Before you can decide HOW you want to glamp, you might ponder the question “what exactly IS glamping?” At the intersection of camping and glamour, glamping is by definition comfortable AND outdoorsy! At GlampOut™ we focus on creating an experience that honors and enhances the camping in glamping. Just like a camp-out, we feel a glamp-out should get you outside! Imagine yourself surrounded by the best nature has to offer in a totally comfortable, glamorous, and accessible way.
I recently saw an article that highlighted the Four Seasons Bali as a premier glamping destination. Hmmm…now don’t get me wrong, I’d love to vacation there on any given day! But I just don’t see how it’s glamping if your enclosed villa has a private pool and television. Sure, that’s luxury, that’s glamour…but where’s the camping?
On the other end of things, (no pun intended, te he he) I have colleagues who consider glamping anytime they don’t have to dig a hole to use the bathroom. No thanks! I’ve had enough trail mix and instant coffee in my 20’s as a former backpacking instructor. I’ll take a hot shower and bacon for breakfast anytime I can get it!
So, yes, glamping exists on a spectrum. It’s up to you to decide what glamping is for you! Somewhere between pitching a tent in the wilderness and staying at a four star resort, lies your ideal trip. Once you’ve set your mind on the type of adventure you want, you need to decide if you’re going it alone or reserving a trip with services.
Below, I wanted to share seven of my hard-earned glamping lessons with you, should you decide to plan your own getaway.
#1 - Planning a smooth trip takes time and strategy.
Long before your trip starts you’ll want to select and reserve a great glampsite. You’ll want a nice balance of space, scenery, and solitude. Pay special attention to amenities and access. Many of the best sites are taken about 5-7 months in advance. You’ll want to know about bathroom, shower, and water so you’ll know what supplies to bring. When glamping, lots of fresh water is always a plus! And hauling water into a camp that doesn’t have it is a HUGE job. Think of cooking, drinking, washing dishes…and washing yourself! Then you can start planning your menu and shopping list and decide what kind of sleeping and kitchen set-ups you’d like.
#2 - Making a great GlampSite takes LOTS of gear.
“Everything AND the kitchen sink.” That seemed to be our motto during a one-night rock-climbing trip with friends last June to Las Conchas near Los Alamos, New Mexico. This was a wonderful GlampOut, but clocking in under 24 hours, it was also a ton of work! Now, I’ve never shied away from the whole “Work Hard, Play Hard” mentality, but this trip highlighted just how much planning and effort a quick trip can be.
We had packed for drive-up “car camping,” but when we arrived we discovered it was a bit of a hike in to camp, with a stream crossing over a fallen tree! All the special gear and extra touches we thought were so awesome quickly revealed their true burdensome nature. Was the second hammock and rocking chair REALLY necessary!? After several hours of packing in and setting up, we were set to relax. Our evening was filled with on-site rock-climbing, prickly pear margaritas, hammock lounging (that was me) and fantastic barbeque over an open fire. We had EVERYTHING we needed and some. But our backs ached from all the hauling. Through trial and error we’ve learned about what gear is essential to making a comfortable glampsite, and what is just plain excessive!
#3 - Thou Shall Not Forget Camp Hygiene
I think one of my favorite things while glamping is to be clean! Don’t forget to have a hand-washing station, perhaps a basin for soaking your feet, and the always- pleasant wet wipes (or “moist towelettes” should we stick to glamping language.) Then of course you have the question of bathroom and shower options….a “solar shower” works wonders and can be the most scenic shower of your life! That being said, by friend Tanya and I have a saying, “Camp Hair, Don’t Care.” Sometimes just a couple of braids and a cute hat can really do the trick!
#4 – Fancier Glamping = More Effort
We managed this one-night trip just fine since the six of us were all very experienced in camping. Everyone was willing to help setup and breakdown camp, cook, clean, tend the campfire, and rig climbing belay lines. We had an AMAZING time! Ask yourself how many “creature comforts” do you need? If the answer is most of them, you’d likely have a better time with help from a guide service like GlampOut.com. Otherwise, you just might spend your entire camping trip setting up and breaking down camp, and feeling overwhelmed….not what a weekend getaway should be about!
#5 – Special Treats Are Wasted if you Run out of Time and Energy
I can’t tell you how many camping trips I’ve come home from with coolers half-full of food that I thought would be so delicious at camp! In my experience, there is always too much food and too little time. Be sure to plan and prep as much at home as possible. Dealing with fresh foods at camp can be cumbersome and messy. Don’t forget heavy-duty trash bags and have a plan for disposal or storage that won’t attract bears and critters! Some simple things to consider is how much time you want to be cooking, or would you prefer to be relaxing by the campfire? Are eggs benedict and bacon in your wheelhouse, or will a simple bowl of oatmeal suffice? At GlampOut™ we do all the cooking and cleaning for you so you can get down with that surf and turf for dinner and not have to sweat the small stuff.
