Updated: Sep 24, 2022
Camping: you love it or you hate it. Personally, I love the smell of the fresh air, the incredible views of nature, and the bird songs when I wake up in my tent. Understandably, some people in my family are less than thrilled at sleeping on the hard ground, eating dehydrated meals, and being attacked by mosquitos.
Glamping is a 21st century word that means luxury camping, or camping with amenities. For some people, this might mean buying an RV. Other people might rent a yurt or tree house via a site like Hipcamp. Glamping doesn't have to be expensive, though. After many years of taking newbie campers out to the woods, I've discovered four simple ways to make outdoor living a lot more comfortable for everyone.
1. A Comfortable Bed
Warning: sleeping directly on the ground may lead to long, sleepless nights! A sleeping bag is essential, of course, but so is some kind of padding. Luckily, there are lots of comfy options for catching some z's in the woods.
Pad or air mattress. The most basic way to get some cushioning is with a sleeping pad (common for minimalist backpackers) or an air mattress (pro tip: bring an inflater other than your lungs!).
Cot. If you have stiff knees or a bad back, a cot may be the ideal way enjoy the outdoors while still enjoying a good night's rest. RGV Outdoor Gear has affordable options that get you off the ground and do even more, like protect you from mosquitos. With our Single Tent Cot Basic, you don't even need a separate tent.
2. Bathroom Facilities
Before you go camping, check out the bathroom facilities. Some campgrounds have flush toilets and hot showers. But if you're camping in a remote location, you may be stuck digging a cathole if you haven't made other plans. After trying that once, my wife said never again! Here are some ways to stay fresh and clean on any budget:
Camping toilet. There are a variety of portable toilets on the market, but I made this DIY one for my wife and it does the job.
Biodegradable wipes, camp soap, and hand sanitizer. Anytime I'm backpacking (or even just taking a road trip), I bring along some camping soap, hand sanitizer, and biodegradable wet wipes. This is the most basic hygeine maintenance.
Camping shower. As long as you have clean water and sunlight, you can indulge in a hot shower anywhere with this 20L Portable Solar Camping Shower.
3. Fresh Meals
When I'm doing ultralight backpacking, I eat a lot of dehydrated meals, granola bars, and trail mix. No question, this diet gets old fast, and I can't wait to hit up a restaurant when I'm out of the backcountry. If you're car camping, though, you can set up an entire kitchen in your campsite and make a meal that will impress the whole family!
Refrigerator. Coolers are great for a day or two, but then all your ice melts and you're left with soggy, questionable vegetables. If you're taking a longer trip, take along our 55-Quart Thermoelectric Electric Car Refrigerator.
Table and chairs. Many people don't want share their delicious meal with the ants on the ground! If your campsite doesn't come equipped with a picnic table, be sure to bring folding chairs and a folding table.
4. Electronic Devices
Some people may relish the thought of unplugging for a few days, but for others doing without mobile phones and electricity is a deal breaker. Here are some ways to keep everyone charged up and plugged in.
Battery-powered light. Even the most minimalist campers take a light. This one comes with a fan!
Portable charging station. If you need a way to power your CPAP machine, cell phone, iPad, or camera, try our Gofort 200W Portable Power Station. For something with a little more juice, get your own solar panel! Try our GOFORT 330W Portable Power Station, with ten charging outputs to charge devices simultaneously.
My reluctant campers are much happier now that we've acquired gear to help them sleep well, stay clean, enjoy good food, and stay connected. And I enjoy these upgrades, too! Even hardcore backpackers can enjoy the glamping life. What do you bring along to make your camping experience more enjoyable?