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What Is Glamping?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 23, 2024
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The idea of roughing it during a camping trip might sound appealing if it weren't for the bugs, wild animals, sudden storms, leaking tents, smelly sleeping bags, and questionable food. For a number of people, their first camping experience often becomes their last, but there is now a camping option growing in popularity: glamorous camping, otherwise known as glamping. Organized glamping trips feature all of the exposure to the great outdoors as traditional camping trips, but the amenities found at the campsite far exceed anything most campers have ever experienced.

During a typical glamping trip, for example, the tents are often designed with bright designer colors and materials, not the olive drab canvas tents of yesteryear. These tents can be rigged for electrical power, which means occupants can operate appliances, reading lamps, and climate controls. People may sleep on full-size air mattresses, or even regular spring mattresses provided by the outfitters.


Many of these trips do involve the same types of excursions provided by traditional adventure groups, such as safaris, hiking, and river rafting, but the focus is often on the comfort of the guests. Comfortable transportation is usually provided from the campsite to the excursion and back, and guides are responsible for providing such amenities as full-course meals and laundered clothing upon a guest's return to camp. Some trips are more primitive than others, however, so guests may actually have to experience a little discomfort while glamping.

The idea appears to have been inspired by the experiences of young, rich entertainers and models at outdoor events such as open air rock concerts. Many wealthy concertgoers wondered if it might be possible to avoid the trappings of a hot tent on a muddy field just to enjoy a show or the wonders of nature. Several adventure groups saw an opportunity to cater to the needs of disillusioned campers who wanted to experience the positive aspects of camping without so many negatives.


Many companies that specialize in camping equipment and supplies have created high-end or designer gear over the years, but few campers wanted to be seen carrying brightly colored tents or packets of gourmet foods. With the growing popularity of glamping, however, many would-be campers are now buying up designer camping gear and other amenities before going on their own trips. Even those on more modest budgets are discovering it is now acceptable to bring along a few more comfort items while camping outdoors. While this may still be a niche market, it does offer people the chance to experience all of nature, not just its insects and bad weather. So don't be afraid to camp in style, there's nothing wrong with wanting some comfort after a whole day of trekking. You're probably not going to get to use your pocket knife or waterproof matches, but in the end, what matters is you had fun and enjoyed the trip.

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Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseTour, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By anon959152 — On Jul 02, 2014

To all those hating on glamping and saying, "it's not real camping", please check your historical facts.

The Mongolians are the originators of the yurt and have been making and using them for centuries. And if anyone knows anything about Mongolians, you would know they are the epitome of surviving in harsh climates with close to nothing. They were forced to create and master a technique in order to survive- which is way more "hardcore" than anything I'm sure most of y'all have done.

Leave your pop up tents at home. These people are smart enough to stay in shelters where they can survive and feel some sort of comfort. You don't have to torture yourself to be a "real camper" and to truly enjoy nature.

By anon957911 — On Jun 23, 2014

I've been a camper my whole life. It started with tents, then pop ups and I think I would love glamping now that I'm full of arthritis. For those on here being judgmental about this not being real camping, it is a nice alternative! So when you are in your 60's let me know how you feel sleeping on the ground in a tent in a sleeping bag. Nature is there when you walk out of your tent and it doesn't need to be painful in your tent to be "real."

By anon340776 — On Jul 05, 2013

Oh "real" campers, cool your jets and stop being so judgmental. No one is more human than another just because you poo in the woods as opposed to an outhouse or toilet. There is a place for all types of camping out there.

By anon298270 — On Oct 19, 2012

From reading the posts about "glamping," it seems those people should just stay home with all their amenities and leave camping to those of us who really appreciate being in the outdoors -- which is what camping is about anyway -- being out in nature without a bunch of wimps around.

By anon279894 — On Jul 15, 2012

Glamping is actually nice for people with kids.

By anon242791 — On Jan 25, 2012

If you're going to go "glamping" just stay home and leave the outdoors to us non wimps. Thanks!

By anon142067 — On Jan 12, 2011

I know it sounds crazy but me and my friends had the most amazing new year "glamping" at these luxury safari tents in Scotland. The tents are equipped with log burning stoves to keep you warm, bedrooms, a kitchen and even a bathroom inside! We had the most amazing party right off the beach, thankfully the snow had melted a bit by then but ski gear was necessary. It was a really unique experience, which i highly recommend. I think they're mostly open for summer bookings but you can check online.

By anon113050 — On Sep 22, 2010

Have you ever heard of "yurts"? Well, I just discovered them at a place called Shenandoah's Crossing in VA. Apparently they are very well designed "tents" built in the round so you can see everything (as you describe in Africa). Have real furniture, nice bedding and heat and A/C! Hmm, can't beat that! Has anyone else ever heard of a "yurt"? What is your experience with them?

By anon102982 — On Aug 10, 2010

it reminds me of the gilmore girls episode where rory is taken to a camp that's a secret society of yale and the entire camp is all white tents and a weird theme of victorian/edwardian life is in full swing. it's one of my favorite episodes and I'm a gilmore junky.

By anon56915 — On Dec 18, 2009

Gee, this sounds like the difference between an officer's hooch and an enlisted.

There's a cure for this. it's called fragging.

By anon36386 — On Jul 12, 2009

You can visit the Hobbit houses in Scotland at Sauchope caravan park. TV, heating and sleeps four.

By KunneKamper — On Jul 01, 2009

I have only been able to find a few pictures of these Glamping tents. I am very interested in seeing a picture tour of their variations. I have googled but only found a limited number of pictures

By EACanvas254 — On Nov 18, 2008

Depending on the tent design you can have your own private bath and/or shower plus toilet.

By glampinggeek — On Oct 05, 2008

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!

By anon9496 — On Mar 07, 2008

For everyone to know, my friend and I are doing a project on glamping, glamorous camping. We found that most glampgrounds do have a community bathroom so to speak. It's pretty much huge tents with furniture inside. Everyone should really look into going glamping over this next summer, 2008. It's an experience you won't regret.

By bigmetal — On Feb 19, 2008

i really enjoy camping, but i "rough it" within reason. i like to have an air mattress at the very least and some comforts. my idea of camping includes a pop up camper...but i'll put up with a tent. roughing it for the sake of roughing it is just not my idea of fun!!

By anon2263 — On Jul 05, 2007

What about private bathrooms during Glamping?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseTour, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
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