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By the author of What School Should Have Taught You
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m something of a purist when it comes to backpacking. If you’re not sleeping out of what you’re carrying on your back, you’re not camping. You’re glamping. That being said, I readily admit that there are times when living out of a bag on your back isn’t the way to go.
Maybe you’re doing a bit of traveling for a business trip or seeing family, and you still need a place to stay, but you want to do it cheaply.
You don’t have the money for a decent hotel room, and you’ve had a lot of bad experiences with “bargain” hotel rooms. All the Vrbo and Airbnbs are booked as well. It all ends up combining to form the perfect storm of variables to make you desperate for a place to stay.
If that’s where you find yourself, I think the answer is glamour camping, aka glamping.
With glamping, you basically plop your tent down right in front of your car and pull out all of the luxury amenities you need to make yourself as comfortable as possible without having to pay an arm and a leg for travel lodging.
While primitive camping out of a backpack is the purist’s way out here, it’s not always feasible. If you have some type of meeting the next morning that requires you to look presentable – let’s say you’re going to look at a house out of state – you’re going to need to pack a few amenities that won’t fit into a hiking backpack.
Here are a few of the items I recommend to allow you to travel on the cheap with as many amenities as possible.
A Dutch oven
One of the first pieces of equipment I would recommend would be a little Dutch oven. You can do just about any cooking task you desire with one of these. If it’s just you going out there, I would recommend one with a 6-8” width. If there are more of you going, you’re going to want a bigger one.
This will let you cook your meals as you’re out there, saving you a small fortune on food. Rather than having to pay for restaurant food, this will enable you to spend normal money at a normal grocery store.
Daisy has written in the past about how carrying a cooler in her car saves her money. It can save you money with glamping as well. When you head out to that grocery store, you’re going to need someplace to keep all of your food without it going bad as you travel. A cooler is the ticket. Personally, I’m a fan of the Yeti knockoffs. We’ve kept ice frozen in them for several days on multiple occasions.
You can do the whole open-fire cooking thing if you want, but if you want to bake anything in your Dutch oven, you’re going to have the best luck and the most consistent, stress-free results by carrying a charcoal starter with you.
These are so much easier to work with than an open fire. If you have the space, I would throw in a K stove. If space is an issue, use the original. You’ll have an easy-to-use stove with you that will help you to put hot food in your stomach without having to worry about running out of propane.
This is essential. If you slept in the woods, you’re going to look like it the next morning. A camping shower helps you to look and smell presentable the next morning.
A big tarp
This is for the camping shower. It’ll give you some privacy, so you don’t scare the other campers off.
I think this is another essential as well. You will sleep so much better on a sleeping cot than you will on the ground. I’ve tried a myriad of ground pads, and none of them really do much for me. You are going to want to be well rested so that you don’t come to dread the coming of nightfall and its misery. A sleeping cot is the ticket here.
(This one will hold yo’ momma.)
This will help you to ensure that you don’t look like Don King when you wake up.
Not only are these good for drinking (duh), but they also help you to be able to wash your hands, fix cow licks the shower couldn’t handle, or brush your teeth.
Off-grid coffee-making ability is essential. You can make cowboy coffee if you like, but if we’re looking for maximum comfort, I think that packing in a camper’s French press is the way to go here.
Glamping is the best way I know of to combine cheap travel, autonomy, and comfort.
Don’t want to be shackled to a family member’s house? Glamping. Don’t want to go broke traveling? Glamping. Don’t want to be miserable all night fighting off the weather, bugs, and the hard ground? Glamping.
There are a lot of benefits here, but you have to make sure you have the right tools first. But what are your thoughts? Are there other tools or pieces of gear that you would recommend here? Have you ever been glamping? Was it fun? Let’s talk about it in the comments section.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.