Great Smoky Glamping

For the past 23 years, aunts, uncles, cousins, cousin’s children, grandparents and family friends from my maternal side have camped each and every summer in The Great Smoky Mountains…in the same place, Deep Creek Campground to be exact.  My camping experience there has grown from sleeping in my parent’s tent with my crummy sleeping bag to “bumming” off of family sites with our small 2 person tent to eventually renting our own hillside site and inviting family and friends of our own.  This year, we decided to go all out and “glam…p” things up.  For our sixth anniversary, my mom bought us a very large family tent, which we in turn, have turned into our mobile safari home, or the “Banana Pancake House” as we now lovingly refer to it.

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Now, glamping ain’t easy.  This has taken quite a bit of preparation, and certainly some investment.  But, now I don’t know if I can go back to our little 2-person rig.  If you want to skip the hotel room and breathe in the outdoor air while still enjoying some comforts and luxury, glamping is a must do.  And now that our set-up is together, we’ll be taking this baby on the road for future adventures for sure!  Here’s a few items that I would consider “must-haves” for a lush night out-doors.

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Indoor-outdoor rugs and cozy linens.  Inside secret, not-so-secret if you know me…I am a Maxxinista (that’s a TJ Maxx enthusiast for those that don’t know).  I found ALL of these beautiful items in just one shopping trip!  These rugs turned out to be one of the best additions to camping as they keep your floor cushy, your feet dry, and your eyes smiling at all the same time.

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As far as linens go, there’s quite a dispute in our household about this.  The husband would be content with one sheet and one blanket on the bed…maybe not even a pillow.  I strongly prefer layering blankets of varying textures and piles of pillows!  Really, I took it easy on the pillows for camping purposes.  This bedside table is simply a basket turned over, so when glamping time is done, packing and storage for all the linens is effortless.

One caution—your blankets and pillows are only as good as your air mattress.  Seriously, a well-made air mattress will turn your camp into glamp real quick, and you’ll wake to the birds in the morning no problem.

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Next glamping essential…a comfortable and easily pack-able hammock.  Our favorites are made by ENO.  We scored this limited edition XL digital camo hammock earlier in the week.  We had previously invested in a a super functional ENO rain fly for the hammock, so whether there’s high noon heat or afternoon showers, we stay cool and dry during our R&R sessions.

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Music is critical to camping, so glamping is no exception.  Bring a blue tooth speaker for easy portability.  If you don’t already have one…go BOSE or go home.  This is the Mini Soundlink and we use it most days, at home and on the road.  The sound, reach, and overall quality can’t be beat for it’s size.  Unfortunately, Deep Creek has a curfew and some on-top-of-it rangers, or we’d be hosting forest disco parties through the night.

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Last, but certainly not least…prepare well with some tasty provisions.  Of course, it was crucial that we make banana pancakes for breakfast.  However, we made a critical mistake of forgetting to buy eggs!  We resourced from our previous vegan days and mashed some banana for substitute, so we ended up with “banana x 2 pancakes,” which were brilliantly delicious.  Do make sure you confirm the maple syrup is packed!

Be inspired and get outdoors!  There’s a wealth of beautiful experiences that await.

Stay tuned for a day’s worth of adventuring through Deep Creek, Great Smoky Mountain’s National Park and its quaint mountain mother-town of Bryson City, NC.