Confessions of a First Time Glamper

July 10, 2013

All of us (except poor Henri) went on an extended weekend to the island of Chincoteague. It was great! Such a nice getaway. Instead of getting a hotel room we thought about camping. We've never been camping with the kids so I was a little hesitant but I really wanted to try my hand at "glamping" so we decided to take a chance and go for it!
There were several things I learned from our "glamping" experience that I'll share with you. But first I want to go through some of the things which I made and bought to make the experience more glampy. First off, to cover the tarp flooring of our tent I bought these faux hardwood vinyl remnants from The Home Depot. The brand was called Natco. I couldn't find them online but they sold them in store for only about 50 cents a square foot and it was sold in pieces 8'x5' and 16'x10'. Vinyl flooring may seem a bit insane to some of you but once it was all rolled up together and placed along the floor of the van lengthwise it took up very little space. AND, not only did it look better than tarp but it felt a lot nicer on our feet as well.
Check out this cozy butterfly chair Lily is relaxing in. I got both the chair and the footstool FREE off Craigslist. I had to go a little further than our hometown but it was totally worth it! I bought the fabric from Hancock in faux cowhide and it feels divine! Then I sewed elastic around the edges and just covered the old cushions. The great thing about butterfly chairs is that they are foldable. EVERYTHING I brought was either foldable or deflatable. That is very key when glamping! 

The wooden folding table I also bought off Craigslist for $10. When I bought all my glamping items off Craigslist I did it in one long trip that went all the way to Baltimore (about 80 miles away) but I got about five different things so the cost of gas was about the same as if I made 5 little trips around our immediate area. I got the cute little lamps at Target for only $9.99 a piece. They're from the Threshold collection.
This was probably my favorite part of the "glamping" planning. It's an inflatable sofa that pulls out into a queen sized bed. This is what the kids slept on at night. You can buy it here on Amazon for $52.99! Now, I made a custom chenille slipcover with fringe piping and welted buttons. I also placed some memory foam on the top of the seat to make it soft. The side tables I bought off Craigslist for $15. They fold. The plants are artificial and I bought them at IKEA. They're the Fejka and they were only $5.99 a piece.
This was also pretty fun. Our bed was completely inflatable. I got this Coleman raised queen sized bed at Target for only $45. The inflatable faux leather headboard I got on Craigslist but you can find it cheap on eBay or for full retail here. The floor rugs I got at Target through their Threshold collection. They were perfect. I can't find them online but they were sold in the store. If I were to add one thing to the "glamping" list it would actually be a small welcome mat for the out side of the tent. People were always walking barefoot and tracking all their dirt onto the new floor mats. A small grass type mat in front of the door would have solved that problem. The bedding we already owned.
I also got these VERY lightweight picture frames from IKEA. They're from the NYJTTA line and they're only $7.99 a piece. Also comes in white and a couple other uglier colors. Instead of glass it uses plastic which makes it easy to use for glamping. It doesn't comes with a matted frame underneath but I made one easily with the paper that was already in the frame.
The inflatable sofa bed was so comfy. Even I enjoyed sitting on it. The girls sat on it and watched "Escape from Planet Earth" while Brian made steaks and hotdogs for dinner. It felt so cozy!
This is the outside of our tent at twilight. As you can see it's a good sized tent. I bought it last year at Walmart for $139. They still sell it but it's now in grey and red but I think I like tan, red and black better. Plus, ours has a nice little canopy for a small porch-like entryway which the newer models don't have and the doors open more like traditional doors. The new model looks more space-like with rounded doors and windows. Of course, if I had MY WAY, I'd get the true "Glamping" tents. Either the bell tents or the wall tents that sell for $1000. But I'm happy with this. It's not fluorescent and it's the perfect size.
Some things I would have done differently if I were to go "glamping" again.....We glamped at the beach. While we succeeded in doing it I don't think I'd do a "beach" glamping trip again. Because the amount of stuff you have to pack for both camping and beach going is just too much. I could have cut our load in half if either we didn't camp or didn't go to the beach. We have a minivan and a roof rack but it still was really cramped while we drove 6 hours to the campsite and it took me an entire day to pack the car.
Another thing I did was pack a queen sized memory foam mattress topper. I placed it in a Space Bag and vacuumed the air out of it. This was a fantastic idea in theory but there were several problems. The amount of effort it took to get the large mattress in the space bag was awful. Then, worst of all, pretty much all the Space bags I bought only stayed vacuum sealed for a few hours then they gradually took on air until they were slightly smaller than when I first vacuumed the air out. If anyone knows of a good vacuum sealed bag please let me know. I bought two different kinds, Ziplock and Honey Can Do. Both worked at first but the Honey Can Do bags had holes immediately in the corners. Even after I patched them they still refused to stay sealed. So if I had to do it over, I'd scrap the whole space bag and memory foam mattress idea and just get this Aerobed Memory foam built-in inflatable bed or this Coleman memory foam topper inflatable bed. I'm sure it folds up nicely since the box I saw it in at Target was pretty small. It might not be as comfy as our 4" memory foam topper but it's probably worth not having to deal with all the extra headache.
Also, my butterfly chairs were highly cushioned which took up a lot of room. I would just use a canvas or DIY a faux cowhide cover instead.

But all in all we had a seriously amazing time! I'm so glad we glamped. It did take a bit of extra effort but camping always takes more effort over staying at a hotel anyway. Next I'll show you how we glamped it up in the sand and surf at the beach.....

8 {comments}:

cjknick said... Best Blogger Tips

This is awesome & totally my kind of camping! TFS!

M. at Making Sense of Cents said... Best Blogger Tips

I love this! Looks like so much fun.

Lisa said... Best Blogger Tips

I agree with the first commenter-- very much "my kind of camping"! Style in the wilderness. And I like your tent colors/style better than the new one you mentioned, too!

opportunityknits said... Best Blogger Tips

woah I LOVE it!

Titti @ Shoestring Pavilion said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow, I love this! I don't think I'll ever go trough all the extra work (and cost) for myself but I know I would love it if someone else did the brunt of the work :) Of course, we only camp for a few days at a time and maybe it'd be worth if for a few weeks' worth of camping. Either way - way to go, you!

Justine/ Sew Country Chick said... Best Blogger Tips

I might consider camping if I could do it like this! We had a vintage trailer for awhile and that was fun. Now if only something could be done about all the unstylish campers at the campgrounds?

Leslie said... Best Blogger Tips

I suspect your tent is bigger than my house... I admit it looks stylie but would it be easier to hire a cabin? :)

Kathleen Frances said... Best Blogger Tips

@Leslie:-P Easier....YES! Definitely easier. Part of the reason we "glamped" was because I wanted to go to the beach on the cheap. It's only $25 a night to camp vs. $100+ a night for a cabin or hotel. I did find a really cheap "cabin" on Chincoteague but the conditions and online reviews were scary.

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