Many people won’t even consider camping, the idea that it will be cold, wet and uncomfortable pervades their opinion so they won’t even contemplate sleeping in a tent. Maybe a school camp or time in scouts has put you off with memories of everything getting wet and muddy or being squeezed into a tiny tent with half a dozen others, now may be time to reconsider camping though.
What is really so bad about a tent anyway? They aren’t all tiny, they don’t all leak and you don’t necessarily need to put them up yourself, with glamping you can go for as much luxury as you like to the point where if it wasn’t for the canvas instead of walls you could be in a five star hotel room.
Other advantages include the space you get on a camping pitch meaning you have space to sit around outside, for kids to play and you can even take a dog along which is of course a rarity in hotels.
What is Glamping?
Glamourous camping is of course where the compound word comes from and glamping aims to give you the luxury and glamour of staying in a hotel along with the freedom and fun of being on a campsite. The great thing with a tent is it can be pitched anywhere and if you don’t mind putting up the tent you can do it anywhere and with a larger tent make it very comfortable too. Sites that provide tents already set up though can be in fantastic places such as national parks and on mountain sides letting you really get away from it all and get away quickly at the weekend or they can be at places like festivals as well making the whole experience a lot more pleasant.
Pre-erected Glamping – Imagine turning up at a campsite, maybe late in the day after traveling, you are in beautiful peaceful countryside and as you are shown to you your pitch you pass facilities such as swimming pools, a restaurant, great kids’ playground and modern toilet block; as you get to your pitch though you are shown not a bare patch of grass but a large tent and inside it is warm well lit and with a comfortable king sized bed and soild looking furniture including a wardrobe and armchairs. What you have may be as good as a luxury hotel suite let alone a room and for a fraction of the cost in beautiful settings. With no setting up to do you can relax straight away and it doesn’t matter if you stay for a night or two or a week or two.
Do it Yourself Glamping – With do it yourself glamping there is a lot more to do and you will probably want to be staying for a long weekend at least to make it worthwhile but once the tent is up it isn’t exactly hard work and with modern campsites electric and water are available right on your pitch so there won’t be any fetching and carrying. You get your own pitch with plenty of space and can choose a campsite anywhere you want including luxury sites with gyms, pools, restaurants and entertainments.
If you choose do it yourself glamping you can bring a long as much equipment as you have room for in your car, or you can borrow or hire a trailer too of course. There’s no need to choose hiking tents and ultra thin roll mats to sleep on and you can bring along all your own little home comforts.
Your bed – You can bring along an air bed and they are available in king and queen sizes too if you like to have plenty of space, you can set them up fast with an electric air pump but you may need to make sure you have a puncture repair kit on stand by just in case.
Alternatively bring a proper camp bed if sleeping on the floor doesn’t sound much fun; with various throws pillows and duvets it will look as good as any bed you’ve slept on. Unless you’re camping in the middle of winter you shouldn’t need a sleeping bag and duvets should be more comfortable
Cooking – Many large tents have separate cooking areas so if it is raining you can cook indoors with a gas hob, these are lightweight but mean you can cook anything you would on the hob at home. An ideal accompaniment though is a barbeque and with practice there is little you can’t cook in a barbeque that you could cook in an oven or under a grill: the smoky taste is great too and that goes for veggie dishes as well as meat.
If all else fails or you just don’t feel like cooking there’s always the local pub and many campsites have cafes or restaurants too.
Washing and toilets – Almost all campsites have good modern showers and toilets but if you don’t fancy trekking across a field in the middle of the night you could get a portaloo and a tent with a separate room to keep it in.
Portable wash stands with bowls for washing can be bought as well and a kettle of water on the hob can be added to cold water to get the right temperature.
Flooring – Most tents come with a plain plastic ground sheet, not very homely, if you have a rug or even some throws to brighten the place up then you can make it seem a lot more stylish and a lot more comfortable straight away.
Storage – You don’t have to rely on everything being kept in holdalls and rucksacks and rooted through every time you need something, and inevitably ending up strewn everywhere. Foldable storage units and wardrobes mean you can neatly fold or hang clothes and keep other items in specific places so you don’t spend your break scrabbling around looking for your sunglasses, keys, sun tan lotion or clean socks.
