As Shelley Long famously declared in “Troop Beverly Hills,” one of the most thought-provoking cinematic masterpieces of all time, “What an adventure! Isn’t nature fabulous, girls?” And just like that, the great (but not so clean) outdoors was suddenly viewed with new eyes.
People realized that they didn’t have to swat mosquitoes, wake up at an ungodly hour to see the sunrise, or deal with dirt that was downright…dirty. And on that celebrated day of awakening, glamping was born. Short for “glamorous camping,” glamping combines the thrill of Mother Nature with the glitz of feather pillows and mini Champagne bottles. Surely not all of us can afford glamping gear that rivals the troop from 90210, but there are still quite a few ways to enjoy glamping on a budget:
You can transform any space with the right amount of throw pillows (IKEA built an entire empire on this concept). Pack up your favorite colorful pillows and soft blankets from around the house and bring them along on your trip. The addition of color and texture will make you feel like you’ve arrived at a 4-star resort instead of drafty canvas tent, and you won’t have to spend a dime. And don’t forget to bring an air mattress or sleeping pad on your journey, because as you well know, sleeping on the ground is for peasants.
Let It Be Illuminated
Everyone knows true camping fun doesn’t begin until the sun goes down. Create an illuminated ambiance (don’t bring any candles into the forest unless you want a confrontation with Smokey the Bear) by bringing along lots of light. Solar-powered lighting options are a glamper’s best friend. Hang delicate solar-powered lanterns in the trees around your campsite during the day and wait for them to light up the night sky. You can find solar-powered string lights and lanterns at most major retailers, and these energy efficient beauties won’t break the bank.
Class Up Your Drinking Game
Thanks to the grape-loving geniuses behind portable wine glasses, it’s never been easier to drink in the wild. My personal favorite are the “Stack ‘n Go” glasses from Asobu. They’re plastic, come with a strap, take up very little space, and are cheap to boot. Besides, what says “nature” more than hiking through the woods while getting buzzed on a nice cabernet? If you’re looking for something stiffer, pack a cocktail shaker and make blueberry lavender hard lemonade or strawberry punch with a hint of pineapple for your woodsy endeavors.
Stock Up on Satiations
If you’re toting along a well-refrigerated cooler, bring some marinating meat to your campsite to eat upon arrival. Marinades are easy to make and cost-efficient, plus they make any dish sound fancy. Try your hand at spicy ginger shrimp or black pepper garlic chicken, and place the meat on skewers with your favorite vegetables like bell peppers, red onions, and mushrooms, when you’re ready to grill over an open fire. Meatless mavens can mix together pre-assembled salads (think of interesting combos like microgreens, mandarin oranges, slivered almonds, and cucumbers with Asian vinaigrette) in mason jars and bring along their favorite salad dressing on the side to enjoy near a lake. Lastly, bring along a campfire skillet to make traditional s’mores with a twist (a glamping essential). Layer chocolate chips in the bottom of the pan and a splash of condensed milk, then add marshmallows on top and melt over the fire. You’ll get a tasty s’mores dip that you can dunk graham crackers or cookies in before falling deep into a food coma inside your sleeping bag.
Trekking around in the wilderness isn’t for everyone, but with these glamping ideas, even the most luxury-loving adventurer will feel at home in the great outdoors. Or better yet, like you’ve been transported to The Plaza. Happy glamping!