Field notes from the Glamping Queen: my favorite “glamping” must-haves

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved to camp. I love all of it … sleeping outdoors, the sense of adventure, being away from home and living in nature. 

The older I got, the more I learned the importance of Glamping (Glamorous-Camping). Because a few key creature comforts makes the camping experience that much nicer!

Whether I’m in a tent in the remote mountains, road tripping out of a camper van, or living in an RV at a music festival, I’ve created a list of essential Glamping must-haves, and I want to share my favorites with you.

Here’s a photo of my dad and me that ran in our local newspaper!  This was way before “glamping” was a thing, but I think I was on to something with that fancy travel case next to me on the bench. Just sayin’

And in the comments below, I would LOVE to hear from you. What are some of your favorite Glamping items? I’m always up for improving my Glamping experience!

  1. Inflatable sleeping pads

Ditch the air mattress bed!! I’m not kidding, those motorized in-law beds suck for camping. They never stay inflated, you know in the middle of the night you’ll be drooping into the middle of the bed. And you certainly don’t want to be that schmuck inflating the dang thing in the dark with your car’s cigarette lighter sounding like you’re running a dust buster in the middle of the woods! <been there, done that, not cool!>

I admit it, I was a hold-out. I didn’t want to give up my air mattress. “Sleep on the ground? no way!” But about 5 years ago, my husband Rick convinced me to try the REI inflatable camping pads and I’ve been hooked ever since. They inflate with several pumps with your hands (well, about 97 to be exact) and each single sleeping pad can hook to another pad, making a double bed sleeping cocoon cozy enough for any couple. After several years of solid use in all types of conditions, ours are still as good as the day we got them.  

My favorite kind: REI’s co op Kingdom sleeping pad

2) Solar-powered inflatable lanterns

No batteries required and they collapse down flat to fit in any bag. In some models, the lights can be set to a number of different colors. We take ours everywhere we travel. The sun recharges them in a few hours! 

My favorite kind: MPOWERD Luci Lux Inflatable Solar Lantern

3) A good, packable sleeping bag

This snuggly must-have keeps me toasty warm and it can unzip fully to create a blanket or an extra layer around the camp fire. It packs down really small so you can take it almost anywhere. I brought my North Face sleeping bag with me to Iceland and I felt like a cozy kitty the whole time. 

My favorite kind: North Face Cat’s Meow 20-degree sleeping bag.

4) Folding camping table

A table that packs small but is sturdy enough to cook on is a great investment for your glamping kit. We use ours camping, at the beach or wherever we need an extra table (I throw a sequined table cloth on it when I need a small sturdy table at vendor shows!)  

My favorite kind: Cabela’s roll-top camp table

5) Down/insulated jacket

I love everything about a down jacket. They are warm enough to wear in the snow or on a chilly beach day in Oceanside, without being super bulky.

I have a few different down jackets, the warmest one I own is made by Patagonia, one of the most eco-friendly and socially conscious companies operating in America. Not only do I love everything that Patagonia stands for, they make stuff that lasts. For decades. 

I got my parka in teal, which is one of my favorite colors to wear (it goes with almost everything and it really pops in photos) 

My favorite kinds: Patagonia and Mountain Hard Wear

6) koozies! 

Man, do I love a koozie. These little guys keep a beer cool, while also keeping your hand from getting wet and cold. Plus you can keep track of who’s drink is who’s if you all use different koozies.

this was my go-to koozie the summer I left my corporate job to travel around North America!

7) Mason jar with lids

It took me a while to learn this gem of a Glamping tip, but once I discovered the beauty of drinking wine from a mason jar, I never looked back.

The lid is great for keeping bugs out of your wine. Also, drinking wine out of glass just feels better than plastic. You can also turn this mason jar wine glass into a to-go cup for a sunset walk or bike ride.

In addition to wine, the mason jars can hold leftovers, small camping supplies, or lots of other different goodies. 

8) Headlamp

An essential item for finding your way in the dark. You can put it in the netted bunk part at the top of your tent for a nice soft light, you can use it to read, or if you don’t plan dinner early enough you can use to to cook your food in the dark.  

My mom and me working by the light of my headlamp during our Oceanside beach clambake

Also these are great to wear around your neck at festivals, it really helps when navigating a thick crowd of party-goers at night. 

But DON’T be that tool and wear it on your head all the time: you are blinding people and they don’t like that. 

Don’t waste your money on the cheap ones, spend a little extra for a re-chargable headlamp that will last you for years.

