The idea of camping can stir mixed emotions in many people.
The concept of the great outdoors is hugely attractive on paper, with the prospect of getting in touch with nature and breathing in fresh, unspoiled air sounding like the perfect weekend retreat for people with a busy city-centric lifestyle.
Where the appeal begins to falter, however, is the prospect of spending nights in a tent.
While some of us relish the rough ground and primitive living that camping entails, others will consider the experience to be akin to torture.
Struggling to sleep, alternating between shivering due to the elements and feeling as you are trapped in the world's hottest nylon microwave oven, having no access to a hot shower and aching in places that you didn't realize it was possible to experience pain?
It's certainly an acquired taste as far as lifestyle choices go. Perhaps this is why our British friends coined the term glamping in the previous decade, an idea that has since taken the USA by storm.
The concept of glamping is fairly self-explanatory – take the basic elements of camping, and inject some glamorous luxury into proceedings.
Glamping largely takes place at specially designated sites, where tents, electricity and running water are all provided. How about those of us who like to take matters into our own hands, however?
This guide will talk you through how you can create your own DIY glamping experience that will win over even the most ardent camping sceptic.
How To Create Your Own DIY Glamping Experience
It goes without saying, but the first thing that you are going to need to arrange is the appropriate shelter.
Picking The Appropriate Shelter
You can use a traditional tent if you prefer, but obviously glam comes with a price tag – you won't get away with picking up a canvas cover from the local thrift store and adding a few bells and whistles.
If you are going to use such an item, at least pick a tent of appropriate size; a golden rule to abide by here is to at least double the number of people who will be using the shelter.
Think about the height that you need, if any of your party are 6ft tall and more!
A family of four, for example, should not entertain the idea of anything less than an eight-person berth – going larger if at all possible.
An even better idea is to pick up a bell tent or tee-pee – or even build your own, if anybody on your trip is so inclined!
This will obviously mean a sufficient outlay initially, and you'll have to find somewhere to store the tent when it's not in use, but it's the only way to create a glamping experience fit for a king or queen.
Look into the possibility of hiring or borrowing if this is a complete non-starter for you.
Pimping Your Temporary Home
Next comes the most important element of pimping your temporary home – bedding and cushions.
Toss out that ragged old sleeping bag that you begrudgingly tolerate when you are talked into camping, and pick up a good-sized inflatable air mattress.
Complement this with all the soft furnishings that you would have at home, such as lush blankets and duvets, and as many throw pillows and cushions that will fit in your temporary home.
This is something that you can have some fun with, looking out for bargains wherever possible – there’s little point in spending a small fortune on items that will probably just get wet, dirty or both.
Many people now also take ‘carpets or carpet tiles’, to add that touch of luxury underfoot. Doesn’t seem a bad idea at all!
You can also get creative with lighting.
Photo Credit: Ahmed's Magical Tents
You may not have access to electrical sockets if you are pitching up somewhere in the unspoiled countryside, but you can hang some battery-powered lanterns from the ceiling of your tent to double as overhead lighting and light some tealights and scented candles for extra ambiance - just check the fire regulations of wherever you are staying, and be safe with naked flames at all times.
Tea Light Chandelier from belltent.co.uk
A few strings of fairy lights (battery operated) for round the entrance of your tent add a certain welcoming and pretty touch to your glamping.
Now, let's talk decor. If you're looking for a genuine glamping experience on a DIY budget, you'll need to leave room within your tent to apply those little home comforts that you'd otherwise miss.
Hang some mirrors to help you deal with those inevitable bad hair mornings and makeup application and removal, and fill as many surfaces as you can with homey decorations.
If you can find a rug that's small and portable enough to bring with you then throw that down on the floor to cover that hard ground, and improvise with some makeshift furniture.
Rug from belltent.co.uk
You can pick up aged barrels and crates to use as tables and chairs (don't forget the magical aesthetic prowess of a budget-friendly faux-fur throw!), and you can even find some cheap wall art to make your temporary house a home.
You could even design your own as an activity with your younger glampers as part of the holiday experience.
Think about the possibility of ‘theming’ your glamping experience.
Popular ideas are Moroccan influenced or Safari ideas, to make you feel like you have been transported to another land.
You could even take a few CDs with music to match the atmosphere. Nothing like a little taste of Africa, even if it is raining, you will enjoy the ambiance inside your tent!
Don't forget the outside of your tent, either.
Credit Boutique Camping
Sure, you'll be surrounded by green space and natural beauty but a few extra touches never hurt anybody – place some small plants and flowers around the entrance to your tent to make it that little bit more welcoming to return to after a lengthy hike.
Credit: Boutique Camping
There's also more to glamping than just your accommodation – why not spruce up your dining experience too?
Camping doesn't necessarily mean that you have to munch on cold beans straight from the tin.
Cook up a storm of delicious snacks and meals before you leave that can be reheated on a camping stove, or simply purchase wholesale snacks and turn the experience into one long picnic.
You'll be astounded at what you can achieve with the right presentation (remember, the first bite is with the eye), so if you pick up some vintage cutlery and crockery – maybe even adding some bespoke decoration – you'll have a feast to remember.
Like most things in life, camping is all about what you make it.
DIY glamping may not come with all the bells and whistles that an official site can offer (you may still be pining for a long, hot shower by the end of your excursion, for one thing) but there is no reason for you to tolerate a substandard experience.
It's called the great outdoors for a reason, after all, and with these steps you can have a great time while embracing nature.
Glamping is what you make it, if you decide not to go to a pre-sited tent. Have fun choosing your own ‘homemade’ glamping experience!
For inspiration, there are many glamping accessory companies online – take a look for some great ideas, then do your own thing!