Last October, William and I went camping together for the first time at Big Bend Ranch State Park. We each had different camping experiences when we were younger, but this was our first time doing primitive camping. So we wanted to make sure we had everything we needed since we’d be basically in the middle of nowhere with zero cell service.

 We’re super excited to be going back to Big Bend Ranch very soon. So, I thought I’d bring you all along as we prep for the trip in case you decide to visit the great outdoors this spring or summer.


panoramic view of our campsite in Big Bend Ranch State Park
our campsite
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The Necessities

I’ll start with what you’ll definitely need for your trip. Then, we can talk about things that are nice to bring along, just in case. So, the necessities are:

  • a tent with stakes
  • sleeping bag or several blankets
  • lantern or flashlight
  • batteries
  • portable charger
  • first-aid kit
  • sunscreen
  • deep woods insect repellent
  • 1 gallon of water per person per day
  • a separate gallon or more of water for cleaning and misc.
  • knife
  • firewood and kindling
  • matches or other fire starter
  • cooler
  • pots, skillet, cooking utensils, and eating utensils
  • plates, bowls, cups, or mugs (depending on what you plan to eat or drink)
  • towels
  • hand sanitizer
  • toilet paper
  • a spade or small shovel (if there’s no bathroom nearby)
  • washcloths
  • toothbrush, toothpaste
  • unscented biodegradable soap
  • canned goods and easy to cook foods
  • can opener
  • tape
  • trash bags


picnic area

Nice to Have Items

These next items aren’t necessary for your trip, but they may make it more enjoyable.

  • lawn chairs
  • plastic tablecloth (if a picnic table is available at the campsite. Trust me!)
  • a small grill
  • sleeping pad
  • headlamp
  • small folding table (if a picnic table isn’t nearby)
  • hammock
  • cord or rope
  • grill rack
  • cards and board games 
  • binoculars
  • reading material
  • action camera (like a GoPro)
  • baby wipes




Something to remember when camping is that the weather can change at any time, especially when camping somewhere like Big Bend Ranch. The nights are waaay colder than the day. So try bringing multiple options such as:

  • short sleeve and long sleeve shirts
  • a sweatshirt
  • a jacket
  • socks
  • thick socks
  • pants
  • shorts
  • underwear (of course)
  • bandana or sweat band
  • sneakers
  • maybe hiking boots
  • flip flops
  • stretchy pants, like leggings or yoga pants
  • swimsuit
  • warm pajamas (a MUST)
  • rain gear
  • maybe long johns



These are all great items to have, some less necessary than others, but it’s a nice list to help you realize what you may want or need to pack for your camping trip. Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments if you have any additional suggestions.




21+ Glamping Retreat in Central Texas

We recently had the opportunity to visit the new Serana Glamping Retreat, which is a 21+ glamping experience located in Paige, TX. That’s about 30 minutes from both Bastrop and Smithville, TX, and about an hour from Austin. Here’s what went down and everything you can expect.


Little Bluestem exterior


There’s three options for accommodations, one of three kampinas (small cabins), the Little Bluestem (luxury tent), and the Big Bluestem (bigger luxury tent).

The kampinas now have full electricity and provide heat/AC, electrical outlets, etc. The Bluestems do not have electricity, but Serana provides a portable charger for you to use during your stay, and each tent has a wood burning stove for those colder nights.

We stayed in the Little Bluestem, and it was beautiful! It felt like we were in an upscale hotel. Walking up to the tent, you first arrive at the gravel patio with 2 separate sitting areas and a gas firepit. The view from both sitting areas is a pond that was breathtaking at sunset. The front of the tent has a netted enclosure. So you can leave the tent open in the day (and night if you choose) to enjoy the views of the property while keeping a bit of privacy and stopping critters from getting in. There are also 3 windows that you can zip closed if you’d like.


sitting area inside the Little Bluestem

There is a queen sized bed with a memory foam mattress (very comfortable), plush white bedding and sheets, a coat rack, just enough decor to make you feel at home, and another sitting area inside the tent, as well as the aforementioned wood burning stove. They also provide Turkish bath towels, and boy were we naïve. We thought it was an extra throw lol. Firewood is also provided for the stove, but I advise you to bring your own kindling to easier light the fire. Maybe watch a few Youtube tutorials like this one also.


wood burning stove inside the Little Bluestem


Since this is a true glamping retreat, several amenities are provided for your comfort, such as an outdoor kitchen and bath house. In the kitchen you’ll find  a refrigerator, a cooktop, sink, coffee and tea makers, cookware, dishes, flatware, a barbecue grill, and a Traeger grill.

The bath house has 2 bath stalls and a sink right outside them. There are also 2 outdoor showers with rain shower heads. Toiletries were also available in the showers.

Lastly in the communal section are a big firepit for lounging and a Quonset hut for dining. We loved the rustic yet modern look of the common areas. It really made you feel like you were having an elevated retreat experience.


the Quonset hut

Around the Property

Serana is set on a 53 acre property with 4 ponds, chickens, ducks, coming soon, an outdoor gym, and wide open spaces to roam and explore. I was literally frolicking through the fields at one point!

Serana also does something very cool. They have mobile chicken coops that they move periodically. This allows the chickens to naturally fertilize and turn the soil, resulting in beautiful, bright green grass. We unfortunately couldn’t find the ducks while we were there.

The property itself is full of photo ops, but you may get too caught up in enjoying it so much that you forget to “do it for the Gram”. All in all, this was a very enjoyable stay, and I would definitely do it again. If you’d like the best of both worlds, the great outdoors and being in town, read my previous blog post here, giving tips on things to do in downtown Bastrop.


me literally frolicking through a field
one of the four ponds on the property


Visit www.seranatx.com to book your stay and get away from it all for a few days. For even more pictures of our stay, click here to see my Instagram post. Thank you Serana Glamping Retreat for the awesome experience!