Since I’ve been in Australia, I’ve been told a few times that my idea of camping isn’t “real camping”. By camping, I mean a nice tent, good bedding, hot food, and, hopefully, toilets and maybe even showers. I remember with great fondness the festivals I attended with friends back in Florida where we cooked full meals and dined together under a canopy before gathering around a fire with wine and mead to talk late into the night and then collapsing on a bed with satin sheets, yes, even in a tent. One person in our party brought a mini-fridge, which was nothing compared to one group that brought an inflatable spa. Beautiful and comfortable camp sites are the norm at these festivals.
My partner and his brother laugh at me. Their idea of “real camping” is sleeping in a swag under the stars, fishing for your meals, and “going” in a hole in the ground. That’s fine for them, but it’s not what I enjoy.
As Cara Schulz says in her delightful book Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping, “There are many ways to camp, and all of them are real.”
If you’ve thought that you might enjoy camping if you didn’t have to rough it, this book is for you. In about 110 pages, Schulz offers affordable tips, tutorials, and recipes to make camping comfortable and stylish.
The book is divided into four camping themes. Fleeting Fantasy is for those that like a romantic approach. Think floral and vintage, shabby chic, lots of soft layers, cushions, wine and cheese. The Modern Minimalist is about organisation, structure, bold colours and lines. The Serene Safari hearkens back to Victorian explorers and is all about elegance. It’s a popular theme with glampers and Steampunk aficionados; it’s my favourite theme as well. Finally, there’s Delightful Decade, which encourages you to draw inspiration from you favourite decade. In Schulz’s case, that’s the 1970s.
Martinis & Marshmallows is packed with photos, which I feel is a must for a book like this. Schulz shows us beautiful campsites and how to put them together. There are sewing projects for crafty types, recipes for foodies, tips for choosing the best gear for you, and lots of practical ideas on everything from organisation to various ways to set a camp dinner table. Schulz also highlights a number of interesting and useful products that she has used and feels comfortable recommending such as the BioLite Wood Burning Campstove, which burns renewable resources like twigs and pine cones instead of using gas canisters and, by converting heat to electricity, it can charge your gadgets. Many of the products she recommends are environmentally-friendly or humanitarian. And less you think you need a trailer to haul all this stuff, Schulz does take space into consideration. She’s got glamping down to a science as well as an art and manages to get all her gear into an average-sized car. At the time of writing, she was driving a Toyota Yaris, which is a subcompact vehicle.
In full disclosure Schulz is an acquaintance. This book began as a Kickstarter project and I was happy to support it. Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping (Volume 1) is now available on Amazon. For more information about Martinis & Marshmallows, you can also visit the website here.
What kind of camping do you enjoy? Do you like roughing it in a tent, the caravan park, or is glamping the way to go?