Glamping is becoming more and more popular and I think it’s brilliant. It’s a way of being able to give people the camping experience without the need of providing their own accommodation (RV, caravan, tent etc). First things first, there are several different levels of what I’d consider ‘glamping’, and even then other people’s opinions could be different! I grew up going on caravan holidays, now our UK caravans are very different from the US ‘campers’. Our caravans are tiny, where the only beds are converted forms of the tables and chairs. USA caravans are like huge mansions with full sized kitchens and bedrooms with extendable sides and air conditioning. That alone I’d almost consider quite a ‘high up’ version of glamping!
Depending on what type of glamping you’ll be doing, will affect the type of glamping gear that you’ll need! In my opinion, here are the 3 levels of glamping:
- Basic – One step up from a tent. For example, like my stay in a yurt in Clear Lake, Iowa. The toilet was in a central block, there were only beds (with no bedding), no appliances, just an outside grill/fire pit. It does have electricity though (lights/power outlets).
- Medium – A solid structure, more like a mini cabin, like the ‘Hut’ at Spook Cave, Iowa. Again, no toilet…just a central shower/toilet block, beds (including bedding), basic appliances (microwave, fridge), an outside grill/fire pit, electricity (lights/power outlets, maybe heat/AC).
- Full blown glamping – A cabin, such as Red Cedar Lodge in Charles City, Iowa. Complete with bedrooms, full kitchen, full bathroom IN the cabin, electricity (heat/AC, TVs etc), an outside grill/fire pit.
This glamping checklist is more aimed at the basic to medium experiences, the type of glamping that’s closer to camping, where you’d be spending more time outside, sitting around a campfire enjoying nature etc. It’s also aimed at those travelling domestically or without the use of flying (some of these accessories aren’t plane friendly)!
The accommodation websites are usually quite good at listing what’s supplied and what isn’t, so that should be your first point of reference!
If bedding isn’t included, obviously this is something you’ll need to take with you. Personally I prefer to take a sleeping bag rather than sheets and blankets, if it’s something that I have to supply myself. You can get ones that come in their own bags which are great for travel and space saving. I have 1 season sleeping bag that even has compression straps, it’s so small it can fit inside a backpack and still have plenty of space. It is very thin though, so it’s suited to warmer weather or a structure that has some sort of heating. Don’t forget a pillow!
Food & Campfire Glamping Gear
Again this will vary on what is supplied! The following glamping accessories are suited to fire pit cooking! Campgrounds will often have their own firewood supplies as they don’t like people burning ‘foreign wood’!
- Campfire forks/sticks
One of the easiest types of food to cook on a fire pit is hot dogs or sausages! By using campfire forks you don’t need to rely on having a grill/grate to cook food on. You can either hold the fork or use spare firewood to position the forks over the flames.
The forks can then be doubled up and used for dessert! For those in the UK, s’mores are such an easy campfire dessert! Stick marshmallows on the end of the forks and then squash it between two chocolate digestive biscuits to make a marshmallow sandwich, American’s…you should already know how to make a s’more!
UK version of a s’more!
If the worst comes to the worst, you can use a stick to cook marshmallows, which is what we did at summer camp. I’d pick loose bark off the stick and put the end of it in the flames for a few seconds to ‘clean’ it before putting the marshmallow on.
- Campfire Pie Iron (aka pudgy pie maker)
Pie Irons are another glamping accessory that can be used for both sweet and savoury. There are LOADS of pie iron recipes on Pinterest, from mini pizzas, cheese and ham toasties, or my personal favourite – fruit pies…made with 2 slices of buttered bread with pie filling in the middle. You will need something like butter to grease up the irons.
- Tin Foil
If you don’t have a grill, tin foil is great for wrapping food up to then cook straight on the coals. Baked potatoes can be simply just wrapped in the foil, sliced veggies with a knob of butter can be chucked onto the fire, banana boats are an idea for a dessert cooked in this way.
- A Stick Lighter or Matches
One of my glamping accommodations did actually provide a stick lighter, however it’s always good to pack one just in case! You could use matches (make sure they stay dry!) or a regular lighter, but I find the stick lighters are best as your fingers don’t have to get quite as close to the fire!
- Fire Starters or Newspaper
This one depends on how much of a ‘boy scout’ you are. You can buy fire starters that you place in the middle of the coals/wood which are easier to light or you can take an old newspaper (or junk mail! Anything that can be recycled!), as a way of just getting the fire alight!
