Pronounced “HUE-gah,” the Danish word “hygge” is not a place or a thing, but rather a feeling. Simply put, hygge refers to the practice of enjoying life’s simple pleasures.
These simple pleasures are threaded through Danish design and woven into the daily workings of their culture. During Denmark’s long winters, hygge is embodied in hot cups of tea, flickering candles, soft blankets, and long evenings spent enjoying conversation with good company.
With this priority to enjoy the good things in life, it’s no wonder the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world.
But hygge isn’t just for Danes and their long winters. The practice can be infused into any lifestyle and season. You can even take hygge with you on the road—simply tap into what makes you feel content, cozy and calm. After all, hygge isn’t meant to be translated, it’s meant to be felt.
Try out some of these hygge rituals to make your campsite warm and inviting.
Sip a comforting drink outside
There’s nothing more cozy that a hot, steamy beverage to warm you up. Start your morning off on the right foot at your campsite by enjoying the peaceful ritual of crafting a hot beverage. This could mean slow-brewing a mug of coffee, watching tea leaves blossom as they steep, or savoring the sweet smell of hot cocoa.
If you’re camping in the summer, cut up some fresh berries into a glass of sparkling water and sip it slowly while listening to the birds.
A major component to hygge has always been being present, long before smartphones were stealing our attention. The Danish believe the good, simple things in life must be savored and enjoyed.
So, set the phone aside for the day and take note of the sights, smells, and sounds of your campsite. Exchange stories and laughter with your camp crew without scrolling your through your Twitter feed. Or spend the afternoon by yourself getting consumed in a nurturing activity like painting, knitting, writing, or reading a good book in a hammock.
Get the lighting right
With 17 hours of darkness a day during the winter months, the Danes have mastered the art of lighting. Hygge lighting is warm, soft, and ambient.
Candles are an easy and portable item to bring to your campsite to replicate this hygee lighting. If you’re nervous about an open flame, try using warm-white LED lights instead. Light bulbs that give off a yellow light will mimic that of a candle.
Try stringing up mini fairy lights in your RV or drape bistro lights on your RV awning to create an inviting outdoor patio space.
Make something sweet
There’s nothing more soul-soothing than a warm chocolate chip cookie hot out of the oven. Hygge tradition believes in allowing yourself to enjoy the moment, without guilt.
With that concept in mind, forgo the diet for the weekend and relish the experience of biting into a freshly baked good. Danes treat themselves to traditional pastries like cinnamon rolls or tebirkes—a poppy seed croissant—but any family recipe will do.
Try cooking up a dutch baby pancake over the coals of the campfire using a cast iron skillet or a Dutch oven. Sprinkle with fresh-picked berries to give it a burst of seasonal flavor.
Invite other campers to a potluck
Have you ever sat around the campfire until the last ember burned out, consumed in conversation and storytelling? If so, you’ve experienced the sensation of hygge, which embraces community and togetherness.
On your next camping weekend, reach out to your camp neighbors and invite them to a communal dinner. Push together your picnic tables and dot the table with thick candles to set the mood. Put your phones away and let the conversation linger into the late hours.
Watch a movie outdoors
Staring at your phone is highly un-hygge, but television doesn’t have to be. Gather round friends or family and enjoy a classic film under the coziness of a thickly knitted blanket. Add warm beverages or a bowl of popcorn to complete the hygge feel.
For the ultimate hygge experience, string up a white sheet between two trees and project the film onto the “big screen,” using a projecting smartphone attachment.
If you’re looking to add more hygge elements to your RV or camper, check out our article 7 Must-Have Props to Stage Your RV in Photos.
Ready to hit the road for some rest and relaxation? Check out the Outdoorsy RVs available to rent in your area.
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