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Glamping: Who Says You Can’t Enjoy Camping?

If you knew me about ten years ago, you’d know that I had a regular subscription to Backpacker magazine, and that I loved getting away from it all, out into the great outdoors. No, really, I mean AWAY from it ALL. I preferred hiking and camping in the backcountry, and if I saw another human (other than my husband) while doing so, I was not-so-pleased. I wanted full immersion. My husband is a certified survivalist, and I found that very sexy. I sneered haughtily at car campers who needed a trailer just to bring in all their gear for a two night trip, while I carried mine for a week on my back.  I didn’t go out nearly as often as I wanted to, but when I did, I travelled light, and left no trace.

Since that time I’ve turned 40, my back isn’t so great, and I’ve somehow acquired two kids (how did that happen, anyway?) who prefer creature comforts and familiar surroundings to the adventure of the great outdoors. Hiking ten miles a day just doesn’t appeal to the little monkeys, especially the Aspie. Still, we’ve tried to school them, even if it is only camping by the creek in our back yard or a one mile hike in a local park. There’s been the occasional trip, but it is always car camping, and never far away. Because of JD’s issues, we just didn’t know how he would do. As I’ve grown older, I have decided I want a few of the creature comforts too. Suddenly, those car campers I used to laugh at don’t seem so foolish any more. I still want to get away from it all and get into the great outdoors. I still want to hike into the middle of nowhere and gaze at the majesty of creation–I just want a comfy bed to come back to at the end of the night. Somehow, a 1 1/2″ thermarest just doesn’t cut it anymore!

Enter Glamping. Now, if you’ve heard of Glamping, it is usually referred to as something uber-expensive that celebrities and the 1% can afford to do. It is, dare I say it? Trendy. (Gasp!) Even the Bieber has been caught doing it. And while I tend to not be terribly fond of anything trendy (I to this day remain adamant that I will never be a minivan mom, despite my ongoing love affair with the Honda Odyssey, just because everyone else is) this idea of “Glamping” appeals to me very strongly. I think the idea of glamorous camping isn’t all that bad, despite the celebrity trend. Glamping lies somewhere between car camping and having a luxury RV. There’s so much room for creativity in Glamping, so much room for FUN. You can rent a Glamp, or design one of your own. You can also work to make sure that your Glamping experience is also very green–by leaving little impact behind, using solar power where you can and leaving the site better than you found it. I’m currently planning a trip with my family for a week of camping up in the UP–Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I’m planning on Glamping it up–on a budget, of course! I’ve been doing a ton of research and thought I’d share with you some of the amazing Glamping images and ideas I’ve been finding. From more gourmet food than campfire hot dogs to luxurious linens, there’s a lot of great ideas to make camping a lot more enjoyable. I especially love the touches of whimsy and color that a lot of Glampers are using! Now, remember–we likely can’t replicate a Glamping experience on the Serengetti. But we can be inspired by it, right? And these images are definitely inspiring! Take a look:

A Little Campy shows us how to make gravel and root-bound camping sites a lot more comfy using inexpensive foam tiles.

 Glamping 1

The blogger at Juicy-Bits shows us how she used bohemian fabrics and colorful lights to really Glamp up the camping experience.

Glamping 7

I love this bed! Takes the average tent from somewhere to crash at the end of the day to somewhere to relax and enjoy yourself. It looks a bit like one of those trendy Japanese rooms, so precisely laid out and minimal, yet fun. I can see LittleMissSunshine loving this!

Glamping 8

Now, who wouldn’t want to hang out here? Doesn’t this look like fun?

Some laterns, pillows, rugs and colorful lights take this lovely campsite and glamp it up!

 Home Sweet Home

You can glamp up the average B.A.T. with bedding and chairs. All of the furnishings are meant for camping, but the fabrics, colors and accessories make it seem like you’re in a fantastic room, not a tent. (What’s a B.A.T. you ask? Big Azz Tent.  😀  )

Glamping: Camping in style

Now this woman is my hero. I am sooo inspired to do this every time I look at this photo of her Glamping. I don’t want to imagine what it took to lug all of those things up to their campsite, but if they’re there for a couple of weeks, it would totally be worth it. I want to buy her a drink and hang with her for a while!

And for the grand finale, a site not-to-be-missed, is how Kelly turned a totally average army-green tent into one of the coziest, warmest spots I’ve ever seen! In the middle of the desert, no less! Take a look at her full glamping transformation over on TheBeehiveCottage:


From this…

To this! Isn’t this gorgeous?!? Even the dog is too cute!


Find more Glamping ideas over on my Pinterest Camping board.


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  1. Growing up in the 70’s my mother must have been ahead of her time because this is how we camped in our airstream trailer. There were 4 children along with mom and dad. It was quite the affair when we would arrive at a campground and set up. No playing until everything was in place. Complained about that at times as a kid but sure enjoyed everything once we were set up.

  2. Thanks for your article which I really enjoyed. Gamping is definitely a type of camping that makes the outdoors accessible to families who aren’t so keen on roughing it or travelling light.

    If you want to look for further camping inspiration, and particularly cool camping and glamping, then look no further than http://www.inspiredcamping.com

    Happy camping!

  3. Great blog post! I wanted to share a new book by MaryJane Butters with you – Glamping with MaryJane. MaryJane’s comprehensive (and utterly charming!) guide for all things glamping will be released on September 1, 2012, and is available for pre-order on Amazon now.

    MaryJane’s Bed & Breakfast (http://www.maryjanesfarm.org/bb/), featuring outdoor bathtubs and wall tents decorated in her signature romantic farmgirl style, is nestled in the rolling hills of northern Idaho’s beautiful Palouse region and provides the ultimate glamping experience. It has been featured in major magazines and on television shows such as the Today Show, who billed it as “the place to be.”

    For those who want to hit the road with their trailers and tents for glamping good times, MaryJane has organized an annual event, International Glamping Weekend (http://www.internationalglampingweekend.com). I also invite you to follow us on the International Glamping Weekend Facebook page, and on our brand new Facebook page, Glampers on the Loose.

    Happy Glamping! 🙂