Camping doesn’t necessarily mean roughing it. Glamping, aka “glamorous camping,” is continuing to win over travelers–especially those who aren’t typical outdoorsy types. Is it worth it to pay for the luxuries of a five-star hotel as opposed to a standard campground? Camping aficionado and glamping virgin Irene Moore weighs the differences of glamping vs camping.
Camping may come second nature to those of us who grew up playing in the outdoors, but for those travelers in need of modern amenities while spending time outside, glamping is an emerging trend. Recently, I took two 3-day outdoor trips: camping in Yosemite National Park and glamping in Santa Maria at Cambria Estate Winery. Which one is right for you?
There’s something to be said about getting to spend time in nature, unplugged. Often, campsites don’t come Wi-Fi-accessible, so being plugged into the outside world difficult. Not having that smartphone attached to your hip can be rewarding. Sometimes we all need to get unplugged to get back in tune with ourselves and with nature.
It’s not everyday that s’mores are on the menu at home. One of the perks of camping is being able to eat that camp friendly food that isn’t quite popular around the dinner table. Grilling out, hot chocolate and s’mores are just some of my favorites while camping
We usually camp to be outside and many campgrounds are near adventurous places. In my case it was John Muir’s living heaven, Yosemite. Being able to hike around Yosemite Valley and simply understand the beauty and dangers of planet earth was something I feel everyone should do at least once in their life time. Understandably, not everyone can make it to Yosemite but there are many other campsites close to other mountains and beaches that make being outside fun.
Change of Pace
Changing things up from the comfort of our routine can be good for us. Not having the comfort of our bed and home as well as the easy access we have to so many other things can help us appreciate what we do have.
Depending on where you stay, having potable water readily available can be a challenge. Many of us bring our own water for cooking and brushing our teeth but not enough to shower with. Many campsites nowadays are located near a communal shower but it’s not always a guarantee. So getting dirty and staying dirty is a must when you’re camping. As well, if you happened to not bring your own water, you’ll have to know the proper cleaning and filtering systems to make it safe to drink and cook with. Luckily for me, potable water was easily accessible in Yosemite Valley but I also brought my own just in case.
As in the case of so many outdoor places, we are visitors on someone else’s’ land. Stowing food away properly is a common factor to consider, especially in the Northwest where bears are prominent. Yosemite makes it very clear from the beginning that food should always be stored in bear lockers. As well, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels and other critters have become accustomed to humans and the food they bring making them less timid to approach you. This can be scary for both parties. Wild animals are not your friends.
Although I already put this in the pro category, it can also be a con. If you don’t have enough ice for a cooler and your food spoils or brought only freeze dried items, camping can be a palate nightmare. In my case, I brought a cooler and was forced to purchase fresh ice each day in Yosemite Village in order to keep items fresh. Not only can this get costly but it can be a real drag when you want to focus on having fun and not a cooling system for the food you bring.
A couple other things to consider when camping, these neither fell in my pros or cons list: you’ll have to pitch your own tent, traditionally sleep in a sleeping bag, start your own camp fire, and carry all of your own gear in and out.
Imagine you arrive to your destination and a perfectly pitched tent that looks like something from the medieval days is awaiting you. It’s large, has sturdy walls and pitched perfectly.
While glamping, tents are usually customized to be comfortable and accommodating inside. In my case, the tent was propped with a full sized bed, complete with bedding and decorative pillows as well as a down comforter. There were two bucket chairs that sat on opposite sides of the cowhide carpet laid in front of the bed.
I never had to worry about storing food or what I was going to eat. Each day food was provided by Testa Catering. Ready-made omelets in the morning, three to four course lunches in the afternoon and dinner made from the produce available at local farms. From what I understand, most glamping experiences come provided with meals–obviously not the same food as mine but it’s usually not too shabby.
My campsite, although it was smack in the middle of a vineyard, came with two separate trails, each which had running water. One for showers and the other for the restroom. They were both very clean and included small toiletries should I have forgotten anything at home.
Aside from getting to enjoy the beauty that was Santa Maria, entertainment was provided. A little folk singing by Dan Curcio around the camp fire all the while drinking Clone 4 chardonnay from Cambria wines. I was even provided with a Jeep tour of Jackson Family Wines, property that included Cambria and Byron vineyards.
Are there any? This one could be arguable, but you’re spending time out doors with all the luxuries of a nice hotel. Maybe I’m an extremist but I prefer spending time outdoors without the extra amenities.
Again, a couple other things to consider, that did not fall into my pros or cons list: While glamping I was provided with Wi-Fi. Although, I do enjoy getting unplugged it was also nice to know it was there should I want it. As well, my tent came equipped with electricity and I was able to charge my camera and computer as needed.
As I stated before, camping and being outside isn’t for everyone. Maybe a good alternative for the city kids who aren’t quite sold on the outdoors would be glamping. After reading my list of pros and cons: you be the judge, which would you rather?
Before your next camping or glamping trip, check out these resources:
- Travel Trip: Camping for First Timers
- America’s Best & Wackiest Road Trip Sites
- Know Before You Go: National Park Camping
- National Park Family Tips
Text and photos by Irene Moore for PeterGreenberg.com