Embrace the dark side: Go all-black with your camp for a bit of style

A full set of stoves, cooking utensils, table and chair, storage box and lighting at a camp porch with the sleeping quarters in the rear.

Adjectives used to describe the colour black often border on the bombastic: authoritative, enigmatic, fantastic, grandiloquent, mysterious, prestigious, sophisticated, thaumaturgic.

And the fashion world has no shortage of quotes celebrating the colour:

“Black is forever.” “When in doubt, go black.” “Black is not just a colour; it is a statement.”

This love for black has now spread to the world of camping.

“A camp is not just a shelter we use while enjoying nature. There can be an element of interior decoration,” said Mohd Shahril Md Said, 40, a Johor businessman who has spent thousands of ringgit amassing all-black camping gear.

“You want your camp to look good, be pleasing, special.”

Mohd Shahril has encountered campers with other design concepts.

A circle of black tents and fly sheets in a camp by the seaside in Forest City, Johor Baru. — NUR RAZI MOHAMADA circle of black tents and fly sheets in a camp by the seaside in Forest City, Johor Baru. — NUR RAZI MOHAMAD

He knows women who prefer pink, others who go for a retro look with vintage-style lamps, pots, and stoves, and some who emphasise wood and bamboo in their gear and furniture.

“I’ll admit those who choose to go all black want to be more dramatic,” he laughed.

The trend of themed camping seems to have started in countries like Korea, Japan and Taiwan, with the all-black theme being a perennial favourite.

Campers even assign grand names to their themes. Mohd Shahril calls his “Black Conspiracy”, which emphasises hi-tech, compact gear with black-coated titanium or aluminium construction and warm lighting at night.

Won’t a pitch-black tent be hot in the tropics during the day?

A camper neatly arranging all his black-themed gear outside his tent.A camper neatly arranging all his black-themed gear outside his tent.

“I get that question a lot and the answer is no. High-quality tents have many coatings designed to make them completely waterproof and even block out light and heat. So a good black tent in the open can provide protection from heat efficiently,” he explained.

As a rule of thumb, any tent from a reputable brand costing at least RM1,000 should be of sufficiently high quality.

“Budget” tents of a few hundred ringgit may need extra treatment, such as a waterproofing spray or a fly sheet tarp for greater protection against rain and sun.

Mohd Shahril said the styles of all-black campers can be divided into two preferences: tactical or glamping (a portmanteau of “glamour” and “camping”).

“Tactical gear is somewhat minimalistic and compact, almost militaristic. The glamping style stresses luxury and comfort and is popular with families.

“It is about expressing who you are. We just love making our camps stylish and pleasurable,” he said with a smile.

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StarExtra , Outdoors , camping


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