Calling all "Glampers" or wannabes
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If you're planning a late-summer camping trip and you're into "glamping," I've got some how-to's for you. Right now is the time to make your late-summer reservations for Campgrounds of New York. The Reserve America site allows reservations exactly 9 months out from the date of your arrival, so snag one of those amazing Adirondack sites for car glamping and start packing! Seriously, if you're going glamping you can never start planning and packing too early. About 4 months before our annual girls' camping trip my husband starts asking when I'm going to embark on the lengthy job of packing. It's a running joke based on his observances of how much stuff we drag along with us each year.

A bunch of my friends and I embark on a camping trip of about 5 days each June. Car camping — not backpacking. We've come to love the Lake Kushaqua section of Buck Pond State Campground, located about 15 miles outside Saranac Lake. There are about 5 sites right on the lake, and several more very close by, allowing access to a lot of paddling opportunities and nice swimming. Our trip usually straddles the summer solstice, so the daylight hours are nice and long. Of course there's that great solstice event to celebrate, so we have a grand dress-up party too. Next June will be our 18th annual gathering. 

Setting up a 'glampsite' is really not difficult at all. You just have to bring all your favorite stuff from home! Seriously, pack the stuff you know you can't live without at the campsite. There are a lot of camping hacks you can rig to make life at camp lots easier. Visit Pinterest and search "camping hacks." You'll find a lot of the ones we use all the time, including time savers, space savers, and how to do camping things more easily. Every time I find another camping hack, I add the necessary items to my collection of camping stuff on the huge garage shelf system my husband built for my very own camping stuff. 

Most importantly when booking your site through, find a site as close to the bathrooms as possible but still on the water (being on the water is critical), and find a campground with hot showers. It truly makes a difference when you're overnighting for several days. Bathing in the lake is just darned uncomfortable many times, even with biodegradable, environmentally-friendly soap. It just doesn't cut it. Of course there's the solar shower bags you can use and if it's cloudy you can heat water and pour it in, but it's a pain, really.  We always bring some chlorine bleach bathroom cleaner and do our own spiffing up of the bathrooms. The staff do a great job, but, seriously, women just feel better about it when we KNOW it's bleached! We bring over-the-door hooks and all kinds of girly decor to dress up the bathrooms. Seriously they should have consulted some women when designing these bathrooms. (No hooks to hang a towel on or shelves to put your stuff on in most campgrounds, so plan accordingly!) We give it a homey feel with all the added necessities. Believe me, everyone around the campground knows when this group is in residence! 

Here are some glamping must-haves and ideas:

  •  A camper, conversion van, or motorhome. Or you could go all out and get a four-wall tent (these are expensive and time consuming to set up however) - it's all about comfort folks!


  •  A 10' x 10' popup canopy with sides for rainy days, and, ideally, screen sides as well. You'll thank me when it pours rain and y'all want to congregate. 
  •  A chair for the fireplace and a chair for lounging - and give that lounge chair some padding!
  •  A couple of board games for a group, or plan some fun crafty activities. 
  •  Lots of flowery table cloths and spreads. You can even hang some from the sides of your pop up canopy and your camper awning for added glampiness.
  •  Linen napkins, real flatware, and real dishes. Nothing says glamping like some fine silverware and china. Of course you have to wash all of this every day as well, and can't just throw it in the fire like paper plates, but remember, it's the finer things in life...
  •  Candles (a candelabra for the picnic table is a huge bonus). Put candles all over your campsite. There's something elegant about dozens of candles spread around. Pillar candles are the best since they are long lasting and don't drip.
  •  Battery or solar powered light strings of various designs. String these up all over your site. It adds greatly to the ambience after dark and helps you find your way home in the night as you'll see your site from afar.
  •  If you plan to be in a tent, you need a very comfortable mattress with 'glammy' bedspread (significantly worth any and all extra space it takes up that you think you don't want to waste on this item). Keep in mind, air mattresses are not my first, second, or third choice here. They leak, they are cold, and they're frankly not very comfortable. Invest in a good 4- or 5-inch memory foam that you can squish down and roll up. Or do both and put the memory foam on top of an air mattress if you insist you have to have an air mattress. At least that way you've got the memory foam as a backup when the air bed springs a leak and it serves as insulation against the cold air in the mattress. Remember, there are two types of air mattresses - those that leak and those that are going to leak! Trust me on this one!
  •  Lots of decorative pillows, rugs and bedspreads - glamp it up ladies!

  •  Propane camp stove for cooking and heating wash water. Extra propane cylinders also.
  •  As a bonus, if you can fit it in -  a portable table-top propane grill. 
  • Cast iron skillet and Dutch oven. We bought a Dutch oven last year and wished we'd had it before now. You can bake bisquits and much more with this amazing cooking tool. And, I found the best invention ever - foil liners that fit the oven just perfectly. No scrubbing and washing. You just take the liner out and throw it away!
  •  A 5-gallon water container with a spigot for drinking and cooking water. You don't need to bring bottled water. Also trust me on this one. The Campgrounds of New York have wells from which the drinking (potable) water around the campground is pumped. Fresh, clear Adirondack Mountain wellspring water. You won't find any water in a store-bought water bottle that's better than this. NYS Dept of Health tests this water for purity on an annual (or perhaps even more frequent) basis.
  •  Battery pack jumper and dc power center with a power inverter so you can plug in 120v regular household items (like lamps or a blender). Just be careful not to plug in a combination of things that amount to a higher wattage than the power pack. An added bonus: you can jump your car if it dies. You can also recharge these by plugging them in at the bathroom (which all have outlets). You're welcome on this one! 

So, I've covered the very basics you'll need for glamping supplies. I won't get into the food and beverage department, as that would take up another entire blog post. Suffice to say, you should plan to eat and drink elegantly, but keep it simple to prepare. You don't have to make it difficult. There are lots of websites where you'll find great glamping/camping recipes and ideas for amazing, but simple meals. You can figure that one out. Just make sure you have enough cooler space for drink, ice, and food and you'll be set. 

Now that you are ready to embark on your glamping adventure to Buck Pond Campground, you can start organizing and packing all that stuff you're going to need. And don't forget your camera to document all your fun.  Send us your glamping photos from the Adirondacks if you embark on any such trips. You can share them on the Saranac Lake ADK Facebook page. We love to see our visitors' pix! 

Check out all your camping options on our website. There are lots of campgrounds within an easy drive of Saranac Lake. 

This week in related How to ADK news:

How to bird

How to holiday shop 

How to pie

How to build a fire

How to make snow

How to navigate

How to canoe camp

Author:Sue Cameron
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