It seems this is a much more controversial topic than I first realised.
On one side we have the hard-core adventurer who sees camping as the only ‘pure form” of ‘real’ outdoor sleeping. And then we have glamping enthusiasts for who love ‘designer’ tents as it satisfies their nature meets modern luxe needs.
There is no denying that glamping is introducing a whole lot more people to the beauty of the great outdoors and, as nature tourist operator who provides glamping, that can only be good.
What is it also doing, is showing us that there is a very clear experience economy choice in how you travel. Millennials lead the way telling us that experience trumps things every time and now families have cottoned on to the value of greater contentment found in nature activities.
So here is a quick summary that will help you identify if you are a camper or a glamper?
Location, Location, location More often than not glamping tents are in easily accessible parts of national parks, private properties, vineyards and wedding venues. It’s a drive up and short walk to check in. No exercise needed. Camping on the other hand is usually far away from roads, structures of any kind and more often than not involves hiking. Where you stop is where you pitch your tent and you are all alone in the wilderness.
So what about the tents? Glamping tents are put up for you, have central poles so you can stand up inside them and usually have every mod con imaginable. Real beds, side tables, solar lights, clothes racks, throw pillows, hot water bottles, mirrors…Camping means you carry your home for the night on your back – tent, pegs, poles, hammer etc. So, tents are light weight, simple, just high enough for you to sleep in and furniture is out of the question as is real beds.
How you sleep? For the most part glamping is a luxury bush experience which means someone has carried your real mattress and bed base into your tent for you. No lumps and bumps here!! In rare cases air mattresses are offered but that’s not considered real glamour camping. Add in luxury linens with high thread counts, pillows, throws, doonas, slippers and there is no reason you should not sleep as well as you do at home. Conversely campers might have a blow-up mattress but most likely a swag, sleeping bag and a jumper they have rolled up to act as a pillow. For many that is all they need to sleep like a baby.
Either way your eyes open to the sounds of birds singing, animals stirring and the wind in the trees not the buzz of your alarm clock and breakfast radio.
Showers and Loos Now this is usually a very clear indicator of how committed to the outdoors you really are. Campers dig their own bush toilets and the only water available is a river, lake, steam or the sea. Glampers on the other side of the spectrum have either public amenities or access to mobile luxury bathrooms on trailers to ensure that teeth cleaning, hot water showers and flushing toilets are just steps away from their designer tent.
Do you go off the grid? Wi-Fi or no Wi-Fi? Being really off grid means exactly that, no signal.
With camping Wi-Fi is an absolutely no no and with glamping most locations offer it, but you have a choice as bush luxury is available outside the range of Telstra, IiNet and Optus.
What’s on the Menu? This is very much down to the individual. I know some campers who can make a bush dinner to die for. Remember though you need to collect your own wood, build the fire, carry the pots, pans and food as well as do all the prep and cooking. Glampers can bring in a chef or open the boot and create a 6-course feast without any heavy lifting. And fire wood is usually on hand ready to grab when you need it as part of the set-up service.
Every aspect from where your water comes from, can you make espresso coffee? are my sheets 800 thread count and will I have power for a hair dryer is to be considered…glamping brings modern life to the bush while camping offers great rewards for those seeking personal achievement, improved fitness and survival skills.
Either way there are a lot of reasons why sleeping under the stars is on everyone bucket list from the deep sleep you get waking up in the wild to the feeling of wellbeing breathing in fresh air, the memories you create with families and friends and the joy of remembering the art of doing nothing and just being in the moment.
Get outside I say, you know you want to.