The idea of roughing it during a camping trip might sound appealing if it weren't for the bugs, wild animals, sudden storms, leaking tents, smelly sleeping bags, and questionable food. For a number of people, their first camping experience often becomes their last, but there is now a camping option growing in popularity: glamorous camping, otherwise known as glamping. Organized glamping trips feature all of the exposure to the great outdoors as traditional camping trips, but the amenities found at the campsite far exceed anything most campers have ever experienced.
During a typical glamping trip, for example, the tents are often designed with bright designer colors and materials, not the olive drab canvas tents of yesteryear. These tents can be rigged for electrical power, which means occupants can operate appliances, reading lamps, and climate controls. People may sleep on full-size air mattresses, or even regular spring mattresses provided by the outfitters.
Many of these trips do involve the same types of excursions provided by traditional adventure groups, such as safaris, hiking, and river rafting, but the focus is often on the comfort of the guests. Comfortable transportation is usually provided from the campsite to the excursion and back, and guides are responsible for providing such amenities as full-course meals and laundered clothing upon a guest's return to camp. Some trips are more primitive than others, however, so guests may actually have to experience a little discomfort while glamping.
The idea appears to have been inspired by the experiences of young, rich entertainers and models at outdoor events such as open air rock concerts. Many wealthy concertgoers wondered if it might be possible to avoid the trappings of a hot tent on a muddy field just to enjoy a show or the wonders of nature. Several adventure groups saw an opportunity to cater to the needs of disillusioned campers who wanted to experience the positive aspects of camping without so many negatives.
Many companies that specialize in camping equipment and supplies have created high-end or designer gear over the years, but few campers wanted to be seen carrying brightly colored tents or packets of gourmet foods. With the growing popularity of glamping, however, many would-be campers are now buying up designer camping gear and other amenities before going on their own trips. Even those on more modest budgets are discovering it is now acceptable to bring along a few more comfort items while camping outdoors. While this may still be a niche market, it does offer people the chance to experience all of nature, not just its insects and bad weather.