Traditional backcountry camping isn’t for everybody.
But now that glamping is such a huge trend, you no longer have to plan a trip that requires you to be roughin’ it through the wilderness.
Glamping is a portmanteau of “glamorous” and “camping,” referring to a style of camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not typically associated with traditional camping.
Glamping aims to provide the experience of the outdoors with the comfort and luxury of home or hotels, often including facilities such as beds, electricity, and access to indoor plumbing.
It’s a way to enjoy the unique aspects of the natural world without having to sacrifice creature comforts.
Yes, you can go glamping in the backcountry!
Backcountry glamping combines the adventure of camping with the comforts of a hotel.
You’ll find yourself nestled in nature’s embrace, yet with amenities that may range from comfortable beds to gourmet food options.
It’s a way to experience the great outdoors without roughing it.
Choosing the right destination is pivotal.
You want a balance of seclusion and scenery with accessibility to comfort.
Some glampgrounds are reachable by car, while others might require a hike.
Start by checking out places with established glamping sites or look into portable glamping gear that you can set up yourself.
Know what’s included before you go.
Amenities can differ wildly.
Some sites provide fully furnished tents, meals, and even hot tubs, while others might offer a more DIY approach where you bring your own luxury items.
Glamping Hub is a useful resource to compare different glamping sites.
Just because you’re glamping doesn’t mean you should forget the basics. Include navigation tools, first aid kits, and extra food and water.
For the glamping-specific items, consider items like portable lighting, plush bedding, and outdoor furniture to elevate your experience.
Be mindful of the environment.
Glamping in the backcountry means you’re a guest in nature.
Leave no trace, respect wildlife, and stick to established trails.
With a little planning, your backcountry glamping trip can be both indulgent and harmonious with the natural world.
It’s the perfect blend for those looking to indulge in nature’s beauty comfortably.
Choosing the right location
Selecting a prime spot is a big part of planning your backcountry glamping trip.
It sets the stage for your experience, blending comfort with the raw beauty of nature.
Accessibility and permits
You’ll need to research access points for your glamping site.
Some locations might require a hike or a 4WD vehicle to reach.
Check if you need any permits to stay in the area, and apply for them well in advance.
Scenery and privacy
Find a spot that offers stunning views and some seclusion to enhance your glamping adventure.
Look for locations by lakes, mountains, or in the forest to enjoy the scenery.
Prioritize areas that are not crowded to maintain privacy during your stay.
When glamping in the backcountry, you’ll need gear that’s eco-friendly and items for personal comfort.
Sustainable glamping gear
Pack a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated without the waste.
Consider a multi-purpose bottle like the CamelBak MultiBev for coffee and water, which reduces the need to pack multiple containers.
Personal comfort items
Don’t forget a headlamp for navigating in the dark; a hands-free light source is practical.
Pack sunscreen and bug spray to protect your skin from the sun’s rays and insect bites while enjoying the outdoors.
Shelter and accommodation
Your backcountry glamping trip’s success hinges on choosing the right shelter and preparing for various weather conditions.
Comfortable bedding and a sturdy tent make a world of difference under the stars.
Tents and bedding options
When glamping, you’ll want a tent that’s more than just a place to sleep; it should be your cozy retreat in nature.
Look for a spacious canvas or polycotton tent that offers ample headroom and space to move around, as these materials also breathe better than polyester, reducing condensation.
Cabins are another option you can look for if you’re open to different shelter types.
Inside, an air mattress or a high-quality sleeping pad paired with soft linens and plush pillows ups the comfort level from typical camping gear.
Think of it like bringing your bedroom outdoors with you!
Weatherproofing and insulation
Weather can be unpredictable, so it’s key to prepare for anything Mother Nature throws your way.
Choose a tent that’s rated for the season you’re camping in; many glamping tents come with a waterproof rating (measured in millimeters) that tells you how much rain the tent can handle.
Inside, lay down thick rugs for both warmth and a touch of home.
For those chilly nights, have plenty of warm blankets on hand, and consider a portable heater that’s safe for tent use, making sure there’s proper ventilation.
Meal planning and food prep
Many glampgrounds include food and dining packages, but if you’re going for a more stripped down version of glamping, chances are you’ll have to bring and make your own food.
Portable cooking equipment
You’ll want to bring along cooking gear that’s lightweight and easy to use outdoors.
Consider a compact stove that relies on fuel efficient to carry, such as butane or propane.
Tip: Cast iron pans might be too heavy, so opt for non-stick cookware that’s easy to clean.
Food storage and safety
Proper food storage keeps your meals fresh and deters wildlife from visiting your camp.
Use bear-resistant containers or hanging methods to store your food.
Keep in mind: Always separate raw and cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination.
Safety and emergency preparedness
When you’re planning a backcountry glamping trip, being prepared for emergencies and having the right tools for navigation can make all the difference.
Navigational tools are vital for any outdoor adventure.
You’ll want to have a physical map and a reliable compass in case your electronic devices fail.
A GPS device can also help keep you on track.
Learn to use these tools before heading out to avoid getting lost.
First aid and emergency kits
Your safety gear isn’t complete without a comprehensive first aid kit.
Accidents happen, so it’s smart to have supplies like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and splints ready.
Keep a list of emergency contacts and consider a safety checklist to tick off all necessary items before setting out.
Minimizing environmental impact
When you plan a glamping trip to the backcountry, it’s important to think about ways to minimize your footprint on the natural environment.
Leave no trace principles
Pack it in, pack it out.
Take all your trash with you when you leave, including food scraps and biodegradable items.
Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
Set up your glamping site on established trails and campsites to protect vegetation and minimize land alterations.
Eco-friendly glamping practices
Use solar-powered gear.
Switch to solar chargers and lights to reduce the need for disposable batteries and fossil fuels.
Conserve water usage.
Collect rainwater for non-drinking purposes and use a spray bottle for dishwashing to cut down on your water waste.
Activities and entertainment
Planning your backcountry glamping trip means looking beyond the tent.
You’ll want a mix of thrilling outdoor activities and options for peaceful downtime that maximize your connection with nature.
While backcountry glamping, you can engage in a variety of activities that allow you to enjoy nature with a touch of comfort. Some activities include:
Off-road adventures: Exploring the surrounding nature on four-wheelers, side-by-sides, or dirt bikes can be an exhilarating way to see the landscape
Fishing: Many glamping locations are situated near lakes or rivers, providing an excellent opportunity for fishing.
Hiking: Taking walks through nature trails to explore the local flora and fauna.
Wildlife watching: Observing animals in their natural habitat can be a peaceful and educational activity.
Stargazing: Since many glamping sites are located away from city lights, they offer a clear view of the night sky.
Canoeing/Kayaking: If you’re near water, paddling can be a serene way to explore and enjoy the tranquility of the area.
Swimming: If the weather permits, taking a dip in a nearby lake or river can be refreshing.
Photography: The natural surroundings provide a perfect backdrop for photography enthusiasts.
These activities allow you to immerse yourself in the outdoor experience while still having a comfortable and luxurious base to return to.
Relaxation and downtime
For quieter moments, bring along items that’ll make your retreat more comfortable.
Forest bathing: Take time to absorb the forest atmosphere, listen to the sounds of nature, and practice mindfulness.
Read a book: Bring along your favourite books and enjoy reading in the peaceful outdoor setting.
Stargazing: Lie back and gaze at the stars, appreciating the vastness of the night sky.
Campfire circles: Gather around a campfire for storytelling, music, or simply to enjoy the warmth and ambiance.
Yoga or meditation: Practice yoga or meditate in the quiet of the outdoors to connect with nature and yourself.
Sunbathing: Find a sunny spot to relax and soak up some vitamin D (don’t forget sunscreen).
Listening to music or podcasts: Enjoy your favourite tunes or listen to interesting podcasts while taking in the fresh air.
Nature walks: Take leisurely walks to enjoy the scenery and the sounds of the wilderness around you.
These activities are designed to help you slow down, appreciate the moment, and rejuvenate your mind and body while enjoying the luxury of your glamping setup.
Don’t forget a headlamp or flashlight for those late-night trips back from the campfire.
Logistics and transportation
Planning your backcountry glamping trip requires knowing how you’ll get there and move around once you’ve arrived.
Getting to your site
You’ve booked the perfect spot, and now it’s time to head out.
Check if the glamping site offers a shuttle service to and from key locations.
If you’re driving, secure a parking spot close to your site to simplify unloading gear.
Once you’re there, you’ll need a way to explore.
If the terrain allows, bikes or electric scooters can be fun and efficient.
Some locations might even have on-site vehicle rentals, like ATVs or golf carts, especially if the glamping site is extensive.
Remember to book these in advance to avoid missing out.
Community and cultural considerations
When you’re planning a backcountry glamping trip, you’ll want to be aware of the local community and cultural norms.
This awareness demonstrates respect and ensures that you have a positive impact on the area you’re visiting.
Respect local customs:
- Do a bit of research to understand the traditions and practices in the area.
- Dress appropriately if there are any cultural standards to consider.
Support local businesses:
- Try to buy local products and use local services when possible.
- It helps the economy and you’ll gain a richer experience.
Leave No Trace:
- Keep the area as you found it.
- Pick up any trash and minimize your impact on the environment.
- Be mindful of noise levels, especially at night.
- Local wildlife and nearby residents will appreciate it.
- If you come across historical or cultural sites, look but don’t touch.
- These places are often sacred and should be treated with respect.
- Ask for permission before taking photos of people or private property.
- Not everyone wants to be part of your travel documentation.
Learn a few words:
- If there’s a local language or dialect, learning a few basic phrases goes a long way.
- A simple “hello” or “thank you” in the local language can open doors.
By keeping these tips in mind, your glamping adventure will be enjoyable not only for you but respectful to the community hosting your stay.
Contingency planning and weather forecasts
When you’re planning a glamping trip into the backcountry, understanding the weather is key.
You’ll want a solid grasp on reading weather patterns.
The backcountry can be unpredictable.
First, check short-term weather forecasts to inform your packing list.
You might need extra layers or a sturdy rainfly.
For weather forecasts, tools like the National Weather Service website are your friend.
Don’t forget local resources too.
Sometimes, a ranger station or local guide service has the most up-to-date information.
Next, create a plan for changing conditions.
Ask yourself what you’d do if a sudden storm hits.
Have a map and know your escape routes.
Also, pack a weather radio or download a trustworthy weather app.
Stay informed even when you’re off-grid.
In your packing list, include items for the worst-case scenario.
Think warm clothing, stormproof shelter, and emergency signals.
Just in case.
Always let someone know your plans and check-in times.
This way, help can find you if something goes sideways.
Remember, good prep can make or break your glamping experience.
Stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors!
Elise is an experienced backcountry canoe tripper and winter camper from Ontario, Canada. She loves cooking up a storm over the campfire, taking in all the backcountry views, and enjoying a piña colada or two while relaxing at camp. She’s also certified in Whitewater Rescue (WWR) I & II and Wilderness First Aid (WFA).