The beauty of nature is just absolutely breathtaking sometimes. Whether it’s on the shores of a lake, on a mountainside, or in the middle of a sprawling desert, there’s a good reason that over 40 million Americans are involved in some form of camping each year.
The true definition of camping tends to vary, though. For some purists, it’s simply not “camping” if it’s anything more than a sleeping bag in a tent. For some, it’s still camping even if you’re kicked back in a luxury RV. But whether or not you think “roughing it” is a requirement, there’s no denying that “glamping” is bringing a whole new level of interest to the outdoors.
RVC Outdoor Destinations, a leading operator of high-quality outdoor vacation destinations, came up with 11 fun differences between camping and glamping. Here’s our take on their list.
Difference #1: How you actually camp.
Camping: If you’re traditional camping, you’re taking a tent to a remote location and setting up shop. You’re trying to get away from technology and civilization, to simply enjoy nature. You’re miles away from the closest store, and there’s nobody else in sight.
Glamping: When you’re glamping, you want to enjoy nature, but you don’t necessarily want to leave the comforts of home behind. You’re staying in an RV or dwelling that’s probably equipped with electricity and water, and there’s a good chance you’ve got some neighbors. Many times, you’re only a short distance away from retail stores or attractions.
Difference #2: How you sleep at night.
Camping: It’s just you, your sleeping bag, and the stars. No bed, no roof, no nightstand with a lamp.
Glamping: You’re going to be in some sort of structure, whether it’s an RV or a cabin. There’s probably a comfortable bed with sheets. You might have a window or dome that looks up to the stars, but that’s as close as you’re getting.
Difference #3: How you answer “Nature’s Call.”
Camping: Choose a tree or shrub and make sure it isn’t covered with poison ivy. There are plenty of advantages to the simple life of camping, but this is one area where civilization is welcome. Be sure to cover up what’s left behind and hope you didn’t forget to pack toilet paper!
Glamping: Choose a magazine from the rack in your RV’s bathroom or choose the cleanest stall in the campground’s bathhouse. Wash your hands with soap and water, and don’t worry about covering your tracks.
Difference #4: How you cook.
Camping: Hope you paid attention in your Scouts class because the first order of business for dinnertime is gathering some wood and getting a campfire going. Break out the portable grill grate if you’re feeling fancy, or slip some hot dogs on a hanger if you’re keeping it simple.
Glamping: You can still enjoy your roasted marshmallows over a campfire, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave behind your home-cooked meals. When it’s time for dinner, preheat the oven, turn on the stove, or figure out how many minutes you need to set on the microwave.
Difference #5: How you shower.
Camping: Sometimes camping doesn’t always allow for the luxury of a shower. You’ve probably packed some baby wipes to freshen up a little or a bottle of water to splash on your body. Of course, if you’re counting on getting really dirty, there’s the option of a pocket shower that will at least dribble some water over your head.
Glamping: Enjoying the outdoors doesn’t mean you have to smell like it. Your RV probably has a fully functional bathroom with shower, or there’s a bathhouse at your campground. If you’re at a really nice place, showering is the least of your worries as you might even have a spa!
Difference #6: How you deal with the elements.
Camping: With traditional camping, your only air conditioning is wearing light clothes and opening your tent flaps. “Turning up the heat” means cozying up to the fire, bundling up a heavy duty sleeping bag, or adding layers.
Glamping: When you’re glamping, hot or cool air is only a button press away. Your RV or the dwelling you’re staying in will have everything you need to stay comfortable.
Difference #7: How you rise and shine.
Camping: Coffee and breakfast is a crucial part of camping. Be ready to warm your coffee over the fire and cook some eggs and bacon with an iron skillet.
Glamping: If you’re brewing your coffee yourself, all you need to do is flip on the Mr. Coffee. If you don’t want the hassle of that though, your motorcoach resort probably has complimentary coffee, just like a hotel.
Difference #8: What you’re having for dinner.
Glamping: You’ll have a menu that looks just like it does at home. You will probably have a full-sized grill you can use, but more importantly, there’s a fridge stocked with food.
Difference #9: How you get your water.
Camping: You’ll get most of your water the same way your animal neighbors do: the nearby lake or stream. Of course, you’ll need to boil it to make sure it’s safe to consume (unless you use one of these).
Glamping: You’ll have a supply of clean, filtered drinking water, plus some for bathing and cooking. If you’re really glamping, there’s running water on site!
Difference #10: How you keep your supplies safe.
Camping: It’s not people you’re worried about, but the local wildlife. Keeping your food safe means hanging it from a tree or locking it in your car. You don’t need to worry about keeping valuables safe, because you didn’t even bring them.
Glamping: You keep your things safe by locking your door as you head out to the golf course. Your fridge will keep your food safe, your closet will keep your clothes safe, and your electrical outlets keep your cell phone safely charged.
Difference #11: How you deal with your neighbors.
Camping: You’ve got nosy neighbors to worry about, but they’re not of the human variety. You never know what sort of wildlife you’ll encounter, and you’ve got to understand that you’re the stranger here. As mentioned above, you’ll be keeping things safe from the local critters, and you’ll respect their environment.
Glamping: You’re usually not too worried about neighbors, because meeting new people is all part of the fun. You’ve got stories to share, equipment to show off, and meals to mingle over.