will also have an opening for an extension cord, which is great for lamps or charging phones.

When a tent says it’s for four people, that means four sleeping bags can fit on the floor. Try for one that accommodates more than the number that will actually be sleeping so you’ll have plenty of room. Also, you may want to add tables or inflatable couches or a bigger bed in the future, so don’t go too small.

2. Cozy, pretty bedding is a must

A cozy bed is a staple of a proper glamping experience. Nobody wants a pretty campsite just to go to bed and be so uncomfortable they can’t sleep!

A raised, comfy bed is a favorite of glampers. You want your mattress to be comfortable. Inflatable ones, even when they are flocked, tend to be cold and clammy, so put an insulating layer on it under your bedding. This can be as simple as a fleece blanket or as posh as a memory foam topper.

Unless it’s really cold, opt for normal bedding. Sheets, blankets, and quilts turn camp into glamp quickly. Make sure items you bring are washable in case of dirt or spills. Then set up a small folding table or two beside the bed and add some LED candles, lanterns, or lamps.

3. Lanterns and fairy lights are magical

As much as I love camping during the day, my favorite time is the evening, when the fire is going and the lights are on. We use a fuel-powered lantern outside on the picnic table for its warm glow, but there are also plenty of pretty LED options.

Solar powered garden lights that you can put on the ground are nice for lighting your campsite boundary or for warning people not to trip on tent pegs. You can also find lots of solar string lights and hanging lanterns that add to the ambiance. If you’ve brought extension cords, you can plug in lights as well. Make sure they are rated for outdoor use if they’re not inside.

Many tents come with a loop on the ceiling that can handle a lightweight lantern. But you can put string lights (use low-temperature LED ones so they don’t melt the nylon), faux candles and lanterns, and other light sources inside.

4. Corral the dirt and use rugs

Dirt is the bane of my camping existence, so I take measures to reduce it. Put a well-draining rug at the outside entrance of your tent to collect most of the grime. You can have rugs inside as well, but you want those to be cozier. Bring a small hand broom and dustpan for cleaning up what does get tracked in.

5. Create a comfortable seating area

Sitting areas are what helps you enjoy your handiwork. You can a set up a living room both inside and outside the tent. Many people get creative with inflatable couches and throws inside. Your imagination is the limit.

For outside, bring comfortable camp chairs and a hammock or two. Feel free to pack in some cushions to toss on them for extra comfort. Bring small folding tables to hold drinks, books, and magazines. You can use your bins as footstools or tables, so get sturdy ones.

6. Bring some pretty things

Make things pretty. Bring the fun, enameled kitschy camping dishes. Use a tablecloth that has beauty as well as function for your picnic table. Store your clothes in a basket instead of a bag. Bring a couple of sturdy vases for flowers. Make or buy a cute banner or flag.

7. Don’t forget the practical!

Bring your hammer for tent pegs, lighters or matches for your fire and fuel lanterns, and outdoor extension cords to bring into your tent.

8. Be prepared for rain

This is not really a glamorous topic, but my family has had rain on all but two camping trips. Granted, we do generally camp for a week and not just for two or three days. We have found that it’s best to be prepared.

A rug that drains but can scrape off mud is good for the entrance to your tent. Shelters are great, but we’ve also covered our entire sleeping area with a giant tarp tied to trees.

Keeping the stuff outside in plastic bins can be helpful. We generally put things away before going to bed because it’s usually night when it rains.

9. Put some thought into choosing your campsite

This probably should have been first, but your camping experience can depend a lot on the site you choose. There are many options, but consider what is important to you. Do you want trees for beauty and shade or are you terrified of possible storms knocking down a branch? Is privacy and seclusion a priority, or do you want the fun of a full campground with its camaraderie and a chance to get camping ideas?

Other things to consider when choosing your campground/campsite:

  • How close the toilets and showers are
  • If there is an electric hookup at the site
  • Whether there is running water at the site
  • Laundry facilities if you think you will need to wash clothes/bedding/towels
  • A sink for washing dishes
  • How clean or nice the bathrooms are kept
  • If there is a lake or pool or river
  • Playground or activities for children
  • A camp store on the grounds or close by
  • Availablity of firewood (you should purchase this within a close radius of camp to avoid spreading invasive insects)

Glamping is for everyone, it just requires a few upgrades

Don’t worry about every single little thing. Do what you can. You might think some ideas are stupid. Don’t do them. I don’t use everything on this list, I just use what I need. Glamming up a campsite is something everyone can do. You don’t need a lot of money (although that can be nice).

There is no one way to go glamping. If you are new to camping in general, things can seem overwhelming. Don’t let that stop you. Just keep it simple. Make sure you have warm and comfortable places to sleep, a tent that doesn’t leak, drinkable water available, and food to eat. Those are the basics.

Then have fun. Add to your camping experience as you figure out what makes you happy.

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