In partnership with Infinity Luxury Woven Vinyl Flooring
Words and photos by Laura Hughes
One of the perks of road travel is that it doesn’t take much to get those feelings of luxury, even with the most simple things at your disposal. But with a continually changing landscape in front of you, it can sometimes be a challenge to feel like you’re at home, even when you’ve got everything you own with you on the journey.
Fortunately, creating a sense of home with a simple outdoor living space can go a long way to helping you relax, reset, and appreciate the beauty in where you are now—not where you’ll be tomorrow.
Because we have experience with road travel, both firsthand and in listening to so many other experienced female road-trippers out there, we compiled a handful of the elements we think make for a simple but meaningful outdoor living space you can find yourself at home in:
When it comes to feeling comfortable on the road, the same rules apply as a stationary home: location, location, location. Consider how long you plan to stay in the area and what you’ll be doing while you’re there. Will you be working and need service? Are you aching for some quiet? If it’s hot out and your cooler space is limited, will you need to be close to a grocery store?
The answers to these questions might lead you to seek out a day use area, a State Park campground, dispersed camping on BLM land, or something else entirely. When you take time to think through how you’ll honestly be using your time living outdoors, you’re more likely to set yourself up for success.
The spot you pull up to might look idyllic at first sight, but take a few moments to assess what’s around you. Are there poisonous plants in the area? Animal or insect nests you don’t want to disturb? In general, how safe and at ease do you feel? It’s also a good opportunity to pick up garbage you find in the vicinity—which not only makes it more comfortable and enjoyable to create an outdoor living space, but also helps care for the public lands we regularly visit.
We know you’re not on the road to live in a sterile environment, but tracking in excessive amounts of dirt can make it harder to feel like you’re at home. Having a clean(ish) floor to spend time on outside your vehicle makes it easier to kick off your shoes, do yoga, or even just lounge at ground level.
There are a lot of different outdoor rugs and mats out there, but we recommend finding one that can be washed easily, is durable so it can stand up to rocky terrain, resists moisture so it doesn’t get moldy, and rolls up easily for travel.
We had the opportunity to try an area rug from Infinity Luxury Woven Vinyl Flooring and it meets all of these must-haves!
One of the tips we hear most often from road travelers about creating a camp spot they love, is making sure there’s shade. Without shelter from the sun, your outdoor living experience can get sweaty, squinty, and sunburned really fast. Plus, most coolers or electronic devices aren’t going to be a match for direct sunlight, so you might even be at risk for damaging your gear without some shade.
Fortunately, many ecosystems you’re bound to be traveling through are full of trees, so strategically selecting a spot with some natural sun blockage might be a simple task. In more open areas, like desert mesas and dry lake beds, you’ll need to get more creative.
Consider using a tarp, umbrella, tent shade structure, or even installing an awning on the side of your vehicle if you feel it’s the right choice. Just be sure that whatever structure you build or install can withstand a decent amount of wind!
Proper lighting is crucial for nighttime at camp, and when you want to make it feel like home, something besides a headlamp on your head can go a long way. The good news is that truly affordable options are out there to light up your outdoor living space, and most of them are easy to travel with, too!
Lights that you can hang in a variety of ways, are rechargeable or solar-charged, and are compact (even inflatable!) make for good lights when you’re out camping. It’s also important to find lights that have a red light function so that extra bugs don’t come join you at your campsite!
It’s hard to overlook that you’ll probably want some place to kick back and relax while you’re feeling at home outdoors. But just like choosing your outdoor living space, the furniture you’ll want to use there may change depending on what you plan to do.
Are you going to be working and need a desk or workspace? Are you meeting up with other people and need a table for a group meal? Are you planning to read a book and take a nap?
While outdoor furniture can be fun to shop for, taking everything with you on your road trip may be expensive or impractical, so we recommend picking 1-2 pieces of versatile outdoor furniture you’ll use often and getting creative with the rest! So if you know you’re a major hammock lover, bring the hammock. Are you a backpacker? Put your backpacking chair to good use. For the rest—make use of a good log, or a boulder pile, or possibly even a bench and table from a day use area.
We can’t overlook that home is full of the familiar. While you’re traveling, holding onto something that reminds you of home can help fill your outdoor living space with heart and comfort.
It might be sentimental, like a photo or a journal or a piece of jewelry. Maybe it’s symbolic, like a potted plant. Or perhaps it’s a routine, like a morning meditation or a phone call to a friend or family member. Either way, having something you can travel with that gives you that feeling of familiarity is what makes anywhere home.
This article was produced with support from our brand partner Infinity Luxury Woven Vinyl Flooring, who create indoor/outdoor rugs and flooring options for adventurers. The area rug featured in these images is the Prestige Almond area rug.