4 Ways To “Glamp Up” Your Outdoor Boondocking Area
Given we’re in the midst of our winter boondocking time I’ve got a bunch of boondocking-related posts in the makings including a two-part blog for my “back to boondocking basics” series about how to boondock for the very first time (total newbie kind of thing). I’m still in deep midst of writing that one so in order to stay on-track I figured I’d go in a totally different direction and touch on the more glamorous side of camping in the wilds.
What…Glamour, you say???
Yup, you see even though most folks might rightly call us trailer trash we’re not the types to skimp on our comfort, even in the boonies. In fact one of the main advantages of travelling in a big ‘ol “beastly” RV rather than a tent is that we do not need to cut back on such things. Over the years we’ve collected a select list of completely non-essential, but wonderfully simple stuff that allows us to wallow in luxury and feel like we’re at the Ritz even in the bleak desert wilderness.
These are the frivolous things that I want to share with you today.
For our outdoor “sitting area” we have a reversible floor mat, several chairs and some side-tables. The mat allows us to walk in comfort on the ground as well as keeping some of the dirt down & giving the pets a comfy place to hang. The chairs and table provide a relaxing area to sit for morning coffee or afternoon happy hour. Whenever we get to a new spot our “sitting area” is the first thing to get set-up, so we’re ready to lounge whenever we feel like it.
- Outdoor Mat -> Our mat is one of the classic porous reversible types that you can find at Camping World, on Amazon or at RV shows. We actually own this exact model, just larger (8 x 16′). These mats do deteriorate over time, especially if you leave them outside in rain/moisture so you typically end up replacing them every few years.
- Side-Tables -> Our side-table is this ~$20 job from Walmart. We love it because it’s aluminum (so it doesn’t rust), it’s super-light and it stores easy. Another option are these plastic quick-fold tables which offer multiple color choices too. Buy several, ‘coz you’ll find no end of use for them.
- Lounging Chairs -> We currently have two main chairs, a zero-gravity-type chair that we bought at Camping World when we first started out (sadly, they don’t make our exactly model anymore) which has held up excellently for the past 5 years, plus a rocking chair, also bought at Camping World. The latter I absolutely love and find super comfy, but sadly the quality is so-so and I usually have to replace it every other year. There are plenty of Zero Gravity type chairs on the web, but they do take up more space than sleeker versions like the Zip Dee (pricey, but highly rated). The truth is chair comfort is soooooo individual so my advice is to try a bunch out before you commit. Most RVers have a few comfy chairs for “home” plus several super-cheap, portable, collapsible chairs for guests and to take to happy hours at other rigs (very important).
- Pets -> Our pets lounge the same places we do (in fact one of our chairs is exclusively for the cat), but many pet owners will buy X-Pens like these to set-up for their dogs. Also if you own cats and they like to roam I highly recommend leash-training them, so they can hang outside with you too.
Who doesn’t think of being in the boonies with the aroma of freshly grilled asparagus or the heady scent of smoked ribs (depending on your inclinations)? We swing both ways, so our outdoor cooking set-up involves both a grill and a smoker, each of which are 100% boondocker friendly.
- Grill -> We’ve been through several grills in our RV. We started with a Coleman Road Trip Grill which Amazon reviewers seem to love, but we found it too big, awkward to set-up and a pain to clean. Then, we got a Weber Q100 (now called Q1000) as a Christmas Gift and it was puuuurfect. We love, love, love this thing! It uses the disposable propane bottles that you can buy anywhere, is super easy to store & clean, and has enough space to grill exactly what you need.
- Smoker -> Paul has a bit of a smoking fetish, for meat that is, and I can’t rightly complain given that I get to reap the tasty rewards on a regular basis. We got a charcoal-powered Weber Smokey Mountain which has just been a star for us. It cooks wonderfully and collapses down nicely (most of the “bits” nest inside each other), but you do need to set aside space in your bins regardless. Oh yes, it’s worth it.
- Collapsible Table -> As an accompaniment to the above we have a 4-foot plastic collapsible table for grill support, food display, cooking items & happy hour snacks. We bought ours at Walmart, but Amazon has a similar version. It stores underneath our slide-out compartment in our lower front storage bin and we use it constantly.
There’s something about lighting your outdoor area with a few, tastefully-placed lights that just gives it that extra je ne sais quoi. Solar lights are just perfect for this. There are no end of cheap ones you can buy at Walmart, Hardware Stores or online. I like me some light so I don’t recommend going for the weakest ones. We got a mid-range set of 6 for ~$25 at Walmart that look like these and we really like them except for the fact that their bulky shape makes them a bit of a pain to store. This winter our buddies Technomadia gifted us these snazzy new Solar Ice Rocks and we are totally loving them. They give out a nice light, are a snap to set out and (most importantly) store neatly in a small box. Another nice idea, solely for mood lighting, are solar-powered LED String Lights.
So, now that you’re totally set-up outdoors, your mood light is ready, your evening meal is on the grill and you’re watching the sunset from your glamorous “sitting area” how about a little cocktail to go with that? One of our “glamping” requirements is an inexpensive Cocktail Shaker, some decent glasses and some ice cubes.
- Glasses – For glasses we bought a set of 12 nice, solid tumblers from Walmart for ~$18, gave three quarters away and kept the rest (yes, we drink out of real glass, and keep them stored safely in a wine bottle case when we move). This past spring in Lake Mead, our Aluminarium buddies introduced us to these stainless steel Martini Glasses which we now also have on our wishlist.
- Ice Cubes – Our fridge has an ice maker, but it was constantly breaking so we took it out. Instead we decided to glamp it up with these extra large silicon ice cube moulds which make ANY cocktail look like it came from a pro. Totally superfluous, but we love ’em.
Aaaand that’s how we roll, folks. All the stuff you definitely don’t need for boondocking, but can drool and lust after. Who needs the Ritz anyway?
Got any “boondocking glamping” stuff of your own? DO share & comment below.