What exactly is “glamping?” The term glamping is a combination of two words – glamorous and camping. However, the term has become a travel industry buzzword and, in most cases, refers to something that is far removed from camping. A great website that humorously defines the differences between camping and glamping can be found here:  Difference Between Glamping and Camping

What if you want to go camping somewhere remote but don’t want to sleep on the ground, cook over an open fire, be protected from the elements and so on, but still want to be close to nature? My wife and I did just that at Mustang Island State Park in Port Aransas, Texas. The “amenities” at Mustang Island include portable toilets, water taps and outdoor showers. A bit of advice – if you go, bring your own drinking water. The water at the park is not bad for you, it just tastes really bad.

So, we decided to camp at the park, but we wanted to up our comfort level. A couple of years ago when we went to the Arkansas Canoe Club School of Whitewater Kayaking, we saw some young men with a very elaborate tent set-up. Not only did they have a large tent, but they had a tent with an added area under which they had a table and their cooking gear. When we told them we admired their set up was they laughed and told us that they were “glamping.” That was the first time we had ever heard the term.

We thought that a tent with an added room was a great idea, so Donna did some research. She found the Napier Outdoors Sportz (84000) Tent with Screen Room. This spacious Sportz SUV Tent allows you to sleep in the cargo area of your SUV or pickup while using the tent as a living space. A removable screen room allows you to cook/dine without worrying about bugs or the elements. Below is a link to an Amazon page where that product is sold.

So, we were ready to go, right? Not quite. Our Nissan’s truck bed is grooved so, even on air mattresses, we would not be very comfortable. On top of that, because it is a 4×4, the wheel wells intrude into the bed, making it very narrow. The two of us would not be able to fit in it. So, to overcome that problem, Donna studied a bunch of YouTube videos and came up with a great solution. The created a platform that was supported PVC legs and that sat above the wheel wells.


Not only that, she created a hinged extra piece that sat on the truck tailgate so that we could stretch out (our truck bed was only 5 feet long).

The great thing about the platform she built is that you can unscrew the legs and lay the pieces flat in the truck bed, so the platform does not take up much storage space.

platform with matresses

The air mattresses you see are the REI Co-op Camp Bed 3.5 Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad. These are self-inflating and are VERY comfortable.

Here is a link where you can purchase this sleeping pad: REI Co-op Camp Bed 3.5 Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

We have also used the Exped SynMat Mega 12 Sleeping Pad Camping Air Mattresses. These come with the smart “Schnozzel Pump” bag that ensures quick and easy inflation and also doubles as waterproof compression bag. They are also VERY comfortable. Below is a link where you can purchase this air mattress.

Now we were ready to go, right? Well, not quite. Once we realized how much space the kayaks would take up, we knew that all our equipment would not fit. To solve this problem, we bought a CURT Basket-Style Cargo Carrier and, because rain was in the forecast, a CURT Cargo Bag to keep everything dry. Below are links to Amazon pages where those products are sold.

Finally, we were ready to go!

When we got to the park, we were able to set up. Here is a picture of what our site looked like with the Napier Outdoors Sportz Tent.

Napier Tent Set Up

The screen room can in particularly handy on this trip because, unfortunately, it rained practically the whole time we were at the park. No matter, though. We (I mean Donna) was able to cook in the screen room and keep dry.

Donna in added room

The screen room is so large that we were able to store our cooler and even have a camping pantry that gave us easy access to cooking necessities.

We used the Kamp Rite Kwik Pantry with Cook Table. It sets up and folds down in minutes. Below is a link to that product.

Kamp-Rite Kwik Pantry with Cook Table

Of course, because it was raining and we had our dogs with us, the tent got very sandy.

Sand in the tent

No problem. We brought along our Dewalt cordless wet/dry vac. This was essential for cleaning up the floor of the tent to get the sand out. Below is a link to an Amazon page where that product is sold.

So, we did spend a bit of money, but now we have all the equipment required for some serious off-road glamping!

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