Saturday, September 15, 2012

Planning Your Cabin Vacation: Glamping 101

Staying in a cabin has its advantages over tent camping
Summer officially ends September 22nd with the first day of autumn.  If you haven't gotten away this season, consider a fall cabin stay.  You have scenic vistas in the Poconos, upstate New York and the New England states to choose from.  Some, such as the one we stayed in, offer air conditioning and heat so you can extend your outback vacation very comfortably.

Packing for a Cabin Stay
One of the many perks of staying in a cabin is that you do not have to purchase a cot. Ours had beds with a thin mattress so I brought my own sheets, pillows, (I like the Silk & Cotton Travel Sheets from Sea to Summit) and a goose down mattress topper.  This improved my sleep experience and added a taste of home to my stay.  You could also bring your sleeping bag.  Whatever you choose, it's a major step up being off the hard, wet ground.  If it rains, you're covered.  See more photos of how our home designer decorated and furnished our home in the woods with rustic styling from Cozy Cabin.

A goose down mattress cover adds warmth and comfort to your bed.

Personal Care
Think like your packing for a regular camping trip but some retreats offer onsite bathrooms and hot showers as well as laundry facilities.  This means you can pack the same things that you would for a hotel stay: Toothbrush, shower gear, grooming aids, towels, etc. I used my vintage Samsonite Train Case as it has a large mirror and holds all of my toiletries.  I also pack a little tote bag to take to the shower room.

My train case doubles as a vanity, compete with a large mirror.
Clothing Choices
Now depending on the location and time of year, you'll need to pack for the weather.  The mountains tend to be cooler having a higher elevation as do valleys where the hills and tree line block the sun's rays for a larger portion of the day.  Daytime was quite warm, in the low 80's so we had to deal with mosquitoes as well as ticks while hiking.  I found wearing the Bugs Away Line of shirts, pants and my Breez'r Hat from ExOfficio allowed me to be totally bite free without having to use any insect repellent.

I also brought along my Storm Logic Jacket for those cool morning walks and chilly 50 degree evenings.  It rolls up into a neat little travel pillow that I placed on my bed to sleep with.  I packed and used my thin Smartwool Merino Wool Beanie which can be worn to bed at night if your cabin is not heated.  Think "night cap".

Camp Cooking & Meals
Trangia with Primus Gas Burner and Light My Fire Meal Kit in action.

Some cabins have an indoor kitchen or cooking pits nearby.  We were able to purchase firewood and start a lovely fire for marshmallow and wienie roasting at night.  In the morning, I found it easier to use my Trangia Camp Stove. Making a large "brunch" takes care of our hunger needs until about 4 pm when I start dinner.

Dinner cooking on an open fire. Beans & wienies!

Plan ahead.  Maple flavored sausages to go with pancakes and have enough flavor to allow you to skip the syrup. Cook the sausages first and you may not need to add any extra oil to cook your eggs, especially if you use a non-stick cook-set. The milk we packed is vacuum sealed and keeps without refrigeration until opened.  Snacks that keep without refrigeration include: dried fruit, applesauce cups, juice boxes, Yo-hoo, nuts, wholegrain crackers, fresh fruit and vegetables. We used a PlayMate cooler for items that had to be kept cold and purchased ice on a daily basis. We had a small fridge before and it was easier than hauling ice and draining a cooler.

Pure Water
One of the challenges every traveler faces is whether or not to drink the local water.  You'd be surprised at what passes for potability but suffice it to say, it's not going to taste like what you drink at home.  Many parks and resorts use well water, so the quality will vary from place to place.  We bypassed that by simply bringing a Purificup portable water filtration system and had all the pure water we wanted for drinking and cooking.  It really worked fantastically and made both our water-bottles and meals taste so much better.

Kicking Back
Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in all of the camp chores that you forget why you're relax!  That's why I make a large breakfast but keep snacks available until dinner-time.  We hiked every day, went canoeing and kayaking and after dinner, built a large fire, played the guitar and sang songs.  Try to divide up camp chores so one person doesn't get stuck being "Cookie" the whole time.  My daughter kept up with filtering the water and helped with the meal clean up.  We also shared the cabin's cleaning and laundry.  All the same, make sure to bring some magazines, an iPod with music or an instrument for that down time you will come to relish.

Bring a instrument like a guitar for those campfire songs!


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