I may be an honorary city girl, but I'm a small town girl at heart. This means I love anything outdoors. And I do love to camp.
When I was at college in Dallas, I organized a huge camping trip with all of our friends in Oklahoma. I still can't believe I convinced some of them to go! A few of them had been camping before, but several were from New York City, San Francisco, Orange County -- you name it -- and had never done anything like that. It was a blast.
It was pretty low key in terms of prep, but if I could re-do it, I'd incorporate a few of these cool ideas into the trip. Maybe this means I need to send out another group email and get the ball rolling...
*Click on the images to shop it!
Throw three packets of Mystical Fire into your campfire and you are setting the ultimate mood lighting for up to 2.5 hours. It's a cool way to create a unique ambiance, whether you're camping with your friends or want to entertain the kids while they roast marshmallows in the fire. ($2.50 per pack, or $12 for a pack of 10 on MysticalFire.com)
Photo Credit: MysticalFire.com
Eton Rugged Rukus Solar-Powered Bluetooth Speaker
If you're in the mood to splurge, or are just a music junkie like I am, this purchase would be more than worth it. Weighing just 1.6 lbs, it has carabiner-ready loops for easy toting and it can even charge your cell phone via USB. (MSRP is $129 on EtonCorp.com.)
Photo Credit: EtonCorp.com
Panela cane sugar + Colombian coffee = that's it. And it makes one hell of a cup of instant coffee. Just add water (or milk if you have it) and stir to enjoy. It also comes in a variety of flavors such as mocha, hazelnut and caramel. ($14.99 for a 24-cube box on JivaCubes.com.)
Lounge-Worthy Accessories: Outdoor Pillows and Blankets
If you have the ability to pack your car full of stuff and style your campsite for glamping, the best bet is a mixture of picnic blankets (most have one waterproofed side) and outdoor pillows that can stand up to the elements. This pillow and picnic blanket from SunnyLife are functional while making it look more comfortable and cozy. Oh, and it might make for a good 'gram or two. (Beach Pillow in Castillo, $12 from SunnyLife; Beach & Picnic Blanket in Montauk, $62 from SunnyLife.)
Photo Credit: SunnyLife.com
Save Your Solo Cups For Another Party
A case for acrylic glassware: if you're really channeling the glamping aesthetic, chances are you are probably not going to be hiking your way into the wilderness several miles so you have more leeway with what you can physically pack and bring. So take advantage of it if you can! Make your campsite extra home-y with just a few serving items that are still sensible for outdoor wear and tear. These acrylic glasses from West Elm are a great option, and if you really want to go full hostess-with-the-mostess on it, you can find some rustic beverage coolers and serving trays. (Quilted Acrylic Glassware from West Elm, $20 for Set of 4.)
Photo Credit: WestElm.com
Upgrade Your Seating Options
Recently, I was organizing a beach day with my friends and because the group ended up being so large, and because the weather was going to be so hot, I was trying to find some key things to make it more comfortable for everyone for an all-day hang out sesh. I was looking everywhere for a picnic table set that was easy to carry on/off the beach that wasn't crazy expensive. I thought it was impossible to find - but then I found this gem from AOSOM. I was a little too late for my beach party, but hopefully I can still help you guys out! This actually folds down flat for easy stacking. Plus if you want to glamp it up, you can throw a runner down the middle and decorate with place settings to your heart's content. (Aosom, $98.99.)
Photo Credit: AOSOM.com
Make a Signature Drink
While some of you may roll your eyes at this, hear me out for a second. In the spirit of making time with your friends extra special, why not put an entertaining spin on a party around a bonfire? Make a signature drink for the first night of camp to kick things off, such as a big batch of Moscow Mules, or a spiked lemonade. Of course this doesn't necessarily have to include alcohol at all -- you can do a summertime punch or a pitcher of spiced apple cider. It's an easy, inexpensive and relatively no-frills way to get everyone in a festive mood for the time you'll be camping (or glamping) together. (Enamel Drink Dispenser, $39.99 from Pottery Barn.)
Photo Credit: PotteryBarn.com
A blog post from You + Me blew up on Pinterest after she posted this epic picture of her version of backyard Twister. How genius?! Also, this is a great campfire game option that's not too hokey. My initial thought though was, "...but is that bad for the grass?" And the good news is, the answer is, actually no. Krylon water-based marking chalk is the same stuff that pros use to mark off soccer fields, outdoor volleyball courts and even home landscaping projects. It comes in a variety of colors, so grab a can in each color and spray away to make your temporary Twister happen outdoors. (Krylon water-based marking chalk, $11.95)
Last but not least, the absolute #1 thing that will amp up the glamp in your glamping is lighting. Real candles can be a hazard in the outdoors obviously, so scoop up some LED light candles instead. They're battery-powered and seriously look like the real thing. You won't have to worry about wind, weather or a potential wildfire risk. A candlelit dinner in a tent just became a real possibility without making Smokey the Bear your enemy. You can get just about any style/size of candle in LED, but votives are nice for placing in small groups and don't take up too much space. Plus, they're cheap! (LED Flameless Candles, Banberry Designs $19.99 for a set of 24 votives.)
Photo Credit: Banberry Designs