9) Ugg boots or Wellies (and let it be noted that it pains me to recommend these … Crocs) 

If it’s not wet out, Ugg boots are my #1 choice of foot wear when camping. It’s essential to have shoes that slip on and off easily for popping in an out of the tent or camper van. And Uggs keep my feet super warm and somehow they defy the laws of body odor and never make my feet sweaty or smelly.

If it’s rainy or wet, Wellies (rain boots) with knee socks work great to keep the feet dry and happy. 

And yes, it does pain me to recommend these super dorky, highly UNfashionable, rubbery footwear – BUT I see how much my husband loves his Crocs when camping. He has TWO pairs of Crocs: one pair is for wet environments, and one pair is lined with fur. And man, he loves his fur-lined Crocs. Rick swears by them so I feel that I need to mention it in this post. I’m not proud.

Rick unapologetically rocking his Crocs in Iceland

10) portable speaker

You can get great music out of a speaker that’s no bigger than a Cinn-A-Bon. A good portable speaker should be able to play your tunes loudly with sound quality would please even the pickiest audiophile. 

Get one that connects to your phone via BlueTooth and has a USB re-charge. These speakers are great in rentals cars with crummy stereos — which is usually the case.

My favorite kind: Ultimate Ears (UE Roll)

11) Collapsable water bottle

I’ve had a few versions of these and I love them. They hold a lot of water and when they’re empty they fold down to almost nothing. 

My favorite kind: Vapur

12) Eye Mask

Just because the sun comes up early, doesn’t mean I have to. I love nothing more than sleeping in a tent with no rain fly on top (just a net between me and the sky) The view of the stars and the sensation of sleeping out in the open is heaven on earth. But when the sun comes up, there is nothing better than putting on my trusty eye mask and sleeping in until I’m ready to start my day. 

13) Apron

Cooking outside can get a little messy, but you can stay cute while you’re makin’ the bacon. On our cross-country camping road trip, my husband got me a vintage apron at a shop in Vermont and I love that thing! I keep it with the camping kitchen supplies so I always have it when we camp.

14) Baby wipes

Keeps the body parts clean, and they can also be used for cleaning all kinds of other things around the camp site. Just not after you’ve cleaned your body parts. 

15) “Woobie” blanket

In my house we call it “greenie”, but my husband, a former Marine, tells me the unofficial name for these in the military is a Woobie. 

The Woobie is technically a poncho liner, and is a standard-issued item in the Marine Corps. You can buy them at most Army-Navy supply stores. They come in any shade between green and camouflage. Don’t expect to find these in cute colors or trendy designs, but what you CAN expect is the best blanket known to Glampers. The warm filling and satin finish keeps you so snuggly. 

They are also great because you cannot get them dirty. Somehow they repel filth and nothing sticks to them. They are perfect for the beach too. 

We have no fewer than 4 of these in our household! Because they pack down so small and are as light as air, a Woobie comes with us everywhere we travel. And the best part is that they dry almost instantly!

Greenie is always close by

16) Powdered sunscreen

I love powdered sunscreen. It’s the perfect sun protection to put on your face when liquid sunscreen doesn’t appeal to you. Sometimes sunscreen feels so icky – especially when my normal skin-care/cleansing routine isn’t possible when I’m camping. Put this powder on and you’ll never feel sticky or greasy. 

My favorite kind: Arbonne sunscreen powder – SPF 15

17) Foot-pump portable shower

This is perfect for showering after surfing, or washing dishes when camping. The foot pump provides you with fresh water at a stable pressure. You don’t need to hang this from a tree like the traditional solar showers. The spray nozzle is perfect for doing dishes.

Keep it in the sun for a nice warm shower!

my favorite kind: Nemo Helio Pressure Shower

18) Outdoor rug

Camp sites are often dusty and dirty, but these outdoor rugs are the bomb diggity at keeping your camp site and tent clean and dust-free. The kind I love is made from 100% recycled plastic.These eco-friendly rugs are tightly woven so they’re strong and hard-wearing but soft and comfortable underfoot.

my favorite kind: Fab Habitat outdoor rug

These are just some of the items I’ve learned to love when I am Glamping. 

Now I would love to hear from you, my fellow Glampers. Share in the comments below… what are some of the things that make your camping experience that much more glamourous?