Heating – You do of course have to be careful with what heating you use in a tent but specific camping heaters as well as fan heaters left in an open area can soon warm things up: you could even bring along an oil filled radiator to plug in for something you can leave on all night without any worries. For a more light-weight option you could always pack your hot water bottle.
Other accessories – Comfy camping chairs, maybe a sun loungers and foldable tables mean you can turn the rest of your pitch into your living room while the sun shines and sit having a few drinks late into the night too. A laptop is also ideal for glamping: set it up on a table and watch a DVD or with a lot of campsites use their wi-fi to watch TV online.
Some of the tents available when you choose to go glamping to a site with pre-erected tents are just massive with half a dozen different rooms and compartments or you could choose a Safari style tent or Mongolian style yurt that is also a lot more solid and warm than a standard tent.
If you choose to do it yourself and buy or hire a tent though you can still go almost as big as you want but some things to consider are:
Height: Do you want to be able to stand up in your tent? It may be a good idea to have at least a central compartment that you can stand in to cook and for when the rain comes down and you want to stay in. The bedroom compartments of a tent though don’t really need to give standing room and will be more cozy with lower roofs, though you may need more space if using a camp bed.
If you want to though you can go for a larger tent that can be walked right through and which has a full sized bedroom. Though the use of space is less efficient, with only two people though this isn’t as much of an issue as with a large family.
Rooms: A fairly standard modern tent setup is a large central compartment for cooking and storage and then two or three bedrooms going off of it, how many rooms mainly depends on how many people you have staying, for a few couples you may need a double compartment for each while some tents have smaller compartments for kids. If you need extra space you could consider separate tents of course and some people choose a large main tent with standing room and space for tables, chairs and storage and then have smaller more cozy tents to literally just sleep in.
Ease of Pitching: The more modern the tent the easier it should be to put up, this is generally the case but also the larger the tent the more complicated it gets. Look for reviews online before buying to see what others think of the ease of use: something you just can’t tell viewing a pre erected display tent in a showroom.
Weight: Not just for the sake of your car’s springs but for the sake of your backs as well, as you will have to move the tent in and out of the car at least: consider the weight of a tent before buying it, lightweight, but large once setup, tents may cost more but be worth it.
There is no reason why with glamping you can’t enjoy as much luxury as with a hotel and some luxury glamping campsites are run more like hotels. The inside of some tents including yurts as mentioned and safari style tents are hugely impressive and while some are full board with food served in the site’s restaurant others are self catering but include a full oven, microwave and a good sized fridge.
Some sites have tents like boutique hotels with a different theme and style to each, others have luxury tents within the grounds of a five star hotel meaning you get the best of both worlds.
Still not convinced on spending a night under canvas? Sites with log cabins, chalets and caravans are another way to get close to nature without risking getting wet.
What is glamping at a festival?
Everyone should attend a major music festival at some point in their life but many people either go for a day and then leave, stay in a hotel nearby or simply don’t go because they are put off by the idea of camping in a muddy field and so miss out on the true festival experience.
With glamping though you can be right in the heart of the festival while still staying warm and comfortable throughout. Many festivals now have luxury tents setup usually in separate areas sometimes with your own toilet and often with a good solid bed.
There’s no reason why you can’t go glamping at a festival and set everything up yourself though, and save a lot in the process.
Tips for DIY Glamping at a Festival – Many festivals allow people to arrive a day early and drive on to the site, this means you can bring as much as you like and don’t have to worry about carrying everything from the car. It also means you get the pick of the spots: away from the main paths that can get boggy and away from any streams is a good idea and you don’t want to be too close to the toilets either.
Festivals are prime locations for thieves so keep valuables in your car if possible and don’t leave them on display. In case there is a lot of rain and mud you may want to have a tent with space for camp beds to keep you and your bedding off the ground.
Glamping Vs. Camping
Hardcore campers may sneer at glampers a little bit, at a festival there will always be those who have hiked or hitchhiked there with everything they need for the weekend in the one bag. If you are looking for the ultimate freedom and adventure then this kind of simple camping may appeal though, hiking from site to site and setting up within a few minutes certainly has some appeal about it compared to arriving in your car and taking hours to set up your home for the next week or two: but maybe for you it doesn’t and the time getting yourself comfy is time well spent for you in which case glamping is ideal.
Glamping is available across the UK but also now popular in Europe, North America and in exotic locations such as Africa and the Far East where the coolness of a tent compared to a hotel room is another appealing factor.