Top Three New #Glamping Tips

I’m always trying to find ways to make glamping better. Easier, adding more comfort, and leveling up on style. Each camping trip I test out new products, finish new DIY projects, and try new ideas or methods. They don’t always turn out. I’ve had my share of disappointments and fails, but this trip I hit it out of the park.

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#1 – Rug
If you’ve read my book or any of my blog posts you know I’m a big fan of rugs. Rugs are an easy way to make your campsite cleaner, more comfortable, and more stylish. In fact it’s my number one suggestion when people ask how to start glamping. This time, however, I’ve finally got it perfected for the rug that goes inside your tent. It isn’t cheap, but it’s performed far better than anything else I’ve found. It’s durable, machine washable, won’t fade, and it’s reversible. Cost about $30 to make.

I bought two pieces of Sunbrella fabric (rated to be fade resistant and made for covering outdoor cushions and chairs) that were 2 yards by 1 yard. I could have bought the same pattern for both pieces, but I wanted to have a different pattern if I flip the rug over for more versatility. I put right sides together and stitched all four sides together, leaving an 8 inch gap on one side. Just like how you make a pillow (you can google step by step instructions). Then I turned it right side out and stitched the opening closed. I went the extra mile and stitched all four sides again, about 2 inches away from the edge so it would lay nicely flat.

Looked like a million bucks in my tent, stood up to muddy feet and shoes, kept leaves out of my bed, and came out of the washer looking like new. PERFECT rug.
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#2 Battery Chinese style lantern
This is another instance of knowing what I want (a hanging light for my tent) but not finding the perfect one for several years. Yes, I know there are tent lights (some with fans) that are specifically made for tents. They suck. And they suck for the same reasons most camping lights suck. They’re ugly, too bright, and the battery life is crap.

This lantern had every quality I was looking for in a tent light – keeping in mid my tent is just over 5ft2 in the center height. It has a soft, diffuse light that is still strong enough to read by, light-weight, and attractive. It’s an LED light so 2 AAA batteries easily last an entire week long camping trip and then some.  As a bonus it folds flat for easy packing. I debated getting a solar light, but I’m glad I went with a battery light. It was nice to not have to get the light out each day and make sure it was put out into the sun to charge – I always forget to put out my solar lights. This light is made of plastic and water-proof fabric, not paper, and I bought mine at Pier 1 Imports on clearance for $5, two to a package. The other one could hang in my canopy at night.

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#3 – Vinyl topper for my table
I like using tablecloths to cover my portable, but ugly, camping tables. What I don’t like is how they get trashed in just a few hours by spilled food and drinks. I’ve tried buying plastic table covers but hate how they look or feel, even though I enjoyed how easy they were to wipe off. While staring at rolls of vinyl in the fabric store I had an “aha!” moment. Make (or buy) some really nice tablecloths, but buy a square of coordinating vinyl to put on the top to protect against spills. I bought a blue pattern Sunbrella fabric to make a tablecloth that would compliment my small blue canopy and a silver, “woven” vinyl for the topper.

Looked great and worked like a charm. I put it through the ultimate test of inviting people over to my campsite for Hibiscus Margaritas. Hibiscus simple syrup is VERY red and stains like a MoFo. And people who have had 3 or more of them aren’t the most careful or coordinated so spills happened. My tablecloth looked as good on day 4 of camping as it did in hour 1 of day 1. Now I don’t need to bring a different tablecloth for each day of camping – unless I want to!

What great glamping ideas have you stumbled onto?

Coleman 7×10 Instant Tent Review

I’ve been looking at instant tents for a while, but was a bit leery because I wasn’t sure if they would break easily. And they were very expensive compared to the same size traditional tent. Then I saw a Coleman 7×10 instant dome tent at Costco for about $80 and decided to try it out.

