Glamping with Mary Jane Butters

April 24th, 2013 | Posted by Lackey in My Reading Life

I first heard the name Mary Jane Butters when I came across her line of glamping inspired fabric for Moda. I purchased some of the laminated red fabric to use for a placemat set for my Etsy shop. When I first listed these placemats, I sold a set within a few hours – which means the glampers are out there!

To fuel my recent interest in glamping, I went in search of my favorite source of information – books! After a cursory search for books on the Internet, I happened upon a book that looked like the perfect resource. I was in luck when I found the local library could get me Glamping with Mary Jane Butters. This book is THE manual for glampers and a feast for the eyes. It is full of gorgeous modern photographs, sepia-toned archival photos, vintage snapshots of Mary Jane’s own childhood family camping adventures from the 50s, and kitschy illustrations of fifties era glamour women captioned with clipped vintage typewriter-font advice. In the introduction to this primer, she acknowledges generations of adventuresome women by “Viewing Women’s History in 3-G – Grit, Grace and Glam”.

Butters is, herself, a brash and ballsy outdoors woman. A little reading up on her life made me feel disgustingly sedentary and docile. After many camping experiences around Utah as a child with her family of seven, she took a job after high school as a fire look-out atop a mountain in northern Idaho. I KNOW! Then she became a wilderness ranger. Then she built fences, herded cows and raised an organic market garden. Then she founded PCEI.org, a regional environmental group in 1986. Readers of her magazine and website can learn about her philosophy of simple organic living – and see her retail product line. And, then there this great book of hers.

Every bit a how-to guidebook, the table of contents includes section titles such as Trailers, Gear and Safety, and contain information as basic as it is necessary. The section titled “Gettin’ Hitched” is literally about how to hitch a trailer and includes a glossary of towing talk defining trailer tongue, hitch ball and coupler lock. In the Housekeeping section, Butters tackles everything from laundry and bathing to building a tote-able toilet seat and lid from materials available through Amazon.com. Later she gets to the fun stuff – glamping eats and entertainment – and she includes recipes and DIY patterns for setting up the perfect Glamping retreat.

Butters instituted an annual International Glamping Weekend set for June 1 and 2, 2013. Maybe I’ll round up a few of my gal pals, get out my Glamping accessories, whip up a pitcher of Happy Glampers punch and a batch of Smoked Bacon and Mustard Salad from her recipes, and host a backyard Glamping event!

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