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If you’ve ever spent a minute on Pinterest, you’re rolling your eyes right now. Of course I’ve heard of glamping! I’ve got six boards dedicated to fairy-light-bedecked canvas tents and glowing wood stoves in fully-furnished yurts.
Or maybe you spend your free time off-the-grid in the backcountry, where your satellite locator beacon is about as “wireless” as you get. In which case, glamping might be an enormous step up from bivvy sacks, tarp tents, and freeze-dried food pouches.
Either way, glamourous camping can either be a great introduction to roughing it, or a way to have nature at your door without having to crawl over three snoring tentmates to get to it.
Simply put, glamping is a mashup between glamour and camping. It’s getting more and more popular in the Covid-19 era since it’s a great way to avoid crowds while traveling. Besides, you also get to spend time in the great outdoors without boil-in-a-bag lasagna. In fact, some glamping resorts are as well-known for their culinary fare as they are for their settings and bespoke guest accommodations.
When you treat yourself to a glamping experience, you’re likely to stay in a semi-permanent rustic shelter, such as safari tents, an outfitter-style wall tent, or a Mongolian yurt. Or in a tipi furnished with comfortable beds, seating areas, climate control, and access to delicious meals, or at least, the appliances to create them. You won’t be looking for level places to set up camp; no scouting for dry sticks or chopping firewood; and you’ll skip stuffing oversized tents into undersized bags. Still, it’s no fancy hotel accommodation either.
For some of us, any tent with a floor panel is pretty posh; for others, only a full-size memory foam mattress, wood-fired hot tub, and stocked mini-bar will do. In the end, it all comes down to what you personally prefer.
Many glamping locations in the US and around the world take pride in minimizing their impact on the surrounding ecosystem. However, being eco-friendly doesn’t mean you have to give up on comfortable accommodation, fresh food, and good heating.
Using sustainable materials and reusable options whenever possible, glamping resorts such as eco pods and huts tend to blend in the environment, providing an experience closer to nature for the glampers as well.
From using solar panels to providing local food sourcing, some glamping sites try very hard to get as eco-friendly as possible. If you’re looking for a green glamping resort, there are plenty of eco-friendly options to choose from.
You can find luxury camping listings on all the popular vacation rental sites and apps, from Airbnb to VRBO. The best places to look for this exact type of travel are Glampinghub, Hipcamp, and RVShare.
Glampinghub offers so many different types of accommodation that it’s impossible not to find something that all your companions like. From glamping tents and luxury cabins, huts, and villas, to igloos, treehouses, caves, and bubbles – they even have private island and castle rentals!
Hipcamp has a section with “hidden gems” – rental offers that are yet to be discovered by travelers. Here you can find farms and ranches, and go glamping in some of the most rugged rentals in the United States.
If you’d like to find a charmingly restored Airstream trailer, check out RVShare. You can find rentals to take with you on the road, and plenty that are already set up in their own permanent “campsites” in the great outdoors.
As every glamping accommodation is different, always check with your host to find out what they supply and what you’ll need to bring. For a usual glamour and camping experience, all you’ll need are your personal care products (yep, biting insects don’t care how much your campsite cost) and the right outdoor clothing.
Luckily, you don’t have to pare down your packing list to what will fit on your back; usually, even the more remote rentals tend to come with gear transport services. Here are a few musts:
Most glamping rentals have spectacular views and stargazing opportunities. Cuddle up in a thick, luxuriously fluffy outer layer. Fleece jackets are usually warm, but breathable and moisture-wicking, so you’ll be comfortable in your travels.
If you’re more into sweaters, fleece clothing makes an amazing mid-layer for its ability to conserve body heat and protect your skin from the cold air on the outside.
So if you’re a veteran ultralight-light backpacker, we have great news! This is your chance to model that bulky, leather-trimmed fleece coat you cry about leaving behind on your thru-hikes.
Merino wool is softer and lighter than regular wool and has a natural ability to wick moisture away from the body. That means a Merino wool blend is one of the best materials to have next to your skin since it’s comfortable, doesn’t itch and is resistant to odor.
Base layers keep you dry and toasty on cool or damp weather hikes. Midnight trips to separate bathroom facilities will make you happy you slept in your base layers – even better if they’re made from a Merino wool blend, like W’s Valiant Bottom and Valiant™ Bottom for men.
Respectable glamorous camping rentals usually have a good heat source to offset uninsulated spaces. The heating solutions depend on the type of accommodation, which means everything from a luxury floor heating, to a traditional small wood stove or an electric heater. However, lightweight Merino wool layers can keep you warm as you lounge about on chilly nights and mornings.
