And Make It Gourmet
Want to get away from the noise and city bustle this summer or plan for early fall? Love the sights and sounds of the great outdoors, but can’t live without a comfy bed? Relax-your glamping aka “glamour camp” experience awaits you.
Get off the ground
You’re under no moral obligation to spend the night on the ground. The best way to make camp feel luxurious is to invest in an air mattress with a built-in pump (use an adapter with your car’s power outlet).
Treat your feet
An indoor-outdoor throw rug or a pair of slippers will make you forget your floor is dirt.
Bring comfort touches from home
Wake up to bird songs and big sky views in your own sheets, on your own pillow, under a cozy alpaca throw.
Keep it clean
Use a small whiskbroom to sweep out the tent and keep things tidy.
Create mood lighting
When you’re ready to hang out in the tent for the evening, there’s no need to blind each other with headlamps. To brighten die entire tent, fill a 1-gallon water jug, then strap a headlamp around it to create a softer interior light, or pick up a Moroccan-style lantern at an import store and light it with a safe, battery-powered LED votive (real candles not recommended).
Set a beautiful table
Want to make even the simplest camp meal feel three-star? Set the table with a cheery tablecloth, some matching enamel-ware dishes, mugs and a coffee pot, and cloth bandanas for napkins.
Get ready for compliments from your camping neighbors.
Packing Your Food For The Great Outdoors:
Your goal: food that stays cold, organized, dry and un-squished, with no massive ice melt by day three. And don’t forget to bring two coolers-one for food and one for drinks is ideal—if you have the space.
Keep Everything Cold
Make ice blocks. (They last way longer than cubes.) At least 24 hours ahead, stash two to three large (8 by 10 inches) freezable ice packs in the freezer (or make your own by filling empty half-gallon milk containers with water, reserving space at the top for expansion-then freeze).
Pre-chill food and drinks. This helps ice stay cold. Freeze meat in marinades and pack seafood frozen. They’ll act like extra ice in the cooler and keep longer.
Pack Like a Bag Boy/Girl
Put fragile stuff on top. Think eggs, lettuce and herbs. Stash loose items in a plastic tote. This is the spot for yogurts, bags of meats and cheeses and anything you don’t want to lose in the ice. Seal the tote with a lid. Put ice blocks on the bottom of the cooler. Other heavy items, like meat frozen in marinade and boxes of cut-up fruit, go at the bottom too. Fill in empty spaces. Dump ice cubes into the cooler to fill in spaces between items.
Remove excess packaging. Cut an egg carton in half if you need only six eggs. Seal bacon in a plastic bag but leave any cardboard behind. Stash a single cube of butter in a small container if that will be enough, fill an empty spice jar with ketchup so you don’t bring die whole bottle. You get the idea.
Keep Food Organized and Dry
Seal meats, cheeses and eggs in plastic bags. Food will stay dry and even when ice starts to melt a bit. (But be sure these and all highly perishable foods, like mayonnaise, stay very cold.)
Label everything. Containers marked with a masking tape and a felt-tip pen mean your camping buddies can help themselves while you’re out exploring.
Keep the Cooler in the Shade
The ice will last twice as long if you set coolers in the shade once you’re at the campground.
Don’t Forget to Pack the Kitchen Gear
Assemble a camping box with utensils, matches, a small cutting board and other necessities. Pack all of the kitchen gear in one or two large bins and pantry staples in a smaller one, so everything is handy when you cook
Decant large bottles of liquids such as olive oil into smaller containers in portions you’ll use on the trip.
Don’t forget salt, pepper and a few favorite spices.
Heavy-duty foil for cooking and plastic bags or containers for leftovers and lunches are also useful.
Use kitchen towels to cushion pots, cast-iron skillet and any jars; they’ll also come in handy for cleanup.
Excerpted from Camp Sunset by the editors of Sunset magazine. Copyright c2016 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.
Choosing a Campsite
Our picks for state park campsites within a 2.5-hour drive from Chicago:
Indiana Dunes State Park Campground
(Beverly Shores, Indiana: 50 miles - approx. 1 hour drive time)
This spotless campground boasts 140 sites that are handicap accessible, family and group friendly and you can even bring along your four-legged family member. The campsite is located less than a mile from die beach. Modern restrooms available.
Reservations are suggested: 219-926-1952 or indianastateparks.reserveamerica.com. If full, Dunewood Campground is nearby and offers wooded sites as first come first serve: 219-395-1882.
Starved Rock State Park
(Oglesby, Illinois: 95 miles; approx. 1.5 hours drive time)
Campsites are amid a unique rock surrounding of tree-covered canyons, waterfalls, sandstone bluifs, flourishing wildlife and is secluded and spacious. There are over 13 miles of hiking trails, with canoeing, Ashing and horseback riding. Modem bathrooms and electricity. Reservations recommended: starvedrockstatepark.org.
Kettle Moraine State Forest
(Campbellsport, Wisconsin: 140 miles; approx. 2.5 hours drive time)
Spectacular glacial landforms and rolling hills allow for 750 campsites, 250 miles of hiking trails, with biking, a swimming beach and fishing. For a more primitive stay, authentic Native American plains tepees are available for rent. Handicap accessible and pet friendly. Reservations recommended: reserveamerica.com or by calling 888-947-2757.
Van Buren Stale Park
(South Haven, Michigan: 128 miles; approx. 2 hours drive time)
More than 500 acres of land along the Lake Michigan shoreline which includes 220 modem campsites. Sites have electricity, picnic table and fire ring, with restrooms nearby. Activities include swimming, hiking, biking and horseback riding and you can partake in area festivals like the August Blueberry Festival and local wine tasting. Pet friendly. Reservations required: midnrreservations.com/VanBurenStatePark
Editor’s Travel Tip:
On your way home from your camping adventure, plan to take some leisure time and stop at roadside fruit and vegetable stands and fill up your empty cooler with locally grown seasonal produce. Also look for local co-ops that sell local and organic food from nearby family farmers. Or stop for a tasting at a local brewery or winery. Visit ediblechicago.com for some of our favorite stops.