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I have a huge 16×16 tent that I use for week long camping trips, but use a small, red 7×8 dome for weekends. The drawback on the red tent is that there is pretty much zero place for gear if you use a queen mattress and you have to crawl in and out of the tent because the ceiling height is so low.

Room for a queen size mattress w/ 5 x 7 left over for gear.

Room for a queen size mattress w/ 5 x 7 left over for gear.

Which brings me to the review for the Coleman instant dome.
First, the Pros:

  • Yes, it really does set up in 2 minutes flat. Even the first time, without looking at directions. It packs down that fast, too.
  • I had a queen mattress in there and felt like I had an AMAZING amount of room for gear.
  • With a ceiling height of 5ft4 I was able to stand up in the tent. My husband, who is 5ft 10 couldn’t fully stand up, but he could exit and enter the tent like a human being rather than a mole crawling out of a hole. We both could change clothes with ease. The extra ceiling height also helped you feel less cramped.
  • It’s an attractive tent. Not normally a fan of yellow, but the yellow + silver/blue is very nice to look at.
  • Windows on all four sides for good ventilation

Cons:

  • The rain fly in not going to cut it if it does more than sprinkle and you want to keep the window flaps open.
  • If you put your air mattress going vertical to the door (as in the photo) your head and foot of your mattress will touch the walls. And we all know that’s a big no-no in case it rains because it will let rain in through the wall material. If you put your mattress horizontal to the door, you drastically cut down on the amount of storage/open floor space in the tent.

The pros absolutely outweigh the cons for me – especially since I ALWAYS bring a large tarp and tarp my tent if it starts to rain. Experience has taught me to never trust a rainfly – especially since wind can drive rain up and under most tent rainflys. So the cons for this tent are eliminated by my standing policy to always tarp a tent if it’s raining.

My bottom line – excellent tent if you can get it for $80 at Costco or another discount place, I wouldn’t spend $150 for this tent.

Tips and resources:
The bedding is a duvet cover and pillow cases hand painted by Christie Melissa.
The bed side table is a vintage beer case. Great to store clothes and to use as a bedside table. I also pack my air bed pump in there and the lamp when transporting to and from the campsite.
The rug is a very old (very very very) rug from Sears. I got it for free from my sister and it’s a perfect size for the tent and since it’s so old, I’m not too worried about it getting damaged. Having a rug covering the entire floor makes a huge improvement in the comfort level of your tent.

Sooo…I have this ugly tent

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On a fall 2013 camping trip I purchased a small tent for a friend who was camping with us. We were in the MiddleOfNoWhere, Wisconsin and our choices at the local hardware store were limited.  We bought this little tent, which was a dream to set up since it only has two poles. It works well, but there’s a glaring problem with it.

It’s probably the ugliest tent I’ve ever seen.

(Although my living room curtains in the background give it a run for the money – don’t judge me, we can’t replace them until we close on the house) I set the tent up in my living room, in preparation for a SUPER GIRLY camping trip scheduled for this weekend, just to fully take in the pure awfulness that is this particular shade of green. This photo is actually very flattering to the color. In the photo the tent looks like a Kelly or even an emerald green. It’s not. It’s the perfect example of how tent manufactures just don’t get it. Why make your products butt ugly? Green is one of my favorite colors, but this green?  Blech.

I have a few days to put some really spectacular lipstick on this pig. Wish me luck!

First review of “Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent #Camping” is in!

The print version of my glamping  book is slowly making its way to my Kickstarter Backers – they were sent to me in small boxes 10 at a time spread out over a 2 week period – weird. It’s been fun to see people post on social media as they receive the book in the mail.  The ebook version has already been emailed out to all Backers, so if you didn’t see it, please check your SPAM folder! The book is on sale at Amazon and customers are starting to order it.

I’ve been on pins and needles wondering what the reaction will be. Will they think it was worth backing? Was it worth the wait? Is it helpful? What will they say? Arghhh…the insecurities that devil authors. Or at least, this author.

