Glamping? Who would have thought? Well someone did and now we have glamorous camping. However you don't have to have the resources or top of the line equipment associated with glamping to add a little extra comfort to your stay.
These tips are appropriate for holiday homes, caravans and straight up sleeping in a tent. If you are driving, you can get creative with the ideas, but if it's just you and a backpack, then they can still be incorporated without taking up precious space. Have you ever noticed how instant coffee tastes like nectar of the gods when you're roughing it? Ever forgotten something and then felt like naming the stranger who gives it to you as your new king? We are more susceptible to influences when we are getting out in nature and it's then that enhancements seem like pure genius.
1 – Spices
Variety is the spice of life? Forget about it, spice is the variety of life baby! These little gems are made for camping. Seriously, a bit of cumin or coriander in your two minute noodles and all of a sudden you're at a feast. Paprika on that baked potato out of the fire and it's hearty nomad fare. You can just make one all-purpose spice mix or take tiny plastic packets of a few different flavours. They take up virtually no space and at the very least see what just salt and pepper transforms your meals into when you are far from home.
2 – Sheets I'm sure we've all been somewhere that says 'linen included', but it's not. Take fresh sheets and experience the sense of self-satisfaction that comes from being imminently comfortable when others all around you are roughing it. There's nothing better than a restful sleep when you want to spend the next day, surfing, hiking or boarding. Sheets can also be used as extra protection from rain and sun or helpful aides to entertainment such as in the building of cubby houses. At worst they can be used as extra towels, tea towels, bandages and slings.
Buy new ones. This is gold advice passed down to me and it works every time. If you can afford it and especially if you are going camping in the true sense, buy new walking socks and laugh ruthlessly as those around are felled with blisters. New underwear just gives you extra sense of cleanness that seems to disappear after one day in the bush.
4 – Games Ever get board of mind games? You won't get bored of either board or mind games when you're on holiday. When thinking of appropriate board games you don't literally need to have a board. Cards and dice are really versatile but you might need something to keep score on too. Some friends achieved this quite successfully with bark and charcoal from the fire. Mind games are a great way to keep alert when driving or approaching the end of a long days walk. They keep you focused and in the present moment so accidents are less likely to occur and spirits are kept high.
5 – Books A book of stories is great at night time for kids and adults alike. It taps into something primal and stops the loud mouth of the group waxing lyrical about things you've a million times before. If you want to be super impressive memorise something before you go. If you think a book will take up too much room then do a print out of few pages, it can just be stuffed in pocket and may come in handy for extra toilet paper or if you need to leave a note. There are also books that you can obtain that identify the flora and fauna you are walking or driving through, this is a great way to really connect with what you are doing and sneak in a bit of educational fun.
6 – Chopping board This is one from a long line of experiences. Benches and chopping boards at caravans and holiday homes are often yuck. And when you are camping, it's one of the only things you can't really make do like a stick for a stirrer or a stump for a seat. A flexible board that can be rolled up or plastic sheet that is very thin can be laid over any other impromptu surface.
7 – Freshness
This is especially great if you are driving. Going past anywhere that is selling fresh produce, just stop and buy some. Fruit or vegetables you will be doing yourself a favour and even if you are walking just tie it to your pack and it will be all gone by the next day anyway. Last time we bought some 'garden onions' I had never seen their like before. Placing them by my feet near the air vent flooded the whole car with a delicious savoury smell that was a good prelude to how unbelievably good they tasted cooked with that nights fish.
8 – Secret Sweets I know chocolate is a given when hiking, it's good for energy and morale and trail mix usually has sweet sultanas or granola chunks but secret sweets are different. They should be kept a secret and a moment will come when they are just perfect. Indulging a Baci ball with the only other person willing to climb right to the top or when you are the last ones left doing everyone else's dishes, these are magic moments.
9 – A Nip
Now I know a lot of people take a fair amount of alcohol camping but this is not what I'm suggesting here. Just a little hip flask hidden in your pack for emergencies. These can be when everyone else is just really not doing it for you, when someone is upset or injured or instead of antiseptic. More than a little to an injured person however is a big no-no as it thins the blood.
10 – Educate Yo-self!
Wherever you are going will have a history. Colonial and environmental, this information gives new perspective to your experience and gives you something to talk about away from modern life. There is however another sort of history that I find more interesting and that is folklore or myth, especially creation stories of the landscape and creatures that inhabit it. There will be local imps and fairy like creatures as well as things that go bump in the night, discuss them around the campfire if you dare. You can pre-educate yourself or stop at a visitors centre and talk to someone there who will be more than happy to answer your questions or direct you to landmarks.