We all love camping; the starry nights, the adventure, the incessant rain pattering that keeps you wide awake as it seeps steadily through the sides of your tent into your damp, cocoon-like sleeping bag, while your stomach churns from a dinner of blackened dogs and cheap brews.
Perhaps it's time you tried "glamping" or "glamorous camping." This new trend in camping involves luxury living in the outdoors with an eco-friendly slant for the conscientious vacationer. Think African safari brought to, well, anywhere you want. Glamping sites are popping up from California to Colorado, Texas to Hawaii, and even right next door at the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on Vancouver Island, B.C. Attending this hotel-like luxury living environment in the middle of the wilderness, though, can cost a hefty fee. At Clayoquot prices start at $4,650 per person for three nights.
If that's a bit out of your budget, skip the spendy pre-pitched tents and DIY your way to a glamping adventure. Here are a few crafty tricks and tips to get you in tune with nature (and not with a root-induced back sprain).
Create a comfy bed
With our rainforest weather it might be difficult to plan for a bedoin-like glamping retreat with swaths of fabric fluttering in the wind. Instead opt to deck out a cozy cabin provided by the local forest service. From $25-$45 per night these affordable digs come pre-equipped with stoves and are always dry, whatever the weather. Glam up your cabin by focusing on comfy and luxurious bedding. Since you've ditched the tent, fill the space in your pack with a thick mattress roll, some sister-zip sleeping bags and a duvet cover. Even throw in a pillow, the difference between your bundled campfire-scented sweatshirt and a real cushion will make it a real glamping trip.
Make it a picnic to remember
Do double-duty with the duvet by turning it into a lovely colored tablecloth throw for an evening dining adventure around the picnic table. Top the cloth with flowers and finery. For a drive-up beach picnic adventure, bring out the real tableware, fabric napkins, and plastic champagne flutes (respect the no-glass rules please). Then create the right ambiance by placing flickering tea lights into mason jars. Another take on this idea is to take tin cans, poke star patterns in the side with an awl and watch the stars flicker twice while you dine.
Go gourmet with your groceries
No need to eat kiddie dogs just because you're camping. Take a second try at the beans and franks meal by switching in three-bean salad and gourmet beer-soaked brauts. Replace the usual low-brow lager with a craft ale paired especially for your meal. For a fun glamped-up take on beer, try a brew tasting with specialty beers. Then, round out your meal by toasting up homemade mallows, dark cocoa bars and crispy gingerbread into an Epicurean tower of fancy s'mores.
Tanna Peters is a local crafter, illustrator and designer. Craft with her online at www.alaskacrafter.com and join the Craft Addicts, a local crafting collective, at www.craftaddicts.blogspot.com. She welcomes your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.