Malaysian couple camps out in style for wedding anniversary

Using a flysheet large enough to fully shield the tent from direct sunlight and even make a covered porch in the front.

When Noor Saerah Idris and Adly Hussaini go camping, other campers might drool at the “showroom quality” of their campsite.

This husband-and-wife team share a meticulousness, sense-of-orderliness and attention to detail that result in a bling-bling campsite that has become the envy of many.

And it might be because they are already professionally that way.

Noor Saerah, 48, is the academic quality officer of Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) Academic Quality Centre.

Adly, also 48, is the web administrator of all USM websites. He is also a trained outdoorsman.

During his undergraduate days at USM, he was in the Malaysian Army Reserve Officers Training Unit and made it to the rank of second lieutenant upon graduation.

Noor Saerah and Adly, camping happily.Noor Saerah and Adly, camping happily.

“I admit to maybe having a mild degree of obsessive-compulsive disorder, while my husband is trained by the military to always be organised and well-planned,” Noor Saerah said with a laugh.

For their 24th wedding anniversary, the couple packed off for the woods in a managed camp ground in Sedim, Kedah, to celebrate by setting up a special riverside campsite that bespoke luxury, tastefulness and romance.

She is so orderly that on social media, she established a serial numbering system of her public camping logs, and their wedding anniversary camp was “Camping No.: 26 (Bil. 9/2023)”, meaning it was their 26th camping trip thus far, and the ninth one of last year.

They chose a cabin air tent.

This is a somewhat recent innovation in which the tent’s frame – its poles and beams – are inflated with air.

“It’s so easy. The tent goes up in less than 10 minutes. It comes with a manual pump and you just pump till the gauge needle hits the green bar,” said Noor Saerah, adding that it had cost them about RM2,500.

The tent has an enclosed living space large enough for them to move in their stoves and dining table to cook and eat should a storm arrive.

In the tent bedroom, they chose a queen-sized airbed, which they bought online for about RM400.

After breaking camp, Adly lashes a rope across the shallow river to hold the soiled groundsheet for washing.After breaking camp, Adly lashes a rope across the shallow river to hold the soiled groundsheet for washing.

“When we first started camping, we used self-inflating foam mattresses. It turned out that when deflated, these were so bulky that when we travelled, they took up a lot of space in our car (Honda CRV).

“After reviewing other options, we discovered that a queen-sized airbed was more comfortable and when deflated, it packs into a small bundle.

“It has a built-in battery-powered air pump and you can choose how firm or soft you want your airbed to be,” Noor Saerah said.

For a touch of sophistication, their tent is an unrelieved black, and Noor Saerah said contrary to popular belief, the colour does not attract mosquitoes.

claypot chicken riceclaypot chicken rice

“Mosquitoes in camp grounds come out in the twilight, around 7.30pm to 8.30pm. During that time, always zip up your tent entrances and windows. After that time, mosquitoes in the woodlands usually disappear,” she asserted.

But she concedes that the colour black does result in a warmer tent.

“We must pitch our tent under the foliage of trees, and always remembering to study the trees for dead branches above that might fall.

“The other important thing is a large flysheet. Ours is so large that our tent is fully shielded from direct sunlight and it even creates a covered porch at the tent’s front. When you do that, your tent will be cool enough for you to even take an afternoon nap,” she said.

Spicy Korean fried chicken and quattro cheese spicy ramen.Spicy Korean fried chicken and quattro cheese spicy ramen.

Hanging beside their tent’s entrance is a rolled up, collapsible umbrella, just in case the sky opens up while they are in the tent and they need rain cover when stepping out to get something.

“My husband added the feature. He prefers to be ready for anything at camp and is in charge of the gear. I just handle the cooking,” she smiled.

For their 3D2N wedding anniversary camp, Noor Saerah only needed a large storage box and a good quality 25-litre ice box (bought during a sale for RM300) to bring everything she needed to whip up the meals.

And to add a touch of glam to celebrate 24 years of a blissful marriage, she brought along artificial potted plants, fancy cloth napkins, brass plates and bowls, serving trays, scented candles and exquisite cutlery.

Fettucinne alfredo with mushrooms, baby spinach and cherry tomatoes plus grilled chicken marinated with roasted sesame mayonnaise. Served with carbonated apple juice.Fettucinne alfredo with mushrooms, baby spinach and cherry tomatoes plus grilled chicken marinated with roasted sesame mayonnaise. Served with carbonated apple juice.

This let them enjoy their camp meals in a fine dining ambience and the menu included fettuccine in alfredo sauce served with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and baby spinach, roasted sesame and mixed herbs grilled chicken, spicy Korean fried chicken, quattro cheese spicy ramen, fried frozen popiah, sweet potato balls and more.

And they brought along their moka pot for a steady flow of rich, creamy coffee.

While at camp, Adly studied the river and realised the weather had been dry for days; the river’s level was low, the crystal clear flow exposed a sandy patch underwater with a row of rocks at just the right height to sit on in the river.

“Suddenly, he wanted to move our camp table onto the river! So I sat on the rocks with flowing water up to my hips while cooking, and it was the most relaxing and cooling camp cooking experience I ever had!” Noor Saerah said.

A few small pots of artificial plants will add homeliness and class to your campsite.A few small pots of artificial plants will add homeliness and class to your campsite.

She confessed that she never had an iota of interest in camping, though she knew her husband loved the outdoors.

During the movement control order (MCO) of the Covid-19 pandemic, she said her husband developed a deep yearning to go camping and pleaded with her to have a family camping trip when the MCO was over.

“So I said OK. But I didn’t want any normal camping trip. I want something tasteful, delightful and comfortable,” she said.

Their first-ever tent was a teepee, like the native Americans used.

This airbed is a full queen-sized bed.This airbed is a full queen-sized bed.

Their first, exploratory trip was to the Batu Ferringhi beach with their daughter, 19, and their son, 17, in September, 2021, and it was only a day-trip-cum-picnic, but with their brand new teepee.

It was a success, and the family’s backwoods skills plus their ensemble of gear have grown substantially now.

“Aim for at least a 3D2N camping trip. On your second full day there, you will really relax and fall in love with nature. Join camping groups and ask many questions,” Noor Saerah advised.

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StarExtra , Outdoors , camping


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