The Tatler Guide To Camping
It’s really come to this. You’ve exhausted every penthouse suite staycation option in the city, and your insatiable appetite for an exotic escape—any escape, really—just won’t stop. So you’re considering camping. Yes, the thing with the tent. And the sleeping bags. Really, it’s a trend happening all over the world, and not just among people who are, how shall we say, frugal.
Whether you’re a seasoned outdoorsman or a fearless, adventure-seeking woman, or you’re simply looking for a new way to enjoy the wild that you can use for social media content, we’re here to help you re-acquaint yourself with the great outdoors in the style to which you are accustomed. That is to say, this is Tatler’s guide to the best camping money can buy.
The Elite Expeditioner
There’s a kind of romance about the days of epic expeditions gone by, when aristocratic adventurers went sailing off to places unknown, a roaring fire in the evening, a sky full of stars and a martini shaker in the travel kit. Here’s a way to recreate that Ralph Laurenesque romance, albeit with a few indulgent upgrades for today’s more technology dependent traveller.
Load up your superyacht and sail to an idyllic beach like Tai Long Wan in Hong Kong or those on Mamutik Island in Malaysia or Pulau Hantu in Singapore, the latter being a fabulous diving site, so don’t forget to pack your best five-figure dive watch. Have you heard that Rolex just launched a new version of its iconic Submariner? Of course you have.
Once you’ve arrived and anchored, hang back and relax while your crew takes off on a dinghy to set up camp. It won’t just be any camp, of course, and fear not, those Below Deck fools won’t be anywhere in sight.
This summer, Louis Vuitton introduced a monogram mirror backpack trunk that comes with an optional monogram tent. It’s waterproof, comfortably fits two and perfectly complements some of the pieces in Vuitton’s Objets Nomades collection that, as the name suggests, pay homage to the maison’s nomadic roots. Our picks include the bell lamp by London-based industrial design studio Barber & Osgerby, the woven leather hammock by Swiss design studio Atelier Oï and a trunk that folds out to reveal a bed—the perfect place to drape your favourite Hermès cashmere blanket. Perhaps consider renting a second boat to haul all of your toys.
Finally, invest in a Yeti cooler—dubbed the Rolls-Royce of coolers—to keep your champagne and caviar at an optimum temperature. The Tundra 75 Hard Cooler weighs just 15.4 kg empty, with room for 31.7 kg of ice, so that should suffice. For drinks, we don’t mean to hammer the point, but no one makes a bar trunk quite like Vuitton. And if you fancy some fireside chess to pass the time, Tiffany & Co’s handcrafted sterling silver and 24-karat gold vermeil chess set is the pinnacle of unnecessary necessities.
See also: The Best Glamping Sites In Hong Kong
All About Aesthetics
String the fairy lights and lay out the Pendleton blanket. You’re here for the ’gram, not the grime, and we’re not here to judge anything besides your outfit.
In Singapore, companies like Glamping City are well versed in Pinterest-inspired aesthetics and will do all the dirty work for you, including setting up a dreamy yurtlike tent and dressing it up with a queen-size bed, rugs, plants and mood lighting. The company also specialises in outdoor cinemas, so you can enjoy a movie night by moonlight. We’d skip titles like Castaway and 127 Hours.
In Hong Kong, Sai Yuen Park on Cheung Chau Island has two geodesic domes for rent, each positioned on a cliff looking out to the ocean. They’re perfect places for stargazing, and the Vixen FL55SS, which weighs just 1.5 kg, is one of the best portable telescopes on the market. The domes come bare bones, giving you free rein to decorate them however you like. The site, meanwhile, comes with modest creature comforts like clean drinking water stations, washrooms and showers, although don’t expect the Four Seasons.
Skip the wasteful (not to mention horribly unphotogenic) plastic plates and do outdoor eating right with one of Fortnum & Mason’s lavish picnic baskets that come equipped with bone china mugs and plates, wine glasses, cutlery, a freezable wine holder and more. Come to think of it, book both domes, so there’s room for your chef.
See also: 10 Luxury Glamping Sites Around the World
The Slick Survivalist
If you’re more the practical type and fancy yourself a survivalist worthy of a spot on Running Wild with Bear Grylls, then you only need a few essentials. Still, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be the best that money can buy.
For shelter, it’s hard to look past The North Face for their all-weather options. You don’t have to be scaling Mount Everest to enjoy their offerings, like the Assault 2 Futurelight Tent, a waterproof yet breathable model that comfortably protects you from the elements. Fumbling around the dark with your phone’s flashlight app isn’ta great look, either. So avoid this—and potential accidents—a BioLite XL LED lantern, a fabulously designed collapsible fabric orb that can be strung from a tree, creating an instant luxury hotel vibe worthy of Philippe Starck.
Be prepared for any and all situations, including marital discord, with Off Grid Tools’ Survival Axe, which comes with 31 features, including a hatchet blade, hammer, bottle opener and nail puller in one handy 28 cm tool. In the eternal words of Crocodile Dundee, “This is a knife.”
Screw It, Call The Hotel
If checking into the Aman is considered giving up, then call us quitters. These five-star hotels that offer an elevated, camping-like experience (hahaha, who are we kidding?) are a welcome alternative for those who want to be immersed in nature, but aren’t quite ready to give up comforts like running water and electricity, personal butler service or a private pool, obviously. Here in Asia, we’re spoiled for choice.
Aman has fully embraced travellers’ growing appetite for glamping. Amanwana is the only resort on Moyo Island, which sits east of Bali, Indonesia, where it straddles the island’s soaring jungle and white sand beaches. Under each tent’s dramatic canvas ceiling are solid walls, wooden floors and air conditioning. Further afield, near Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India, is Aman-i-Khas. The intimate but opulent property has ten Mughal-style tents, butler service and a cosy communal fire pit.
In Thailand, on the border of Laos and Myanmar, the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle comprises 15 treetop tents shrouded by a bamboo forest. Soak up the wild views from a sleek wooden tub or roam the grounds with the hotel’s resident rescue elephants. You’ll feel like you’re living in a chapter of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
In neighbouring Cambodia, Shinta Mani Wild in Southern Cardamom National Park, designed by famed architect and interior designer Bill Bensley, certainly has a knack for doing things a little differently. Guests have the option to arrive by zipline, natural rock pools double as champagne chillers and the maximalist tents are everything you would expect from Bensley: lavish celebrations of clashing patterns and materials. But it isn’t all fun and games—the resort encourages its guests to join rangers from the local wildlife alliance on its anti-poaching patrols to protect clouded leopards, elephants and sun bears.
And at the end of the day, that’s really what getting out in nature should be about: reconnecting with the natural world, forming a deeper understanding of our place in it and doing what we can to protect and preserve it. Even if we’re doing it from a Louis Vuitton tent.
See also: From Camp To Glamp: 10 Luxury Camping Essentials
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