Thanks for reading, and happy Glamping!!! 

desert camping is the BEST in February!!

serving up cocktails from the Tangerine Machine we rented in Iceland

the music festival life is SUPER fun in an RV.

this deer visited our campsite in Jackson Hole, Wyoming while I was cooking dinner.

beach camping with the Venice, CA girls at Jalama Beach.

living the #VanLife in Utah

getting off the grid in the woods of Canada

if you drive a rig like this through Georgia on your way to Bonnaroo in Tennessee, you WILL get pulled over and harassed by the Georgia cops. “Remember, you’re still in Georgia young lady”. Noted.






About Marcy

Hello, I'm Marcy Browe! I specialize in personal branding photos for business owners in Southern California. I'd love to know more about you.. let's connect and create some magic together!


  1. Anonymous on July 29, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    LUV this Marcy! I grew up camping too. Need to get back out there with some glamping!

    • Holly Peterson on July 25, 2020 at 1:10 am

      Great ideas Marcy! I especially like the lanterns. So glad you’re having fun.
      The photo of you as a little girl camping with your Dad is precious.

      • Marcy on July 25, 2020 at 1:35 am

        Thanks Holly!!! Those lanterns are GREAT 🙂

  2. Nedra Fabito on July 29, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    LUV this Marcy! I grew up camping too. Need to get back out there with some glamping!

    • on August 8, 2018 at 12:44 am

      Yes Nedra! The Maine girl is still inside and wants to get outdoors 🙂

  3. Kelii on July 23, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    Loved this blog!!! I love glamping but are still using inflatable mattresses 🙂 You guys have glamping nailed, some great ideas there. Thank you

    • Marcy on July 24, 2020 at 12:02 am

      Glad you liked it Kelii!! I know you love camping too – wish we were on the same side of the world again. Some day we’ll camp together!! xoxo

  4. Annie Tucker on July 24, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    This is the BEST post and such good advice! I feel so inspired! Makes me want to go camping right now! PS: You and Mr. Rick are gorgeous inside and out. Awesome photos!

    • Marcy on July 24, 2020 at 6:15 pm

      Ahh Annie – thank you!! I would love to scoop you and Dylan up and go camping!! xoxox

  5. Dana on July 25, 2020 at 2:52 am

    Great blog, Marcy! I read every word, and you almost got me wanting to go camping. I loved the photo of you with your dad as a little girl going glamping. I did take my kids glamping once. We camped on our driveway in a friend’s RV! We had a blast, ate s’mores, watched the stars from our sleeping bags on the grass, but slept inside the RV.

    • Marcy on July 25, 2020 at 6:16 pm

      You’re so cute Dana – I can picture you with the kids camping in the driveway. They must have loved it!!!!

  6. Kierstin on July 25, 2020 at 4:30 am

    SUPER simple item, but hangers! If you’re beach camping, you can hang dry a bathing suit or wetsuit. And in all types of camping, you can hang jackets so they are accessible as they would be in a coat closet! Plus it helps to air everything out.

    • Marcy on July 25, 2020 at 6:15 pm

      oh my gosh Kierstin – you’re right. So simple but overlooked … hangers! Thank you 😀

  7. Melissa Plaskonos on August 17, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    What an awesome blog Marcy – and I love all of the photos of your adventures!

    • Marcy on August 19, 2020 at 6:30 pm

      thanks for tuning in Melissa 🙂

  8. Jyotika on June 7, 2022 at 12:39 am

    Loved this blog, Marcy! You shared some great tips and tricks for a beginner camper. I can’t wait to get a mason jar for those sunsets in UT 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!!

  9. Amy Benoit on June 24, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    GREAT (and fun) article, Marcy.
    We used to glamp a lot and you hit on practically all of my “must haves.”
    Off the top of my head though, I’d never leave on a glamp without a french-press and a hand-crank grinder for the worlds best camp-coffee. Coffee just tastes better by a campfire.
    Also, as much as I initially resisted the idea of it, a propane firebowl is a wonderful thing to have along. I get that some haters will argue that they don’t get the campfire smell of burning wood, but also, you don’t go to bed smelling all smokey, you don’t have to shift your chair around as the wind shifts directions, and you don’t have to worry about extinguishing it before bed. Nope, instead, you flip a switch, and it is lit and warm, and when you’re done, you simply turn it off. It allows for easy fire-time over morning coffee pre-hiking without all of the fuss you might consider if you just want a fire for 20 minutes.
    Happy Camping! New Zealand looks amazing so far.

    • Marcy on July 26, 2023 at 1:00 am

      Great suggestion Amy – and we have a propane fire bowl for the glampy-times, for the exact reasons you mention ALSO good for when there are fire bans at campsites!!

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