A few years ago, my wife (then-girlfriend) Alex and I were invited, by her friend, to go camping. Being city slickers, neither of us had much experience camping, but we ran out to Wal-Mart to get supplies. Knives, a tent, camping lanterns, you name it. As the camping weekend quickly approached, we quickly realized a cold, hard fact: neither of us wanted to go camping.

We’re just not outdoorsy people. I spend most of my non-work time playing video games or watching movies; she’s either on her computer or reading.

The problem was that we still had all that equipment, and were too proud (read: stubborn) to return it, and who knows? Maybe one day we would join in on a camping trip.

We decided on a solution: turn date night into glamping night in our own backyard. Glamping, a portmanteau of “glamorous camping,” is pretty much what it says on the tin – camping with luxuries.

The Setup

My job was to set up the tent. When I finished setting it up, I dragged a rug outside and put it inside the tent, providing some cushion for our sleeping bags. I highly recommend an air mattress and a large tent for added comfort.

Other ideas to enhance your sleeping experience while glamping:

  • Pillows. Lots of pillows. Build a pillow fort.
  • Heated blankets. Why settle for regular blankets?
  • Luxury sleeping bags. Splurge for the good ones.
  • An air mattress with complete bed set. For true glampers.

Dinner

Alex, meanwhile, cooked a dinner – on a real stove. She brought out actual plates, napkins, the works. We had a nice, normal dinner in our tiny backyard just outside Sacramento, staring into the dim stars shrouded by light pollution.

Sure, we could have made hot dogs for the real camping feel, but this was glamping! She made chicken piccata. Of course, feel free to have something more camping-while-glamping on your own backyard date:

  • Hamburgers. Go for the wagyu beef – real kobe if you can.
  • Sloppy joes. Use those white linen napkins for the mess.
  • Popcorn. Add in some flavoring.
  • Hot dogs. The ones with cheese inside. Fancy!
  • Foil-wrapped Philly Cheesesteak. Super fancy!

Add in wine, champagne, or a classy cocktail and you have yourself a glamp meal. For recipes, Pinterest is definitely your friend.

Setting the mood

For ambiance, we had fake candles, turned on by remote but still providing light (I also suggest stringing up lights if possible). If you feel so inclined, you can play wilderness sounds, especially if you are in the middle of the city, from an iPhone – docked in speakers, of course. For even better glamping, pull out a table and use a fancy table cloth. When I visited Australia, a tour did this in the middle of the desert, instantly making the desert dinner a high-class affair. Your backyard will be similarly affected.

Glamping activities

As this was date night, and we had dinner, it was time for a movie. Our wi-fi reached our backyard, so I brought out my fully charged laptop and hopped on Netflix. If you are following our lead, I suggest a camping-related movie. As it’s date night, I suggest a horror movie for cuddling together in a sleeping bag while watching those poor campers in the wilderness chased by a crazed killer. Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil is perfect – plus it’s also got comedy.

Dessert

After the movie, we had dessert – the classic s’mores. Microwaved, naturally, and assembled in our kitchen. And we weren’t even thinking glamping. If you have a fire pit, you can make the experience camping-authentic by melting the marshmallows with the flames. But this is glamping!

S’mores in an ice cream cone.
S’mores chocolate martini. For an accompanying cocktail.
Fig and ricotta cheesecake popsicle. Slightly healthier.

The next morning

Coffee isn’t hard to make while camping, but it’s certainly easier when you have a single-serve machine in your kitchen. Or, just bring out a French press if you really want to rough it outside.

We dragged out a kiddie pool and filled it up. What’s camping without swimming? Except we could take a shower that lasted more than 30 seconds afterward. We also employed squirt guns for added fun.

Backyard glamping only scratches the surface

That was the end of our glamping. For you, though, you could take glamping to the next level. We enjoyed having the creature comforts of being inside our house while still being our backyard, jokingly roughing it. You could easily add decorations or class up your glamping area even more. We had a simple camping tent, but perhaps you want a yurt or teepee. You can reserve glamping-specific campgrounds. The sky, or perhaps your wallet, is the limit when it comes to glamour camping.

Photo Cred: Teddy Kelley

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Posted by Cole Mayer

A former professional journalist covering crime, court and fire stories, Cole is now a freelance writer of too many topics to list. When not writing or reading, he can be found playing video games with his wife.

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