Camping vs Glamping


Despite its dramatic title, this article is not advertising a 12-round, win-by-knockout physical contest between camping vs glamping. Both activities are a beautiful option for family-friendly recreation. I may have a not-so-subtle bias toward the camping side of life, but that doesn’t mean that glamping isn’t awesome.

Camping vs Glamping

I better start with a pro-glamping story so I don’t come off as too aggressively pro-camping. When my girlfriend and I went to Portland in September, I proposed we find a little campsite and just hunker down for the week. That idea didn’t land so well, and our little debate on where to stay in Portland for a weekend came to a close when we found a swanky travel apartment. As it turns out, being pampered every once in a while isn’t so bad. There will always be a special place in my heart for sleeping in a thin canvas tent while giant beasts that could crush my skull in one bite are watching from nearby. That said, my Portland trip has convinced me to give glamping more chances in the future.


There’s one question with this debate we need to settle right upfront. How did “glamping” even become a term? I mean, “glamour camping”? That used to be a paradox. From the beginning of time, until 2005, there was only one kind of camping: the kind that involved a heavy mosquito presence, frustratedly trying to start a fire with nothing but matches and twigs, and a notable lack of plumbing. It used to be that camping was something that the rugged, the determined, and the strong chose to do with their vacation time. You could roll back into your office after a brutal stay in the woods and humbly accept the accolades laid upon you for your bravery in choosing to strengthen your body and mind during your one precious week away from work. Fourteen years ago, that came to an end. Because fourteen years ago, on a fateful night in the United Kingdom, an unknown person created the term “glamping,” forever redefining our perception of those who venture into the woods. 


To be clear:

This is not an attack on glampers. It is absolutely within your rights to not spend a week lying on hard earth while being chewed alive by horseflies if you don’t want to. To me, camping is heaven. The peace, solitude, and challenges to be overcome – all of it is divine. Yet for some reason, people like my girlfriend think camping is straight out of the ninth circle of hell from  Dante’s Inferno. Somehow, she prefers having a heater and a bed, safe and sound in a trailer, to freezing her butt off in a sleeping bag she lugged across six miles of rugged trail. No accounting for taste, I suppose. 

One of my girlfriend’s other complaints about camping is that it’s not romantic enough. Hey, if you’re looking for traditional romance, head to Nashville. Anyone can buy you a meal. Me? I say there’s nothing more romantic than a home-foraged meal of berries and nuts that barely sustains you through the bitter winds racking your camp every night. That’s true romance. I mean, sure, when you’re glamping you can cuddle up with your partner in the comfort of your own bed. But when you’re camping, you’ll have no choice but to snuggle in an effort to conserve body heat. If you hold each other tightly enough, you might even stop shivering!   

Camping vs Glamping

I used to believe there were only two kinds of people: the campers and the glampers. Us vs Them. What a fool I was! Not only can you be a camper and a glamper, but you should also be a camper and a glamper. That way you’re ready for every occasion. Feeling like a chill night out for some stargazing? Load up the RV, grab your telescope, and hit the road. Want to get the adrenaline rush of your life by running away from a bear? You’ll have to venture a little farther into the wild for that! 


Whether you’re a glamper or a camper, my advice to you is this: embrace it. To my fellow campers, it’s time to stop exaggerating the struggle of your latest camping trips; it turns out people aren’t as impressed as we thought. So Glampers, it’s time to stop feeling shame for not being a “real camper.” Next time someone like me hassles you for how you like to camp, just show off your fully charged phone and personal amenities and that person will be regretting every decision they’ve made that day. 

Fun fact: even though the term “glamping” is only the age of a pubescent child, the idea of comfort camping has been around since the 16th century. In the first known instance of glamping, The Scottish Earl of Atholl prepared a lavish experience in the Highlands for the visiting King James V and his mother. You might want to think about this next time you’re deciding how you want to camp with your mother.

Trippin with Tara
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