And don’t forget – a good layering system is every hiker’s best friend.
Glamping resorts tend to be located as close to cute towns as they are to the trails. Therefore, always bring along pants that are comfortable, durable, water-resistant (at least a bit), and also perfectly suited to the bistro or shopping district. A perfect example is any of the pants of the Resistor™ Series for men and women. Pick one and you’ll be ready to explore both the great outdoors and the nice indoors, while also being comfortable every step of the way.
Your accommodations might have heated tile floors or genuine bear rugs, but at some point, you’ll want to go outside. Make sure your shoes or boots have the right treads for the weather and terrain. Glamping might be a great first introduction to nature – however, something as naive as flip-flops will ruin the experience in the first fifty yards down the trail.
Nothing beats the smell of a cooked meal after returning to your cozy accommodation from a long hike. Easy to make, backpacker-approved food is an excellent option for when you want to cook a quick meal without having to start a fire. Experience the campfire-like. Treat your friends and family with delicious, campfire-like meals, from breakfast to dinner, at the dining table, or on the couch while watching your favorite show.
Some glamping rentals in the US and around the world are so unique you’ll find yourself amazed and you’ll want a good camera to capture those memories. Heck, maybe a selfie stick as well! Get pics of yourself and your “glampanions” cozying up to a warm campfire. Don’t forget to perch amid sheepskin throw rugs, obscenely puffy down pillows, antique kerosene lanterns, and bed frames crafted from Rocky Mountain elk antlers.
One of the reasons glamping is so popular around the world is that everyone likes to share photos of atypical accommodations and unexpected stuff that awaits there.
Here are five glamping adventures we’ve heard live up to their social media hype. We’ve included resorts that appeal to those of you who want access to rugged outdoor experiences that let you feel you’ve really earned the posh in-camp amenities.
A darling of travel bloggers and online influencers, Asheville Glamping had to conceal the exact location of its private 15 acres to keep out the selfie-seekers, photobombers, and lookie-loos. As a result, if you pick from their treehouse, vintage travel trailers, domes, or wall tents you’ll have the peace, quiet, and luxury you deserve and close access to the Blue Ridge Mountains. As well as to the world-famous Biltmore Estate, if glamping is too plebian for your sensibilities.
If you live and breathe for kayaking, salmon fishing, wildlife photography, remote wilderness – and yes, massages! – we know a perfect place! Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge is the ultimate luxury camping experience.
Even if you are a total beginner in outdoor adventuring, you’ve got to book yourself one of these hybrid wall tent/cabin spaces built to look out over the old-growth rainforest in Clayoquot Sound. And look down upon those poor grubby outdoorsy-types who fancy themselves to be the next Les Stroud.
Under Canvas has several glamping resorts across the United States, but their tipi-inspired glamping tents are beautifully suited for the red rock backdrop of southwestern Utah. You’ll be about 20 miles from Zion National Park’s entrance. In desert terms, that’s right next door, but far enough away for comfortable solitude and wide-open night skies.
If you’re headed out to Joshua Tree National Park for rock climbing, hiking, or wildlife photography, you probably don’t want to kill the vibe in a chain hotel or motel room way over in Palm Springs.
The expansive, gorgeous, sun-bathed Grand Tipi at Camp Temenōs has a perfect review history on Hipcamp for its friendly hospitality, modern/BoHo decor, flexibility (kids and pets welcome!), and location.
Stay on one of the Lodge’s eight 30-foot yurts and enjoy gourmet meals delivered from their restaurant right to your door. Hang out on your personal deck all day, or explore Savage River State Forest. Raining out? That’s what their wine bar’s for! Savage River Lodge is already a fave for East Coasters from DC, Baltimore, and Delaware. It’s also gaining fame from across the country as a relaxing retreat.
What’s keeping you from making the leap? Has your better half been nagging you for a “real” vacation getaway? You know, the kind where the hotels actually have walls and stuff? Glamping is the perfect “meet-you-halfway” suggestion. Plus, it’s an enticing way to help them better understand your passion for the outdoors.
Worried about ruining your “purist” trail cred? Sure, your backcountry trail buddies might never let you live it down, but deep inside, they’re just envious. Invite them to go glamping together!
It may look super trendy in the photos, but at most of these resorts, you don’t need an Insta influencer’s (totally exaggerated) bank account. So, what is glamping? Just book the place you like best, get your gear packed, and start exploring!
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Featured image – White Tipi Camping, Joshua Tree, USA. Photo by Susan Yin.
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