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Living room camping in five easy steps

In collaboration with Karina Durand, Sépaq’s content strategy and social media manager.

Now that we're all housebound, and we’ve understood that the only thing we can do right now is to be patient, our team had an off-the-wall idea: transform this lockdown period into something a little more fun.

What do we have in mind? To recreate a little slice of our experiences in the comfort of your own abode, while patiently waiting for the good weather to return and to get back to that springtime routine.

That’s why today, we’re suggesting a first challenge: fetch the camping gear in the basement and camp out in the… living room.

Yes, you read correctly, living room camping! Think we're joking? Well, think again! Here’s the instruction manual, in five easy steps.

Mathieu Lachapelle | © Sépaq

Beforehand: activating holiday mode

Think of it as practice. You’re training to be better campers. It’s a warmup. Obviously, when this lockdown period is behind us (and it'll be a little warmer, too), it will be time go camping for real, this time in real nature.

But for now, be patient and, above all, open-minded.

The idea is to entertain the kids, to make the teens smile, to spend time together, and to recreate a little bit of the comfort we find when we set off camping for a weekend.

To get the most out of the experience, start by adopting your most relaxed attitude, i.e. activate “holiday” mode.

Seasoned aficionados know what we’re talking about: camping has to be accompanied by a good dose humour and by letting go. It’s called being chill.

So, once in the groove, it’s adventure time.

Step 1: set up the campsite

First things first, go searching in the shed or the basement and find the gear, before identifying the best place to set it up. The living room is a prime location. If not, the basement is also suitable, or any room in the house (or of your apartment) big enough to accommodate the tent.

Once the tent is pitched (we can all agree that pegs probably aren’t necessary, all the same), it’s time to think of everything else: sleeping bags, big checkered covers, inflatable pillowcases, ground mattresses. If you’re going to sleep here tonight, it’s better to make sure you’ll be comfortable and have sweet dreams.

Tip from our team: The tent is in the shed in the backyard and the door is inaccessible because of a snowbank? Even worse, you've never camped and you don't have a tent? Don't panic. A pillow shack will do the trick.

Mathieu Lachapelle | © Sépaq
Mathieu Lachapelle | © Sépaq

Step 2: create atmosphere

Once the campsite is set up, it’s time to think about the setting. Time to go find flashlights, lanterns, candles, and strings of lights to create a warm and comforting atmosphere.

Those who are a bit more daring will play a soundtrack of birds or frogs, wind whistling in the forest, or the lovely sound of a river flowing in the mountains. The Spotify and Headspace apps offer an array of soundscapes that truly create a soothing atmosphere.

Another idea that isn’t half-bad: turning on the tv to the channel with a fireplace. The crackling of wood burning and the soft light of the flame flickering on the screen, believe it or not, is a perfect replacement for a real campfire. Well, okay, in this context, it's at least a good substitute.

Do you miraculously have a long-forgotten oil burner in a cupboard? It’s time to go get it and perfume your house with the smell of balsam fir. If not, a lemongrass-scented candle can fill the living room with a delicate aroma, while also scaring away imaginary black flies and mosquitoes.

Tip from the pros: Turn off Messenger notifications, cell phone ringtones, and computers. Forget about Netflix, put away the iPad, and sideline the PlayStation. When camping, there’s no Wi-Fi or any electronic entertainment of any kind… and it’s perfect that way.

Step 3: trotting out your summer look a little early

Now that the living room really looks like a self-respecting campground, it’s time to unveil your best summer outdoor look.

Put aside bulky winter wool sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, jeans, and long trousers. Of course, all clean and chic clothes are to be avoided. The golden rule for a proper camping look is simple: to be totally comfortable.

Put on your favourite shorts, old faded sweaters, and slippers with socks. A baseball cap worn backwards is also recommended. Straw hats are allowed.

You’re easily chilled or you're afraid of getting cold, dressed for summer, in the middle of April? Turn up the heat by one or two degrees and there you go, problem solved!

Jacinthe Hall | © Sépaq
Jacinthe Hall | © Sépaq

Step 4: create a sun-soaked menu

When the whole campsite is properly set up, you’re dressed like holidaymakers, and crickets are singing in the speakers, it’s time to prepare the chow.

Is the BBQ on the patio beckoning? Seize the day then! Make burgers or hot-dogs and eat without utensils (after you wash your hands properly for 20 seconds with soap).

You don't have a BBQ? Make fish tacos in the oven, improvised shrimp sandwiches using hotdog buns, or audacious camping poutine (in French only), proposed by the Backyard gang. The important thing, my friends, is that your chow tastes like summer.

Sides are also very important: a bowl of salt and pepper chips, honey peanuts, grilled sausages dipped generously in that famous baseball mustard, not to mention iced tea for the little ones, and a nice cold beer for those more mature.

And then, for those who are motivated and ready for the ultimate experience, the nutritionist Geneviève O’Gleman has gathered her best tips to for a true living room camping feast, right here. Please note: the sweet teeth will be delighted to see that she offers her baked version of the s'mores classics.

Step 5: Having a blast

Now that everything is in place, all you have left to do, as always when camping, is to have a blast.

Card game enthusiasts, we recommend a game of Skip-Bo. If not, UNO, Rummy, or Cribble are good choices too.

And amateur musicians, get out the guitar, ukulele, and harmonica, then warm up your vocal cords a little bit before crooning your favourite tunes in unison, under the candlelight and around the campfire (burning non-stop on the television screen).

Then, when everyone is really tired and satisfied with their day in the great outdoors in the living room, shut your eyes (and if necessary, the curtains) and gently fall asleep in your sleeping bags, to the sound of hooting owls on the playlist that you’ve listened to on loop since nightfall.
So, did we make you want to camp out in your living room?

You'll see that the real challenge is to limit yourselves to only one night. Same as when you go camping, in real nature.

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