Updated: Oct 25, 2020
Trust me when I say, being a lady who "tent camps", was never something I thought I'd do. For years, after blending our family, we rented an rv from a local company who had seven different options in their private fleet. In fact, that's how we fell in love with Florida State Parks to begin with. Setup, with an rv, was an absolute breeze once you made it to your campsite.
However, we never had another way to get around and travel about the area outside of the state park unless we broke down our campsite. Naturally, bringing bikes was always a must and we had those for the parks themselves to get from our site to the beaches and trails. But that hardly is the same as seeing a few sites in a downtown over twenty minutes of a drive away. Right?
So, when we impulsively decided to get a pontoon, the idea going down every river in Florida just hit as we meandered down the Indian River,in the drizzle, on Mother's Day 2020. It was then, I knew, in order to dedicate ourselves to the mission of river roamin' we'd needed to be free of an rv, making towing the boat easier.
When the idea of glamping struck me, I knew with certain amenities and a limit of nights I would spend doing it; I could tent camp! Not in the traditional sense of course. Hence, I made my mind up right then to figure out a way to make a glampin' kit so we could be comfortable yet free to roam.
First things first, we needed a tent. Not just any old tent. A spacious one. Do they come with air conditioning? How can I make something work to ensure it wouldn't be insufferable since it is Florida in the height of summer. Well, if you were wandering, I found it alright. Sure it took several days of research and even longer to convince my husband and 13 year old son I wouldn't back out; but now we have it and I am happy to report and share our suggestions.
This is the one we have and I am beyond in love with it!
Ozark Trail 16x16-Feet 12-Person 3 Room Instant Cabin Tent with Pre-Attached Poles
This is what I call River Glampin' folks!
It is a 16' x 16' instant cabin tent that says it sleeps 12. Seriously? A dozen people? A family of three and a chocolate lab fit quite nicely. Though seriously, if you do without a kitchenette, catchall area; you can fit 3 couples or a few kids but more than that is just isn't glamping. The best part, it sets up in under two minutes and breaks down just as fast! Yes, it takes a few times to really get the hang of it and there is still more to do once it up, like securing it down with ropes and stakes before you can make it all cozy; but for real, it goes up pretty quick. Plus, there's a bonus awning on the outside which is perfect for when that rain comes or to give you a shaded place to sit for a bit after a nice afternoon hike. The pop up cabin has it all.
Ok, now the real best part about this tent is the two air conditioning ports. This is super important during summer anywhere throughout the good US of A, though in Florida it is something handy to incorporate year round. Think about it, hurricane comes and power is out. You can run these off your generator with a few extension cords; this is a very justified purchase.
Of course, I have all sorts of fun things to share with you on how to set it up inside from favorite air mattresses to top items for a glampin' kitchen. Click here for the complete checklist that allows you to really glamp up your tent inside. For now, just know if you have a permanent grouping of three to five (allowing for two separate bedrooms along with a common area space) and you want air conditioning along with a few other perks, this tent is for you so click above and scoop her up.
Another great option for a different experience, ideal for a couple or a family of three depending on your need for a catch all space is the
Ozark Trail 9-Person Instant Cabin Tent Camping Outdoors Family with Bonus Screen Room Green by OZARK
What is super cool about this tent is that it has a screened in porch! No matter where you are in the United States, there is some kind of bug and likely a bit of rain. Typically, pesky mosquitoes like to come out around dusk or of course linger after a storm, so having this space is super beneficial to the glamping experience. Naturally, there is a air conditioning port that I am a real proponent of for ideal comfort at night and early morning. Also, there is a room divider. As a couple or with guests, that is a great way to add to the cabin feel by having allocated spaces for sleep and storage or kitchen prep space. It's the same manufacturer, great colors, you are going to love this one!
Finally, my last suggestion is for the beginner who really isn't entirely sure how often they will go or how long they will want to glamp it up.
OZARK Trail Family Cabin Tent (Gray/Orange, 4 Person (22 Piece Combo Set))
I am all about convenience and making things easy. That's why in time you will see how important it is to always have your gear ready. Honestly, one of the best parts of glampin' is being able to go even on a whim. That means, nothing goes back into the house to stay aside from toiletries and clothes. Hence, this is perfect for someone who only wants to half commit. Sure you will need a couple more things but really, it is all right here. Ideal for two, this is easy to store all together so you can just grab and go when the mood hits you.
As you can see, I have a thing for Ozark Trail. They make amazing tents you can feel secure in. Yet this super affordable kit, under $200, you can have a tent, chairs, sleeping mats with bags, lantern, stakes and carrying case.
With a few trips now under our belt, Florida summers can often produce big rain storms in the later afternoon. As a whole, our tent is stellar in holding up to the rain and has been the envy of the campers around us. However, depending on the amount of shade at the campsite. And, depending on if it rains; how much comes down and with what intensity, another layer on top could be a really great idea. For a great price, we decided to add this to our kit and it takes up virtually no additional room.
KingCamp Rain Fly Tarp-Lightweight Portable Waterproof and UV-Resistant Camping Tent Tarp Perfect for Hammock Hiking Picnic Or Beach Ta
Depending on the campsite, there may not be any trees. This would pose a problem with your new layer of sun and rain protection. Hence, these poles; they work every time and can even help create a clothesline.
Green Elephant Telescoping Tarp Poles Set of 2 – Adjustable Aluminum Rods for Tents and Tarps – Awning Poles for Camping, Backpacking, Hiking, More – Portable, Lightweight Replacement Tent Pole
Lastly, each tent or rv requires a mat at teh entry way. This helps to capture sand and dirt, but it also does something for the overall cohesiveness of your glampin' site. As you can see from pictures, our mat is a solid green; simple yet effective and reversible.
Side note, this is where your big broom is needed the most. Keep it by your entry door so you can access your broom quickly. Who knew I'd ever like sweeping? #onlywhencamping
Camco 42880 Reversible Awning Leisure Mat-6' X 9', Green
Want something with a bit more pop? I feel you. Here's a link for some stellar choices; watch for size fellow glampers.
Not seeing your perfect tent yet? Try this link and view a few others.
Also, feel free to check out the amazing options at Bass Pro too! Here's a link you can use.
Wrapping up, these are all pretty good picks for different reasons. Whether there's a pandemic out in the world or not, moving forward getting outside and spending time together; young or old is something that is going to be a part of our quest for work/life balance. This investment is going to be so worth it; cheers to tentin' it!