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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014
Roughing it out...in style
Bhairavi Jhaveri, Hindustan Times
December 20, 2012
First Published: 18:14 IST(20/12/2012)
Last Updated: 18:08 IST(22/12/2012)

What happens when you combine camping with a touch of luxury, even glamour? You go glamping, the fussy urban Indian’s favourite new way to holiday

I don’t think our fathers or uncles ever carried sunscreen when they went camping,” says outdoor enthusiast, Maulik Bhavsar with a laugh. But the 29-year-old marketing professional who goes on biking and camping trips once every three months, doesn’t deny that he packs in a few modern-day luxuries to keep him comfortable. Granola bars, tea bags, a GPS system, portable water heater, music speakers and sunscreen – all go into his backpack.

Deanne Rodrigues, 37, who likes her holidays to be convenient, has opened up to the idea of camping in the last year too. Though she makes sure that the trips she signs up for come with the promise of clean toilets. “I’ve carried a pillow and blanket, shot glasses and board games to my New Year’s Eve camping trip to Purushwadi village,” she says.

New kinds of gear and technology have made camping an option (and a pretty luxurious one) for those who want to enjoy the outdoors, but without stepping out of their comfort zone. Adventure gear companies say that they have seen a jump in sales of equipment as well as luxury items over the past two years. “More and more people from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities want to experience camping in India,” says Dinesh KS, founder of Wildcraft India. “These trips are mostly short and are essentially luxury camping.” Big Red Tent, a campsite resort on the outskirts of Mumbai, caters especially to this breed of traveller.

“Each year, we add to our offerings based on feedback,” says Rahil Mehta of Big Red Tent. “We now provide additional lights and also fans.” But you don’t need outside help to add a few frills to your holiday. You just need to know what to upgrade and how – and honey, anything can be glamped up these days!

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2012/12/icebox.jpgIce box

If you are carrying wine or any other liquor, invest in an easy-to-carry ice box that can keep not just your beers cool, but can also be used for storing sandwich fillings and marinades.

Where to get it?
You can find iceboxes online, like this Kaleido metal icebox on www.urbanladder.in for Rs. 2,499. Also search for coolers on www.junglee.com and ebay.in. Ice boxes can also be found at Hypercity.

Folding Furniture Folding camping chairs and tables

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2012/12/FoldingFurniture.jpgIf you take off every other weekend, these outdoor travel furniture pieces are a great investment. Bangalore-based Urban Ladder provides a range of outdoor furniture options. Their Butterfly Chair with a folding frame and fabric cover is a great buy as it dismantles into a very compact size that’s easy to carry. Their range of colourful fresco folding tables and chairs are also a good buy. If you want to set up your food and drinks by the tent, a folding table by LATT is practical.

Where to get it?
Decathlon.in also stocks plywood/aluminium steel folding tables and stools, designed specially for outdoor excursions that fold into a compact briefcase design.
Rs 5,999

Portable Barbeque Charcoal Grill

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2012/12//PortableBarbeque.jpgThis is a great way to provide for food in the outdoors, and it’s a fun activity as well. Plan a day ahead and pack marinades in an ice box. In the evening, everyone can take turns to serve up barbequed corn, potatoes and meats.

Where to get it

Websites such as Alibaba.com and junglee.com stock a variety of barbeque grills from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 5,000.

Yoga Mat or Chatai

As an essential for almost any outdoor excursion, a chatai or a yoga mat is a must for sitting outside the tent as it is difficult to sit for hours on uneven terrain. The mat also provides some insulation as temperature drops after sunset.

Where to get it

Natural, foldable straw mats with Hawaiian prints are available on www.hitplay.in for Rs. 399.

Fire Starter

Yes, we have no idea about starting a fire. So, equip yourself with a fire starter that will spare you all the hassle on your downtime.

Where to buy it

Wildcraft stocks a magnesium fire starter for Rs. 660, available at physical stores and online.

