Glamping: The Insider’s Guide to Camping in Style

Tammie Dooley from Solo Road Trip.
Glamping: Camping in style

Glamping: Camp in style. Photo by Tammie Dooley.

Mention camping at a party and people bump into each other turning away with the sudden need to refresh their drink. Mention glamping, and eyebrows rise. Mention that it’s do-it-yourself, as opposed to the travel companies’ semi-permanent-dwelling-safari-type-the-circus-just-came-to-town-only-the-rich-can-afford-it version and you’ve got an audience.

Glamping is upscale camping in which a tent large enough to walk through replaces the pup tent, bedding takes the place of the sleeping bag, a nice rug covers the plastic ground floor, and campers use real barware instead of Dixie cups. In short, it’s more comfortable, civilized camping. Face it, we’re all getting older. Our fuse for tolerating the heat and bugs and lack of comfy slippers and a shower, is short(er).

Glamping is upscale camping in which a tent large enough to walk through replaces the pup tent, bedding takes the place of the sleeping bag, a nice rug covers the plastic ground floor, and campers use real barware instead of Dixie cups.

I’ve been invited on 4 all guy hiking/fishing trips – three into the Wind River Mountain Range backcountry of Wyoming and once to Canada’s Quetico (just across the border from the Boundary Waters). The first invitation was acquired after I asked (both the men and their wives). The subsequent 3 invitations were extended because I carry my own weight. And I do it pleasantly, professionally, and without so much as a whimper or whine. The combination of a 50+ lb backpack and reaching the 11,000 foot summit well ahead of the men on the first trip sealed my reputation as a chick who can hack it.

Two years ago a couple invited my husband and I to camp with them for 12 days in the remote Medicine Bow area of Wyoming (trout fishing on the North Platte River). Arriving in camp two days behind them, I spotted their camping area from the top of the hill that descends to the river. “Two people need all THAT?!” Rolling my eyes, pride swelling at the sparseness of the equipment I’d packed, my husband declared “some of us like a bit of comfort for 12 days in the wilderness – don’t ask to use Judy’s shower stall.”

Crawling from the truck after a 12 hour drive, Judy greets me before I can slap a smile on my face. “How was the drive I caught several HHHuuuGGe trout today and Steve and I just poured a cocktail what do you think of our GLAMP?!” My stony face didn’t respond quickly enough and she went on, “YOU know, our GLAMOUR camp??”

Six days later, all pride swallowed (I’ve been told I must like crow – I eat a lot of it), I shower. I long for an internet connection to order a B.A.T. (big ass tent), a queen sized bed on a stand, mesh hanging bags for convenient storage, a chair by the tent door for putting on and taking off wading boots, one of those bag chairs with a drink holder, a lantern with remote control, and yes, even a small, hanging mirror.

$600, a B.A.T., and one year later, the transformation’s complete: I’m a glamper. And when I realized how people at parties gathered around when the subject was broached, I became a vocal one. The physically demanding hike into remote backcountry with the guys? It’s still on the agenda every year or two. But it’s the now-annual glamping trip I long for. Pride goeth before the fall.

Transform Your Camp into a Glamp

In addition to the basic camping gear (see my previous series, Camping 101), here’s what you’ll need to alter your camp into a glamp.

Judy’s energy, enthusiasm, kindness to those with stony faces, and refined hostess abilities, are not required, but are a really nice add-on. Sadly, she’s not available online.

Here’s a list of Web sites that will put the glam on your camp:

About the author:

Tammie Dooley’s preferred mode of travel is on foot or by 4WD. All done solo, of course. Her blog, Solo Road Trip, is an attractively designed invitation to follow along on her journeys.

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Discussion »

  • #1Glamping Girl

    Hi Tammy,

    Great article, fab picture! You are a Glamping Girl at heart!

  • #2Peter

    What a great photo!

    We have some of those same plastic flat-pack vases you have in the picture. It’s such a great thing, not just for camping, but taking anywhere you might need it, like staying in a hospital, or for a hotel room.

    So you basically need a trailer to take all this stuff. Shame our car doesn’t have a towball :( It definitely appeals.

