Summer means glamping time (glamorous camping)

When I was young and strong I would head up to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota, strap a gear pack to my back, a food pack to my chest, toss a canoe up onto my shoulders and hike over a portage from one lake to the next. Sometimes we would portage four or five lakes to get to our destination with plenty of paddling in between. Setting up camp meant pitching a pup tent. That was it. 

These days I drive to a portage where I can use portage wheels on my Hobie kayak, load it up with everything I need and wheel it to the lake. When I set up camp I blow up the air mattress, pitch the screen tent, unfold some comfortable chairs, and take a bug-free nap.

I appreciate more remote camping, but I don’t always have to take a well-worn trail to get there. Just find a campground with no running water, outhouses, and no electrical plug-ins and you won’t have much company. They exist. I know of many.

These “rustic” campgrounds are great for the type of camping I do now. My wife refers to it a glamping, a term for glamorous camping that was coined by MaryJane Butters and described in detail in her book, Glamping with MaryJane. I’m not nearly as glamorous as MaryJane, but I add a lot more comfort to my camping program these days.

The air mattress is my most welcome addition to my camping program. You can use a bellows foot pump to fill the mattress and sleep in total comfort with no back ache. That’s a guarantee for me on a mat or a cot. 

I also can no longer camp without a screen tent. Check out the Clam Outdoors Quick-Set Traveller pop-up. It packs small, only weighs 20 pounds and is fast and easy to put up and take down. 

When I was a hardcore camper I used to eat packaged meals that were impossible to tell what exactly you were eating because they all had the same consistency and no taste. These days I like to prepare my meals and this means good camping cookware and the dishes to serve it properly.

Look to GSI Outdoors for all the camp cooking and serving hardware. Their cookware is designed for the outdoors whether using it over a fire or on top of a cook stove. I’ve tried using pots and pans and cups and glasses from my kitchen collection but they just don’t work as well outdoors. One example is wine glasses. They break. The GSI wine glass has a stem design that unscrews and allows the base to be compactly snapped into the bowl for storage. It’s made from a really tough copolyester material.

So, I’m not really glamping. It’s just a low-impact camping. Call it limping. Or maybe lamping. Maybe there is no good word for it. It’s just having fun in the outdoors, and I’ll keep doing it until the day I head for that long portage in the sky.

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