If the thought of spending a night under the stars, embracing nature, with no electricity and dodging creepy-crawlies makes you break out in hives, then let us introduce you to the world of “glamping” — camping in serious style for the five-star girl who can’t live without her creature comforts.
Camping: affordable family fun, where you’re all stuck in a couple of tiny tents, eating canned food with a distinctive flavour more commonly known as campfire ash, swatting at mosquitoes and sleeping on a cold, hard ground with things that bite and sting. Sounds like fun, right? Hell no! Once upon a time, having dry socks and a pillow were considered luxury items on a camping trip. Not anymore, sister! You can be at one with nature without having to give up your luxuries in life.
Lots of established glamping sites can be found across Canada, where you can rent yurts, tepees, airstreams and tents, all decked out with the mod-cons. We have one of the very best just a 45-minute private seaplane flight from Vancouver. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is luxury at its utmost. Tents are decked out with king-size beds, underfloor heating and flush toilets, and you can choose from an enormous range of activities, from bear-watching to visiting nearby hot springs. It’s well worth it — if you can afford it. Rates start from around $4,750 for three nights.
However, if you’re on a budget and have maxed-out credit cards, we’re going to teach you how to go glamping like a boss — without spending thousands.
These are the most important things you need to kick-start your glamping holiday:
- A car with a tow bar so you can tow a trailer of all your luxury items.
- A big trailer — the bigger, the better. Hire a horse float if you have too.
- A tent site. If you can find somewhere with an established shower block that has laundry facilities with power points, you’ll be winning.
Sleep like a king
A good night’s sleep on a soft mattress is paramount to an enjoyable glamping experience. There are several bedding options you can select, which depend on how much space you have in your trailer:
- Take your bed. That’s right — take your entire bed, with your 100 per cent Egyptian cotton sheets and fancy quilt cover.
- Innerspring mattress with pillow top. If your mattress is detachable from your bed base, you should be able to tie it to the roof of your car, saving on trailer space.
- King-size blow-up air bed with extra foam padding. You do not want to have to blow this up by huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf, so make sure you take a foot pump or an electric hand pump that will do all the hard work for you. Simply plug it into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter.
Recline in comfort
You’ll need to have somewhere to sit, so it might as well be comfortable. You could try to take a couple of recliners or a sofa with you, but failing that, beanbags, lots of big, plush scatter cushions or comfortable camping chairs will suffice.
Rent a portable generator that can provide lighting for your tent, run a portable fridge and even provide power for a small television, hair dryer, heating or cooling. Alternatively, try running a mega-long extension cord from established laundry facilities if they are available.
Eat like a queen
Who wants to eat canned food or dehydrated astronaut-type food? If you’re not too far from town and have cell phone reception, you could order pizza and have it delivered to your campsite or you could go pick up food from a nearby restaurant. Want to cook? Take a gourmet hamper and a couple of bottles of your favourite Champagne. Steaks and even lobster will taste great cooked on an open fire!
Try these gourmet recipes on your campfire >>
Other luxuries you might like to include:
- A couple of good books or magazines to read.
- Paddling pool — during hot weather, this is great for sitting in while drinking your Champagne.
- Portable solar shower if you don’t have access to shower facilities.
- Rechargeable speakers and an iPod.
- Old bath tub (if you have room; boil some hot water over the campfire for a relaxing soak).
- Bug repellent.
With our starting points on what you need for the camping trip of a lifetime, you get the idea. It takes only a bit of creative planning. So next time your partner suggests getting up close and personal with nature, you can tell him to leave all planning to you.