  • #3Tammie Dooley

    Peter, we can actually get all of ours into a Yukon, with some things on top in a carrier, and a box that attaches to the truck’s towball. But it’s much easier when we tow a small trailer. Packing’s a much more pleasant activity that way. And yes, the plastic flat-pack vases are a very nice, homey touch.

    Thanks Glamping Girl! It’s really gotten into my blood and I’m not sure if it’s just such a wonderful experience or if I’m getting older and the comforts are more appealing. Doesn’t matter — it’s a great way to go!

  • #4Lisa at Wanderlust Women

    Atta girl – only you could making life in a tent glamorous. But, I still don’t know if I’m ready for it – I like the suite life. ROFL

  • #5Jessica the hedgehog

    I love this approach and I am totally digging that picture too! My fiance and I have recently started camping together and have been enjoying it tremendously. Our tent’s rain flap/cover comes off completely so that we’re able to fall asleep looking up at the stars. It’s been brilliant, and we’re big fans of camping in the most comfortable fashion. :)

    Is this the part where I admit we haven’t gone camping further than our own yard yet? LOL! Maybe I’ll leave that bit out…. :)

  • #6Tammie Dooley

    Yep, Lisa, the suite life is good too! And you know what I say? I say, do what makes YOU happy, travel the way YOU want to travel, and camping definitely isn’t for everyone. I’ve yet to hear anyone though say they didn’t want to do the suite life. LOL

    Jessica, camping in your backyard is a great idea! The bathroom’s close by LOL. Personally, I can travel on a trip to the grocery store, so I’m definitely not the person to say you’ve got to camp in a designated camping area to be camping. Similar to what I told Lisa, if YOU say your backyard IS a designated camping area, then that’s good enough!

  • #7Jean Beasley

    Are you on Twitter?

  • #8Shelly Rivoli

    With first baby, I jumped at the excuse to upgrade from pup tent to B.A.T., which I secretly wanted since childhood. Backpacking hubby was slow to convert, but last year we met up with fam & friends on banks of river ready to make & serve margaritas. Camping the dream… ;-) Love your post.

  • #9lift surfer - the ride share guy

    Wow.. that looks awesome! Sure beats my crappy old holy tent. (and no, its not blessed by the pope)

  • #10Aaron Schubert

    Wow, that’s pretty cool. I guess it would take a long time to set up, but sure worth it. Nothing is worse than sand in the sleeping bag and all throughout your tent! You would almost need a truck to carry it all!

  • #11James L. Moore

    And I thought our river rafting trips were luxurious! But, I have to confess to getting older and the idea of bringing it all with you is not as much of a deal-breaker as it once was. I especially like the “Persian” rug touch…

  • #12Aaron Schubert

    A luxurious rafting trip? How does that work! Lots of good water proofing?


  • #13Ruth

    I love it, every bit of it, can’t wait to read all I can. Thanks

  • #14josie

    brilliant insight into an experience of a glamp camp! im musing on… do I want to try glamping?? You make me think..Go for it!!!

  • #15Shirly

    Wonderful post, I bet you really had a good time in your glamp camp experience. not many people experiences that so consider yourself lucky. :) Thanks for the tips, love it!

  • #16Pete

    Of course these days you can hire a pre-pithed tent/tipi/yurt/etc to try it out before investing all that cash. I think the secret is, whether you’re hiring or travelling independently, not to remove yourself too much from nature – after all it is still a camping trip!

  • #17Pamela Lieerman

    I have been glamping for the last few years! I love it! I have the B.A.T! I have the aero bed with head board! I have the mattress cover and use Ralph Lauren flanel sheets and duvet on a very heavy comforter along with my favorite pillows!

    I pack everything in large plastic tubs which makes things easy for packing and storing and useful for bed side tables and extra storage!

    this years purchase is a cieling fan with lamp attatched with remote!!!

    I bought a privacy shelter and shower for one trip but the winds were so high that it was not going to stand no matter what and my tent was tied to four vehicles!!! It was no fun and subsequently we left after two day!

    I wish there were some more serious glamping websights for special supplies!

    Happy glamping all!!!

  • #18Christian Rene Friborg

    Hmm, this is interesting. :) I might ask my wife and some friends to try this some time.

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