- Campfire Coloured Flames
If you want to be really fancy, you can buy packs that you throw onto the fire that make the flames change colour (make sure you do this AFTER you’ve finished cooking!!!). If you are going to chill out and watch the campfire, you may as well watch it changing colour!
Coloured campfire flames
- Cool Box
You may or may not have a fridge when you go glamping, either way there may be a need to transport food from A to B. A cool box/cooler packed with ice will help keep food cold. Some campgrounds will sell ice (so do petrol/gas stations) if it melts and you need a refill.
Ideas For Campfire Food Supplies:
Hot dogs/sausages, bread rolls, mini tub of butter, bread, s’mores supplies, fruit pie filling (tins with ring pulls are ideal…then you don’t need to pack a tin opener!), veggies (mushrooms, green beans, peppers work well), potatoes.
Mini box of tea bags = Less packing space required!
- Plates and Cutlery
It’s up to you how you want to handle the plates and utensil situation! You can take a couple knives, forks, spoons…either metal, reusable plastic or throwaway plastic (which CAN still be reused!!). Same with plates (paper, plastic etc). Some cabins and yurts won’t have a sink so keep in mind that whatever you take may need to be washed up in a designated area. You may then need paper towel, washing up equipment, a tea towel (to dry up with).
If You Have A Microwave:
- A Mug
Preferably a microwave friendly mug! I took one so I could heat up water in the microwave. I then packed hot chocolate sachets and tea bags which I added ONCE the water was heated up.
- Microwave Oatmeal (or meals)
Most shops sell some sort of microwave meal. Individual pots of oatmeal are a good ‘healthy’ option for breakfasts (just add water). You can get full meals, pot noodles, pots of mashed potatoes…the possibilities are endless! (These ideas can also be transferred to hotel room microwaves if you are in need of a budget meal during a hotel stay!)
Sometimes you’ll find that stores nearby to campgrounds (larger campgrounds will even have their own camping supply stores) will carry supplies. For example, when we were in Silver Lake, Michigan we decided to use one of the public grills in the park one evening. We were staying in a hotel so hadn’t taken any gear with us. A nearby store sold mini bags of charcoal, lighters and burgers, sausages, buns, tongs etc, everything we needed!
Other Glamping Gear Worth Packing!
- Head Torch/Flash Light
Personally I love my head torch, I’ve been travelling with one for years. I like being ‘hands free’. It’s great for reading around the campfire, clearing up in the dark and that all important night time toilet run! A great tip is the keep your shoes near the door with the head torch or flashlight IN your shoe…that way you’ll be able to find it easily if you get up in the dark!
- Camping Chairs
Cabins will often come with some sort of outdoor furniture, usually a picnic beach. I find it more comfortable to take a camping chair, the ones that fold up and come with a storage bag are the easiest!
- A Wash Bag
Some yurts and cabins won’t have a toilet or bathroom in them, so it’s handy to have a wash bag that you can carry to the toilet/shower block. I use travel sized items such as toothpaste and shampoo, I even have a travel toothbrush that folds up. I’ll often keep a small amount of toilet paper in my wash bag too. For the most part toilet blocks are kept clean and maintained but it saves walking all the way there to find that the toilet cubicle has no paper left in it (I actually recommend this for ANYWHERE…public toilets, attractions, events, you don’t want to be caught short!).
- Travel Towel, Plastic Bag and Flip Flops
For showering I recommend using a microfibre travel towel. They fold up small and also dry quickly. It’s an idea to take a plastic bag for your clothes while you are in the shower. From YEARS of staying on campsites (over 90 campsites all together! Yes I log where I stay, just like I do with countries, flights and hotels), I’ve learnt to take a plastic bag as you can’t always guarantee how dry the cubicle will stay. Even if it’s a hook on the back of the door, it’s just nice to have somewhere dry for clothes. Flip Flops are an idea too. Sometimes you have to mop the cubicle after using it but you can’t always be sure of how many others do this…
The toilet and shower block is in the brown building
- Bug Spray/After Bite
You’re out in nature, you’ll probably need some form of bug repellant! Even when I was in Scotland we were literally attacked by midges. I got so annoyed I wore a snorkel and mask just to keep them out of my mouth when I was trying to breathe (I was young, I have no idea why I had a snorkel in Scotland)…
I have created a handy glamping checklist which you can download and print off! I have left spaces so you can add your own items to the list to go alongside my list of glamping accessories and essentials!
Found this list of glamping accessories useful? Pin it for later!