You love immersing yourself in nature, but after an amazing day of exploring new trails, scrambling up a granite slab or paddleboarding on a glassy alpine lake, you want to enjoy some of the comforts of home. You want to rest your head on a real pillow (not a rolled up hoodie!) and sleep without contorting your body to avoid rocks on the ground. In the morning, you want to stand up and stretch before drinking a cup of barista-quality brew and eating freshly baked peach streusel muffins. You are a glamper. And you’re not alone—glamping has surged in popularity over the past few years. Set up your own luxury camp, complete with the modern amenities you can’t live without, using this gear guide.
Start with your sleeping space.
What you decide to bring on your glamping getaway to drift away to dreamland depends on how many people are coming, what your sleeping preferences are and where you’re going. Your family of four might enjoy elevated cots in a roomed tent with a 6-foot ceiling. If it’s you and a large crew, you may prefer to hang some hammocks in the trees, line them with insulated sleeping pads and call it a night. Hammocks can even be stacked like bunk beds to save space or keep walking paths clear. Looking for a romantic room for two with a view? Get off the ground and curl up together in a tree cabana with mesh walls. Just be sure to check with the ranger or host at organized sites before you pack up and go—sometimes tent pads aren’t large enough to support a spacious shelter and certain campgrounds require hammocks to be put away at night for the safety of animals.
Concoct a camp kitchen.
Glamping is all about the gourmet eats. You aren’t limited to boil-in-a-bag meals or whatever you can cook over the fire because, unlike backpacking, weight isn’t an issue. Go ahead and pack in a portable woodburning stove outfitted with a cooktop oven so you can bake cookies or bring along a cast iron dutch oven to master your cobbler recipes, and plan your menu accordingly. If you’re headed to a remote campsite without a dedicated picnic table, chairs and a foldable table are usually necessary so you’re not dining in the dirt; though, you could let your cooler do double duty by equipping it with a side table and cupholders and placing it on a tree stump at mealtime. And forget about drinking from plastic cups. Take a couple of reusable tumblers to toast the spectacular sunset and a portable French press or stove-top espresso café so you can sip the sleep away as the sun rises.
Add some ambiance.
Think about all the amazing photos you’ve seen of glamping resorts. What do they have in common? By day, a great view and a shady place to sit. By night, the soft glow of outdoor lights, cozy blankets and comfy pillows. Swap out the mummy bag for a plush bag built for two and throw an adventure blanket with a posh print across the bottom for bedroom-like touch. Borrow some outdoor throw pillows from your backyard and bring them along, too. Place side tables next to your cot and adorn them with non-breakable vases or lanterns to get the glamp on inside and put a welcome mat outside your tent or van. Chainable LED mini-lamps hung from your RV awning or a collection of colored lights placed on a picnic table are another way to create an inviting, Insta-worthy atmosphere.
End with entertainment.
Every good camping trip needs some downtime entertainment, like a deck of cards for evenings when your feet are tired from a grueling hike or a slackline for afternoons when you have some energy to burn. Footbags are always a fun diversion as well. But this is glamping, people! Up the ante and pack a portable power station (in addition to the camp classics) to keep your go-to gadgets juiced and ready. Even the smallest units can recharge your tablet multiple times so you can devour ebooks before bed or power a 32-inch TV for three hours before you have to break out the portable solar panels. Just be mindful of those around you when using electronics outdoors. Not everyone wants to listen to your music in the morning or fall asleep to the sounds of a scary movie while in the woods.