Some people just don’t like to camp. And yet, camping isn’t merely a popular reunion activity; it’s just plain popular. According to the 2017 North American Camping Report, 61 percent of U.S. households (that’s 75 million, if you’re counting) go camping at least occasionally.
For years, there’s been an ongoing search for a way to make camping more palatable to those who hate “roughing it.” Camping has evolved from a tent in the wilderness to a camper parked on a paved lot to an RV complete with kitchen, shower and bathroom facilities. Recently, a new trend has arisen: glamping.
What Is Glamping?
Glamping is a fairly recent concoction, both as a trend and as a word. The word comes from “glamourous camping,” and that’s also a fair description of how glamping works. Whereas camping is done in basic tents or maybe a camper, glamping is done in style. Where camping cuisine rests on hot dogs and s’mores, glamping offers a fully-stocked kitchen. And where camping toilet and shower facilities can be pretty rustic—or at least a short hike away—glamping comes with a more civilized approach to life’s necessities.
Like camping, glamping is what you make of it: for some, it’s camping in a tent with luxury linens and a basket full and Why Is It Great for of gourmet goodies; for others, the only difference between glamping and a fourstar hotel is the location. At the higher end, the line between glamping and renting a vacation home is pretty blurry, and at the lower end, glamping is camping with a cashmere sweater and Ugg boots. For the sake of argument, let’s say you choose a middle route—perhaps signing up with a glamping provider.
What might you expect?
While camping tends to have about five basic kinds of accommodation—basic tent, nicer tent, camper, RV and maybe cabin—glamping accommodations tend to be a lot more imaginative. Glamping Hub lists these varieties on their international glamping site (https://glampinghub.com/types-of-glamping/): tree houses, yurts, safari tents, tipis, RVs, domes, eco-pods, lodges, caves, barns, huts, igloos, cabins, cabooses, villas, tiny houses, towers, cottages, tented cabins and caravans. Clearly, the accommodation part of glamping is very much down to personal choice.
One of the big pluses of camping is that you can select exactly what accommodation suits you, and you can put it up wherever you want to (within reason). For some, though, this DIY-ness is the big minus of camping: who wants to go on vacation and start by building their shelter?
Once again, there’s a duality about glamping: you can do the setup yourself, or you can hire a glamping company to do it for you. In that case, expect your accommodation to be clean and the fittings to be more hotel-like than camperlike. Glamping company Under Canvas provides a king-sized bed, plush mattress and full furnishings with all their tents; some tents go a little more glam, with full bathrooms, outside wood decking and indoor star-gazing platforms.
Depending on the company you choose, your glamping experience could be anywhere you choose to set up (Under Canvas will go anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, for example); it could be in a luxury campground, near major landmarks like Yellowstone, near tourist areas like San Diego or Mendocino, or on a private ranch.
For glamping destinations worldwide—as well as more general information—check out Glamping.com.
In addition to the amenities provided inside your tent, yurt or treehouse, some glamping resorts and campgrounds offer additional, decidedly non-camping-like perks. For example, the glamping company Collective Retreats offers a range of amenities, including complimentary breakfast and snacks, s’mores round the evening campfire, a gourmet selection of hot beverages in-room, daily housekeeping, games, community Wi-Fi spaces, heating and air conditioning, and a concierge service. Other glamping resorts include activities like hiking, horsebackriding, fly fishing and yoga. Still others offer onsite dining pavilions with chef-prepared meals and a camp butler.
Some Reunion-Friendly Glamping Ideas
Clearly, glamping provides an important service to reunion groups: it offers a chance to get back to nature, but in a way that doesn’t involve taking a bath in the nearest lake.
If your reunion group has a core of diehard campers, is it possible to include glamping in your camping plans?
Absolutely, especially if you’re handling the setup yourselves. Glampers might not get the same level of pampering, and they’ll almost certainly have to do without a butler, but adopting the simpler form of glamping with an RV, actual bed with actual mattress, luxury sheets and a gourmet goodie basket will go a long way towards making camping more comfortable.
However, what if everyone in the reunion group is on board with the idea of glamping? We’ve provided quite a few resources to help you get started; how muchglam going into your glamp will depend on your group’s location and budget. For groups with a special celebration in mind, there are a lot of options.
Here are just three to get your imagination all fired up:
- Go glamping in the Adirondacks.
Stay in a log-and-canvas tent in one of America’s best-known playgrounds. Under the aegis of Posh Primitive, the focus here is on the outdoors; hire a guide to take you through this portion of Adirondack Park, go caving, or head out to local lakes and rivers to go paddling or white-water rafting. In the evening, hang out around the campfire or stoke the wood stove in your tent for a cozy night in.
- Glamp it up in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Stay at a treehouse (or two) or keep your feet on the ground at Virginia’s Primland resort. Great for families and large groups—and hosting an onsite spa— this resort gets you out in the splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but keeps things civilized with golf, cooking classes, a world-class spa and all the amenities of any good hotel.
- Visit a Montana dude ranch in style.
At The Ranch at Rock Creek, families can stay in a converted barn, complete with porch, TV, full bathroom, game table and space for socializing. Adventurous guests can spend the night in glammed-up covered wagons, while those craving luxury and solitude can reserve the 1,300-squarefoot Sweet Grass canvas cabin.
As you can see from just these three examples, you can glamp any way you want to. That makes it a perfect choice for nature- and luxury-loving reunion groups.