Things to keep in mind before setting up a campsite

1 Never set up your tent on a slope

2 Set up your campsite on a high ground

3 Make sure you are near a water source

4 Pick a shaded spot

5 Always carry a bag for garbage

6 Keep a checklist of all your gear

Hammock

It’s light and can be easily knotted to the trees in the campsite, and is a must for a relaxed camping trip.

Where to get it

Ebay.in has good deals on hammocks starting from Rs. 750.

Hammock

Wine chiller

ChillerIf you are a wine connoisseur, drinking it at the right temperature – no matter where you are – is important. Buy this ‘Right Wines’ instant wine chiller holder, and enjoy chilled wine even in the outdoors.

Where to get it

Buy it from www.shop. tappukidukaan.com for Rs. 499.

Sleep right

Inflatable Bed
Instead of a sleeping bag, carry an inflatable bed for that perfect snooze in the tent – the bed will keep you warm as well and the uneven terrain of the campsite will not hinder your dreams.
Where to get it
Buy the Airbed for two that can inflate in less than two minutes on www.decathlon. in for Rs. 1,999.

BedCotton Pillows 
A pillow will always come handy on a camping trip if you aren’t used to outdoor excursions. Ditch the uncomfortable travel pillow and carry a soft cotton pillow along.
Where to get it
Buy the travel-size cotton pillow designed specially for hiking and outdoor excursions on www.decathlon.in for Rs. 499.

Blanket
Carry a thin cotton blanket from home, and instantly you will forget that you are in a tent and drift into undisturbed sleep. A blanket can also double as a shawl while hanging around the campsite at night.

Foldable, plastic cutlery
http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2012/12/foldableplasticcutlery.jpgWildcraft’s Fold-A-Cup and Folding Bucket are great buys for storing and drinking water, or for having soupy food items such as noodles. The 4-in-1 pocket cutlery set of spoon, fork, knife and opener available on Ebay.in is a superb purchase for all travellers.

Hitplay’s Spork: a spoon cum fork – is heat resistant and non-scratchy and is available in bright colours. Plastic wine glasses are another practical item to carry while camping; these can be found on Ebay.in and online, as well as the Cheap Jack store in Bandra.

High Tech stuff

Dynamo Lantern / Micro Lantern / Headlamp /Reading LED light

LanternAt most campsites, there is no electricity. In order to feel less disoriented, especially if it is your first-time camping, you can carry along a dynamo LED lantern that runs for 80 minutes on full mode or 120 minutes on medium mode. A micro lantern is another option. It uses a specially-designed conical reflector and a LED light and has a battery life of 25 hours. A headlamp is another handy piece of lighting gear that you can pack, but if you love reading, a special LED reading light may be a better choice.

Where to get it?

Available on www.outdoortravelgear.com for Rs. 1,999. Micro Lantern and Head Lamp are available at Wildcraft outlets across India and online on www.wildcraft.in for Rs. 780 and Rs. 1,000. The LED reading light is available on www.hitplay.com for Rs. 399.

Travelling speakers / iPod dock

Music is the easiest form of recreation on a camping trip. Make sure your music collection is updated on your phone or iPod, and carry along small, battery-powered capsule speakers or an iPod dock along.

Where to get it?

Portable capsule speakers are available at all electronic goods stores such as Croma for Rs. 700 onwards.  

FanPortable fan

Campsites can sometimes get sunny and stuffy. Carry a battery-operated portable fan to stay cool and keep flies and mosquitoes at bay.

Where to get it? 

You can find portable fans on eBay for Rs. 499.

Outdoor GPS

Ditch the compass, and get a GPS. If you aren’t using one of the fully-loaded touchscreen phones that come with a built-in GPS system, it may be advisable to invest in a GPS gadget, especially if you go on camping trips on a whim and frequently.

Where to get it? 

Find a list of Garmin dealers at their website http://www.garmin.co.in

Dry Shampoo

Glamping also has a solution for fixing your tresses while in the outdoors. If you can’t take an indulgent hair shower, there’s always dry shampoo! You can spray or sprinkle, and then brush it out, and you’re done.

Where to get it

Dry shampoo is available at select hair and beauty stores in the country starting at Rs. 1,500. You can also find it on www.ebay.in.

From HT Brunch, December 23

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