I just received my first review of the book on Amazon, and I’m really surprised. It appears the person bought the book as something of a joke.

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What a great review! I’m really pleased that they liked the book and found found it useful.  Hopefully more people give my book a try and find it helpful and fun to read. What more can an author ask for?

Welcome RV & Camping Show Attendees!

My first book signing!

My first book signing!

The first day of the presentation and book signing at the Minneapolis St Paul RV & Camping Show was very fun, but I Am Exhausted. I may not be 100% coherent.  I think from nerves more than anything else. My day started out with a brief TV interview with Fox 9 news, the segment will air on Sunday morning. It got delayed by an hour so I spent most of that time prepping in my head what I would say and the items I would demonstrate. And hoping my deodorant was up to the task. (Barely) Happy I wore a sundress, that was a good call.

It was also at this time I learned I wouldn’t just be doing a book signing, but would be doing a 30 minute presentation and then a book signing. Gulp. Think fast, Cara. Thankfully I brought some of my favorite camping products for the TV interview so I used them in my demonstration and then mixed a cocktail and had a volunteer drink it. I think it went well. No one left crying and neither did I.

The portable bar was a hit. I had many people ask me how they would be able to purchase one and I said I would put a link up here. I’ll need to remember to bring a card with the link on it to the show tomorrow. Click the photo and you’ll go right to my etsy store where you can place an order in the wood of your choice.

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I was able to walk the show floor, in heels, and tour a wide variety RV and campers. Every brand of camper was there, except Scamp. There was some new products on the show floor, too. I’ll detail those tomorrow. However, I can’t resist showing you a photo of my favorite kind of camper – teardrops.

I LOVE teardrop trailers. I was able to hang out with Bert, who owns Vistabule Teardrop Trailers. He was super nice and rightfully proud of his extremely well-crafted trailers. Do you think he’d notice if I hooked the Mighty Yaris up to this one and took it home? The bed slid up easily to make a couch with a table and the kitchen was to die for. Waaaaaannnnnnttt!

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I’ll be back at the show tomorrow (Saturday) at the Minneapolis Convention Show and will be presenting and signing books at noon and 4:30 pm. My parents and a few other family members are coming tomorrow and I could act like it’s not a big deal for them to come, but I’d be lying. Hope to see some of you there, too!  But for now, I’m going to do a face plant in my bed.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Book signing at the Minneapolis/St Paul RV, Vacation, and Camping Show

To celebrate the official launch of my book Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping I’ll doing a book signing at the Minneapolis/St Paul RV, Vacation, and Camping Show February 6th – 9th!  Very excited to be at this event as it is the biggest tradeshow for camping in the upper Midwest.  Very excited for this opportunity and I hope to see some of you there.

My book will also be for sale on Amazon, both print and ebook, by Thursday, as well. For Kickstarter backers, you’ll receive the ebook VERY soon, and I’m just waiting for final approval by the printer to ship your copies. Can’t believe it’s finally happening!

Book signing (located in the Seminar Area)  schedule is below:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

2:30pm “Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping”

Cara Schulz Published Author & Minnesota Journalist

Friday, February 7, 2014

12:00pm “Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping”

Cara Schulz Published Author & Minnesota Journalist

4:30pm “Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping”

Cara Schulz Published Author & Minnesota Journalist

Saturday, February 8, 2014

12:00pm “Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping”

Cara Schulz Published Author & Minnesota Journalist

4:30pm “Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping”

Cara Schulz Published Author & Minnesota Journalist

Sunday, February 9, 2014

3:30pm “Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping”

Cara Schulz Published Author & Minnesota Journalist

My #camping book is published!

I’m so excited right now I could run down the street screaming. But I won’t. Because that’s a good way to get arrested by the 5 O. I may  have jumped up and down on the bed for a while, scaring the heck out of the cat.

Can’t even express what it’s like to get the mail, open the box, and see your book in print. Words … I can’t even.

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