The great Nordic indoors: roughin’ it in a local IKEA

Now that we’re firmly into spring, there are no longer opportunities for winter camping and getting to experience nature while trekking around in the snow. Never fever, however, an authentic cozy feeling can be provided by glamping, camping without all the trouble. For an authentic Nordic experience, go no further than your nearest IKEA, which will provide you with all you need for a weekend of family fun, without ever even venturing outside.

The first order of business upon entering any IKEA store, no matter your purpose for being there, is to get the lay of the land. This is accomplished by a quick, exploratory walk through the store, starting at the top in the show rooms, and then winding down the pathway to lighting and home goods. After this initial journey, you should be able to identify your ideal campsite for the weekend. There are several good choices available. Many of the showrooms come fully furnished with books and clothes, making them more attractive for the forgetful packer.

The urban and adventurous camper might feel more at home downstairs amongst the stock abstract posters. For an authentic outdoorsy feel, pitching your tiny, decorative tent amongst the plants could make for a stimulating campground. Running water is deceptively not included. After all, it’s not a camping trip without roughing it a little bit! After exploring your surroundings and picking your campsite, you’re ready for a cozy evening at home, nestled into a fully furnished living space.

As your first morning in IKEA dawns, food may be the first thought on your mind. Luckily for you, IKEA comes stocked with a variety of quirky local foods, including their famous Swedish meatballs and equally famous, if not equally Swedish, rectangular pan of cinnamon buns. Serve it up family style seated at a laminate countertop on stylish Henriksdal and Råskog bar stools, or more intimately, at a Bjursta/Börje dining set.

For couples with young children really looking to capitalize on the vacation atmosphere and have some alone time, IKEA even offers childcare services. As you enter the store, simply stick your offspring in the woodland-themed ball pit and be on your merry way. For the more hands-on parent, your child could also accompany you through the showrooms to the children’s section, full of bins of soft plush toys, doll houses and elegant Minnen extendable beds, ready to grow up as your little one does.

After a thorough exploration of the showrooms, a trip to the warehouse can be exciting for the camper looking for a challenge. Cold, grey and foreboding, the warehouse is not for the faint of heart. Metal shelves tower above you, full of indistinguishable cardboard boxes that are maddeningly easy to mix up. Before you leave, make sure to pack extra sweaters and brush up on your Swedish proper nouns. Otherwise, you’ll undoubtedly lose your way in the freezing terrain. The stuff of nightmares.

As the weekend winds down and it’s time to re-enter civilization, have your last few meatballs around the coffee table and pack up your things. Campers can trail through the warehouse to the checkout area, full of last-chance sale items to impulsively bring home to loved ones. A small food shop is conveniently located close to the door, allowing campers to stock up on all of the food they enjoyed on their trip. Who knew that lingonberry and elderflower juice were so conveniently packaged in juice boxes? Perfect for souvenirs.

Camping trips are great ways for couples to really get away from it all and connect with each other. IKEA is the perfect setting for this. A trip to IKEA allows people to imagine the lives they could lead, most likely in a tiny and overpriced apartment, filled with sturdy dishware, say-something light fixtures, and furnished with pops of color. Experience the wilds of Scandinavia in a much more manageable way, and maybe pick up a nice mustard wingback while you’re at it.

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