Glamping originated in Africa, decades ago, in upscale safari Camps where guests lounged inside large canvas tents adorned with king size beds, elegant beddings, Persian carpets, antique furniture, fluffy towels, and pillow misters. They experienced stunning views in all directions and spent their afternoons at high tea, while on site chefs prepared decadent meals. Guests enjoyed every imaginable luxury, in a very wild setting. Lucky for us, many such establishments still exists in Africa today.
Within the last few years, a scaled down version has been gaining popularity in the United Kingdom following glimpses of super models, Kate Moss, and Sienna Miller, wearing wellies (farm boots) and mucking through the mud toward flowered tents at campout music festivals. Pictures of the two roughing it have inspired the craze in the UK.
Slowly, the trend is crossing the Atlantic. Five star Safari-style Glamping resorts are being established in the United States and Canada, along with their hefty price tags, sometimes exceeding $1,000 a day. Little, by little, articles on Glamping are appearing in popular magazines. Blog sites are starting to debate if Glamping is truly camping and manufacturers of outdoor gear are starting to produce items such as tents with electric outlets, hand crank blenders and Lexan bar supplies.
More and more people are starting to apply the techniques of the high-end Glamping resorts to their everyday campsites, making the outdoors a little more luxurious and comfortable. Although they sometimes find themselves trying to get around the stimga of what camping "should be".
I started camping when I was in college. I signed up for some ROTC courses as they were offering a ski trip to a local ski resort. I chose to ignore the fact that I had also signed up for "field maneuvers" which included weekends in the woods learning survival techniques and military skills. I completed the semester long ROTC program, and it had introduced me to an entirely new world - The Outdoors, and I loved it.
Sans rough camo and heavy tents, after I finished college I eventually moved back to Arizona and never spent another weekend indoors, once, even living beneath the rim of the Grand Canyon for a month! Coming from a group of girls that always had matching shoes, purses and clothes; I soon discovered I felt more comfortable in the woods wearing Victoria's Secret nighties, than in sweats and a bandanna. I also discovered I loved to be clean and fresh before going to bed. That I enjoyed drinking wine from stem wear much more that drinking it out of a camp cup. I confirmed that a Eucalyptus misted pillow at bedtime was delightful despite the physical location where one might be sleeping and that wine, cheese and pate were much more palatable than freeze dried foods. Once I brought some of my friends into the mix, I discovered serving grilled shrimp, scallops, and fillet mignon accompanied by fresh salad, smashed potatoes and grilled vegetables were much better received by my co-campers than hot dogs, hamburgers and trail mix. I had discovered Glamping before I even knew that it existed!
I have Glamped in South Africa along the Tsitsikamma trail, in the middle of the rain forest of Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula, at numerous backcountry sites at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, in the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia, in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, and numerous other places.
Glamping will add comfort to your trip, and it may add a little excitement as well. One may ask my Backpacking friends who now call me "Little Black Dress Goddess" for immediately after a long backpack hike and setting up our backcountry camp site, I sneak away for a few minutes and emerge from the wilderness in a black dress, smelling wonderful, sipping wine. Or, one may ask my Grand Canyon River Guide - Beverly - who made fun of my Lexan wine glasses for two weeks, then gladly accepted one as a gift at the end of the trip. One may even ask Beverly to recall the night we experienced a heavy down poor of rain, after a week on the river. The slot canyons were running with water and we needed to relocate some of the tents. I emerged from my tent, wearing my Vicky's Secret nightie, clean shaven, and smelling wonderful. Beverly had to stop and laugh as I instantly had the assistance of every male guide.
There is nothing wrong with wearing the same hiking clothes for a week long backpack.
There is nothing wrong with cutting off the end of your toothbrush to save weight.
There is nothing wrong with drinking filtered grey water to practice Leave No Trace Ethics. (Yes, I have done all of the above) But, there is nothing more wonderful than Glamping!