Top Glamping Tips for Non-Campers
So, first of all, a confession. I’m really not a happy camper. Turns out I’m also not great at glamping (I’m generally more of a ‘hotel’ kind of person). I was fully invested in the whole concept, ready for crackling fires and marshmallows and sleeping bags and fry ups – but no, I still couldn’t hack it. Mainly because it was flipping freezing, a woodburning stove doesn’t burn all night long (brrr) and it takes a loooong time to boil a kettle without electricity. However, all was not in vain as I learnt some valuable lessons: hopefully some of these will be useful to any novice non-campers too.
Prepare and take food that can be cooked easily
We went on our unfortunate glamping trip in early January, when it was a little chilly (to put it mildly), but this advice holds true for any time of year. Travelling to your campsite/glampsite, setting up the fort and unpacking all requires energy – particularly if your spot is in the middle of nowhere, and you have to park your car what feels like several thousand miles away. Starting your glamping trip hangry and irritated is not the best feeling. Make sure you have some snacks and a few filling meals prepared and packed in advance. If you’re trying to keep the budget down, make a hearty batch of flapjacks full of nuts and fruit to keep people’s energy levels up and make sure they’re packed somewhere that’s easily accessible (but not so accessible that you eat them all in the car on the journey there). We also made a monster portion of stew – again cheap, filling, easy to heat up and requiring minimal utensils to eat. For summer trips, consider one-pot meals that are easy to transport and dole out: a pile of pasta salad will be easy to store, and there’s something about stodgy carbs that’s super comforting on a camping jaunt. If, like us, you’re also not barbecue pros I’d leave the chargrilling for the next night’s dinner: everyone always forgets how long a barbecue takes to properly heat up, and good, fast food is the order of the day on arrival. Plus, “food poisoning” and “compost toilet” are not two words that should ever be in the same sentence.
Keep things clean
And by this I mean vigilant, OCD-level dirt avoidance! (It’s up to you if you want to set the caravan a-rocking…). One of my main gripes about glamping is how grubby everything starts to feel after a day or two – including you. I also seemed to spend every few minutes shouting TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF whenever my partner in crime tried to walk into our glamping abode with his muddy boots on. No matter how hard I tried, mud did eventually find its way in, either from shoes brought inside to avoid rain, or from trouser hems scuffed on the floor. Unless you’re really doing high-end glamping, its likely that you’ll essentially be living in one room, so mud eventually gets everywhere. Even into the bed. Ugh. Again, unless you’re splashing out you may not have running water inside your glamping den, so antibacterial wipes or gel within easy reach are essential. And bring a few with you – one bottle of gel will get lost.
A pack of cards = hours of fun
It’s a cliché, but one of the things that I did really like about glamping was the whole ‘off the grid’ feeling. In the deepest, darkest countryside with no streetlamps, phone signal, wifi, and limited electricity from solar panels, we really had to find new ways to entertain ourselves. I always take a pack of cards when we go away, but on camping or glamping trips they really come into their own. Everyone has a card game that they enjoy, and it’s just as good with a large group as it is playing in a pair. If little ones are coming along for the ride, it’s even more important to have a few entertainment tricks up your sleeve, particularly if bad weather prevents outdoor exploration. Most glamping rentals will have games or sometimes even musical instruments there for guest use, but it’s always good to go prepared with some of your own – particularly for when you get there and find one of the integral elements for Mousetrap is missing, or that a previous guest made off with several of the Cluedo weapons…
Pack clothes for all temperatures
Easily removed layers are key here – it’s amazing how quickly tents can become sauna-like, and equally how cold it can get at night. Once you become cold it can also be difficult to get warm again. Even with hot water bottles, we were huddling together for warmth by 3am. Being sensible in hot weather is equally important: hats are essential for outdoor roaming (and I’m admitting this as a long-time hat refuser) and, by-the-by, always make sure you have enough bottled water if drinkable tap water is in short supply or a walk away. I’m always amazed by how many massive bottles of water we get through when in a hot country, and despite your best intentions, it’s unlikely that you’ll get out of bed in the middle of the night to go fetch water from the nearby cabin that has water plumbed in.
Make sure you’re close to civilisation
If you’re on a first-time camping or glamping trip, take it easy. Whilst it sounds terribly tempting and romantic to set up camp in the wilderness, or book that log cabin in the mountains, you may be surprised by how quickly you miss home comforts. Neither me or my travelling partner were particularly adept campers, and we lasted exactly one night before moving into the nearby holiday cottage. (I have never, ever, been so grateful for central heating, hot running water and a bath. Bliss). You may also get bored of your camp-food repertoire quite quickly, and having the option to eat out and let someone else do the cooking is worth having. (Using a proper toilet that flushes is nice too…Just saying). By all means go for somewhere remote, scenic and beautiful, but make sure a few shops and restaurants are within easy reach, just in case.
Alcohol is your friend!
If all else fails, alcohol will help. (I’d normally resort to tea first, but when the kettle takes that long to boil I’m straight onto the hard stuff). Alcohol can warm you up, chill you out and generally improve any situation. A warm cup of mulled wine or cider in the winter months can work wonders, and a glass of wine enjoyed with a stunning summer sunset is equally lovely. Alcohol will also improve any card game, and a bottle of red will give that pot of stew a real kick. And after three days of eating stew, you might need it.
Do you have any other camping and glamping tips and tricks? Feel free to share – along with any stories of terror or triumph – in the comments below!
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