What is glamping?  Looking at the root words, it’s camping, glamorously.  This conjures up images of large canvas tents, 4 poster beds with down duvets and 600 thread count cotton sheets sitting upon a Persian rug waiting for your personal butler to bring you breakfast in bed.


I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford that kind of crazy camping. I think glamping can be so much more. When I think of glamping, I think of my mother-in-law buying all new towels and place-mats when they purchased a new trailer because the ones from the old trailer didn’t coordinate with the décor of the new trailer. Or Melissa, who camping hater though she is, has a wonderful set of funky patterned melamine dishes for camping, because it’s just as easy to eat off pretty plates than off dented tin or plain paper plates. Then I have another girlfriend who is almost done making her ‘trailer quilt’ so that her family has something beautiful and lovingly-made to snuggle under while enjoying the campfire.

Barbie had the right idea; her ‘Glamour Camper’ comes with pretty pink dishes and a chandelier.
It is possible to add some glamour, style and refinement to your camping experience on a reasonable budget whether you are in a pup tent or a huge motor home. Camping means lugging stuff around; so it may as well be attractive stuff. And this is a great time of year to seek out new items because most stores are clearing out their summer stock to make way for back to school and fall items.

You can get the ugly folding camp chairs, or you can get nice folding lawn chairs in appealing colors and patterns.  Otherwise, get a couple of nice throw pillows to put behind your back when sitting on the ugly chairs… In the trailer, they can spruce up the couch.

Eating and Drinking:
The simplest thing you can do to smarten up a campsite is lay a nice vinyl tablecloth on the picnic table.  These are inexpensive and available in a range of patterns and colors.  Superstore is my go-to store since the end-of-season clearance sales are a great way to stock up for next year.
I have a friend who tries to keep dishwashing to a minimum while camping (who can blame her!). She always uses lovely, patterned paper plates and equally attractive, colorful paper napkins.  If you prefer to have real plates, Superstore, Winners, Homesense and Zellers have amazing selections at reasonable prices for melamine or plastic plates.  They change the patterns, colors and even the shapes yearly, so you can pick up pieces as needed for a funky, bo-ho selection of dishware, or pick up everything at once for a sophisticated, coordinated look.

It is now possible to get plastic wine glasses that look just as good as the real thing; so much more civilized than plastic cups or travel mugs.  Be forewarned: they are almost always bigger than they seem-we have some that will hold half a bottle of wine with space remaining.  Not necessarily a bad thing when you are sitting enjoying your nice chairs and don’t want to get up for a refill…

It’s a good idea to put a mat in front of the tent entrance or the door to the trailer to keep most of the dirt and rocks out, so choose a beautiful, yet functional doormat.  Make sure it’s washable though!  I’ve seen some nice ones at Wal-Mart and RV dealerships have larger ones.

You might think my mother-in-law was a bit over the top with her changing of the towels, but she also has a point. Whether you’re bathing in a trailer, public shower or the creek, nice towels add a great dash of colour and are better than drab, worn out towels.  And drying dishes with pretty or interesting dishtowels kind of makes up for the fact that you’re hand-washing them.

I found a bed-in-a-bag set at Superstore to go in the trailer; it was $25 for a comforter, pillow shams, bed skirt and 3 accent cushions. Yes, $25, on clearance.  I don’t bother with the pillow shams or bed skirt (although I may replace the curtains in the trailer with the fabric) but it makes a big difference to my state of mind to enter that area and see everything looking nice.   I do admit that the sheets are older ones that I don’t use at home anymore, but the colors complement the rest of the bedding. The area I struggle with is the kid’s beds; they have older but still nice comforters, but they prefer their Tinkerbell and Cars sleeping bags.  Sigh.

So whether you need to replace some old equipment or are just starting out and need everything, seek out functional yet appealing gear.  Don’t just go camping; go glamping!

July 23, 2011