Glamorous camping, or "glamping" as it's now known, is a trend sweeping the outdoor industry.
And while it may fly in the face of everything traditional campers hold dear, glamping is nonetheless becoming more and more popular for Americans looking for a nature escape.
Many luxury camping sites nationwide cater to outdoor enthusiasts with expensive tastes. Accommodations can include private bathrooms, air conditioning, and even on-site spas. Tents such as those at Moab Under Canvas in Utah go for over $400 a night and provide guests with bathtubs and soft beds. Fireside Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming also boasts expansive tents with luxury linens and concierge services for over $300 a night.
It's easy to lump glampers into the stereotype of snobby, sheltered and afraid to get their hands dirty, and admittedly, some seem to fit that description. Yelp pages of various "glampsites" contain reviews that might get them laughed out of a typical campground, from complaints on the overabundance of wildlife and the cleanliness of the restroom to the absence of light sources during nighttime.
While there are plenty of tents with prices rivaling those of four star hotel rooms, many who call themselves glampers actually prefer to frequent sites that promise a relatively comfortable experience at a more modest price. Spots in some glampsites go for as low as $50 a night, and attract families looking to save on hotel costs.
For glamping enthusiasts of all budgets, their hobby is ultimately somewhat of a compromise, providing them the comfort of a hotel room combined with the remote location of a campsite. Some glampers also say it's a great introduction to camping for beginners intimidated at the prospect of lugging firewood or pitching their own tent.
With glamping, they can take in the smell of a campfire or wonder at the starry night sky, but retire to a soft bed and awake to a hot shower and a prepared breakfast.
For diehard campers, the discomforts make up as much of the experience as do the rewards. But if glamping can bring more people to respect and appreciate the outdoors, then perhaps outdoorsy people can agree that it is money well spent.
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What do you think of "glamping?" Would you ever stay in a "glampsite?"