Music festivals like Glastonbury
have glamorized camping, not so much for the opportunity to sleep under the big sky, but for the fashion and celebrity aura, not to mention cool gear, that comes along with it. For example, when Kate Moss wore traditional Hunter Wellies
while camping at Glastonbury in 2005, the rubber boots became an "it" accessory from London to New York the following fall. So, perhaps it was inevitable that an influx of high design camping equipment would flood the market.
Zandra Rhodes for Millets: Zandra Rhodes,
the funky punk queen of '60s Fulham Road style, has taken her love of textiles and nature outside of the high fashion sphere with a capsule collection for camping gear store Millets
. (Think UK equivalent of REI or EMS.) The stylish line of outdoor products, which includes tents, flasks and umbrellas, matches Rhodes' signature shocking neon pink (and sometimes blue) locks, making each item easily locatable amidst a crowded campground. Her fascination with Native American folk art can be seen in the bold patterning of the line, and is perhaps best exhibited in the signature teepee
. We know she's not the first to infuse a festival tent with style
, but of the current crop of chic outdoor shelters, the one created by the "grande dame of subversive fashion"
is certainly the most sublime.
This year's key festival accessory is not a new designer Wellington boot
, but rather a 19th century-style tent. Used by the British cavalry during the Crimean War in 1855, the bell tent has a storied history
. But what has drawn most adoptees is the utilitarian chic aesthetic of the bell tent's ivory canvas covering. A growing legion of modern day campers who opt for bell tents are being referred to euphemistically as "bell tenters," invoking not only their choice of shelter, but an 'experience' that incorporates Moroccan throw pillows, homemade hummus, and champagne. Though they originated in the UK, where the tents can be rented from several vendors
, American companies like SoulPad
are now selling them as well. Of course, one need not move into festival grounds to lounge in a bell tent, since a furnished backyard model could be the alternative to a coveted home addition, minus the contractors' and construction fees.
Even traditional camping gear - the kind used by people who actually spend their nights in secluded wooded areas as opposed to hipster zoos - is becoming more design driven. Just introduced at EMS stores in June
, Alite Designs is a new San Francisco-based camping company that's "defined by innovation, bold colors and a sense of humor." Their In-Law Outlaw tent
, an ode to 1970s RVs built-for-two, is a very Brady
piece of Americana and it's reportedly easy to assemble. Alite's latest product, which is literally getting campers hot and bothered, is the Sexy Hotness sleeping bag
. Lined with a Kama Sutra print interior, the erotic bag is outfitted with unique zippers that make it possible to get intimate with your camping mate without facing the cold air. For those who are not getting so lucky under the stars, the bag does have other perks - like allowing one to take a midnight pee without climbing out of its warmth. Really.