Style Under the Stars
By Traci McBride
If you haven’t stepped foot in a campground lately, you’re in for a surprise.
Elaborate tents with strings of solar lights. Fanciful campers with flowerpots and outdoor rugs at the doorways. Extravagant treehouses. Funky yurts.
You may drag along musty, stained sleeping bags and a package of hot dogs for a few nights under the stars, but your neighbors have upped the camping game: They’re glamping.
Camping lost its novelty for many of us with memories of miserable nights, too many bugs and ash-sprinkled food. The bugs are still there, but the rest has undergone a stylish transformation.
Glamping is getting away from it all while enjoying the luxuries of home. Are you a tent, RV or Airstream camper? Spice things up with practical, traditional yet supremely comfortable details that introduce color, patterns and simple amenities to your campsite. You’re a glamper.
You’ll sleep better and have more enthusiasm for hiking when you’ve rested on a queen-size blow-up mattress, having spent the evening listening to a waterproof battery-operated sound system after cooking a gourmet meal.
A portable kitchenette that includes a spice rack, paper towel holder and lantern pole makes food prep easy. You are more likely to get the grandkids to join you if they don’t have to lie on the hard ground and are still able to earn some tablet or cellphone time with a solar-powered charger. Download outdoor apps (such as SkyView and the Audubon Bird Guide) to enhance your hikes. Beautiful design plus practical functionality equals the ultimate glamping experience.
Products have certainly affected traditional camping. Battery-operated portable showers, solar chargers and battery-powered twinkle lights keep everyone clean and add a little romantic sparkle.
Color and innovated design have attracted more women into the woods as well. A walk through The Backpackers Shop (BackpackersShop.com) in Sheffield Village shows designers are overtly appealing to women with store displays of tie-dyed kayaks, and hot pink and yellow paddles.
Adding fun colors and prints to bandannas, cookware, backpacks and beyond all suggest that women are driving the back-to-nature trend that’s launched the glamping craze. All ages are enjoying the movement, including young families with toddlers to teens.
Another group venturing into the camping scene are the near or newly retired. They’ve been filling up the weekly classes at The Backpackers Shop, ready to hone their outdoor skills while still wanting to enjoy their campsites with comfy air beds, luxury pillows and plush comforters, leaving the sleeping bags for the grandkids.
Glamping to Relax & Recharge
Start with a theme. It will direct colors, style and function. Look at what you already own. Pack your fun sheets and fluffy pillows. Bring the pretty towels.
Invest in portable yet stylish necessities. At Home opened last year in Sheffield Village. They sell folding metal tables and chairs, outdoor pillows and cushions in bold colors, and prints to go with your theme. Consider adding a rug in your tent.
Multiple local locations of Pettiti Garden Centers (petittigardencenter.com) offer an abundance of boldly colored and printed melamine plates and serving pieces that look like china. Ditch the paper plates and lessen your carbon footprint.
Beginners should start smart and glamp local. Rent an RV, or visit campgrounds that supply a tent, yurt, trailer or tree house. You won’t know which you prefer until you try it. Experience different types of housing to find your fit.
Kelleys Island State Park offers yurts that sleep six. The Mohicans about two hours south of Cleveland rents out treehouses that have all the comforts of home — high above the ground.
Ditch the burnt beans and weenies. Plan delicious skillet meals over an open fire. You don’t need an oven to roast a chicken. Use a brick to flatten a bird and roast it in a skillet — gourmet grub in the great outdoors.
A few essentials to pack are foil and parchment paper to to make cleanup easy. Just about anything can be roasted inside a foil pack. Fish, potatoes and vegetables are delicious roasted together over a fire, allowing their flavors to blend.
Pita and tortillas are the perfect camping bread. Use them to make breakfast burritos, wrap-style sandwiches, quesadillas and more. Plus, they’re nearly squish proof.
Try grilled fruit and salads to pep up your menu. Give traditional s’mores a twist by using Ritz Crackers instead of graham crackers.
Traci McBride is a NEO personal image and wardrobe stylist who writes, talks and demonstrates how to live more fully with style and color while expressing your authentic self. She can be reached at TeeMcBee.com.