by David Williams
Well, glamping is camping for those who want their creature comforts like at home and don’t want to pitch and strike camp. All you have to do when reaching the camp site is to walk in, as almost everything is there for you. It's camping with all of the rough edges taken off. Most glampers have to provide their own food as in self catering but some places offer to provide cooked breakfast and other meals. Many glampsites have activities lined up for campers to try including walking, canoeing, pony trekking, and mountain biking. There is also the option of being lazy and enjoying saunas, massages and spas that are offered in some places.
There are a number of different types of accommodation for glampers. Yurts, lodges, tipis, and shepherd's huts are some of the most popular. A yurt is a circular tent with a wooden door which is based on the traditional homes of Mongolian tribes. Lodges can be wooden shed like buildings but are more often very large tents similar to safari tents. Tipis are traditional tents as used by native Americans, the modern ones use fabric instead of skins. Shepherd's huts are large sheds like those used by shepherds while watching their sheep, they can be found on wheels. All of the non wheeled accommodation I have found is placed on wooden platforms to keep everything damp free.
Glamping has its green credentials. All glampers are sampling the outdoor life and are closer to nature than many urbanites have been for a long time. In many places heat and cooking is done over a wood burning stove or cooker. There's even one yurt that comes with a wood burning pizza oven. That would make a change from barbecues offered elsewhere. Lighting, when not mains, is mostly provided by solar power. Many sites use this free energy source although there is one glamping company who provide a battery and bike for pedal power generation. This could be great fun for anyone missing their gym while on holiday. Some use collected rain water for non human consumption such as toilets and showers. Many sites use the popular compost toilet providing a useful agricultural supplement.
Other sites offer more traditional microwave, dishwasher, gas cooker, fridge freezer, and in the ablutions department an en-suite with roll top bath or shower.
Well, what are you going to find in the accommodation to make it glam? Some of the refinements are better than you will have in your own homes. How about a chandelier and four poster bed in a lodge or a yurt with a 37 inch flat screen TV. Then there's under floor heating, sheepskin rugs, handmade Kyrgyzstan rugs, organic bedding, complementary hampers, and hot tubs. It really does stretch the idea of camping to another level.
There are a range of businesses offering glamping holidays including the following. Ecopod Holidays in Derbyshire's Peak District use reclaimed wood, sheep’s wool insulation in the walls of their pods and solar power lighting. A wood burner, compost toilet and recycling system add to the green experience. Jolly Days Luxury Camping from North Yorkshire is a company offering luxury. You will find four poster beds, chandeliers and sofas in large tents.
They offer the chance to make bread in a woodland oven and can provide meals. Prices are very similar to hotels of a similar level so it doesn't come cheap. What you get is quality green accommodation in an outdoors setting.
If you wish to go further afield there are glampsites all over the world. The European sites tend to be very similar to the ones here. Lodge tents are used mostly on other continents but there are also tree houses, old wagons and caravans. In Cape Town there are even caravans on top of a hotel for glamping with a view. While a glampsite on an island in Sydney Harbour would take a bit of beating for location.
There is a new and expanding part of the market called self glamping where the ideals of glamping have been matched with camping to create a market for campers who glamp in their own units. Is this a watering down of glamping or a slightly more glamorous camping? Hard to say but it is catching on as the cheaper alternative.
As a conventional camper it has been a real eye opener to see what glamping has to offer. It will appeal to a lot of people new to camping who still want life's little luxuries.