#6 - “Glamping” Doesn’t Mean You Can Forget About Safety
Be sure to research the permitting and regulations of your intended area, and know if it’s safe to have a campfire. Bring adequate first aid supplies and gear that will protect you from the elements. It’s not enough to just look good while camping; you also want to be comfortable, dry, and warm. Pack high quality gear that will keep you safe, get the job done, and look sharp while you’re at it!
#7 - Enjoy It!
We all work hard enough at our day jobs! If nothing else, a weekend getaway should allow you to unwind, unplug, and just kick it. Whatever glamping style you go with, be sure to tune in to your surroundings and your company. Unplug and be in the moment. Everything else can wait until Monday.
My mind is jittery; nerves are building as we approach Josh’s aunt and uncle at Gillespie Field and their beautiful six-seater Cessna. This trip is an unbelievably generous wedding gift from our big day back in 2015. We feel beyond lucky, and a little extra glamorous, as we board the plane and put on our aviation headsets!
Upon arrival to the San Felipe airstrip, we are greeted by calm, friendly soldiers who gladly accept the “Pepto-Pink” box of doughnuts that are faithfully brought each visit from San Diego.
Martin, long-time friend, picks us up in his car. It smells strongly of a recently spilled can of gasoline. With windows down, the sharp breeze throws our hair around wildly. We hear stories of his beloved two-year-old granddaughter. Comments are made of the UNBELIEVABLE amount of rain had recently. Unheard of! The Ocatillos are vibrant green through the desert like no one can recall. Sun shining, beautiful January day. Cooler than one might want for swimming, but hey, I’ll take it!
We arrive at Campo San Martin, a beachfront strip of just under 50 little homes, all built with the same beautiful brick from a single Mexican village. Martin had the foresight years ago to require each land leasor to build their home from this brick, as well as have a round front to the home. As you stroll the beach from campo to campo, you know when you’ve made it back home thanks to this unified style. Running on solar and trucked-in water, we have to be conservative in our use, but this is major luxury to me!
Peaceful is an understatement. We have the beach to ourselves, day in and day out. Our first day is spent gazing at the serene Sea of Cortez, playing Bocce Ball in the sand, reading in the hammock…the ultimate glamping life. We kick things off the first night with a shot of Cazadores Reposado followed by plenty of salt-rimmed margs on the rocks. Josh said he had just one glass...one that was never empty!
On the second morning we take a lengthy morning stroll searching for shells and sand dollars. Under a large rock Josh discovers two small octopi...just chillin’! After adequate beach wandering, we take off South down recently paved Highway 5. We hit big swooping dips in the road at times, and it feels like we might just bounce off the road into a giant Saguaro cactus! We take a pit stop on an expansive mesa looking down on the Sea of Cortez from the west. The ground is scattered with the lightest, airy pumice stones I have ever touched.
We arrive at Gonzaga Bay around noon to discover that Alfonsina’s Restaurant has undergone some incredible remodels. They’ve transformed their dining room into a modern masterpiece, with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides, offering the most stunning bay views. The platter of freshly caught fish and shrimp, golden battered and fried to crispy perfection arrives and we all gasp with delight! Paired with the coldest Corona, it is the ultimate indulgence. I have no idea what they put in that crema sauce - amazing! The view looks South toward Punta Final, striking a deep curiosity for a future visit.
Returning north toward San Felipe, we take a sharp left off the road into the desert! This is offered as a chance to claim a small piece of the Baja 1,000 race course. In our modified Jeep Cherokee, designed for off-road adventures, we bound and swerve. I can’t help but feel relieved when the tires hit the pavement once again!
At dusk we see a pod of porpoises frolicking along, only to disappear quickly when a lone power boat comes zipping up the coast. Unlikely that they might have been the endangered Vaquita Porpoise, native to the Sea of Cortez and found only here. I worry for these rare porpoises, with around just 60-100 left in the wild! They get caught accidentally along with the sought after Totoaba fish, illegally sought for its bladder and considered a delicacy in China. There is much conflict and heartbreak over the two year fishing ban around San Felipe, scheduled to lapse this April. Environmentalists and fishermen are trying to find middle ground between species conservation and the economic needs of the fishing community. Time will tell.
The second night we have grand filet mignons on the grill with baked potatoes, and a very nice Napa Cab. Grilling and chilling! I am overjoyed. This has been an incredible and relaxing getaway, and I feel honored to have a glimpse into the Baja life.
What are your favorite Baja spots? Leave a comment below to share your Baja travel tips!