Glamping: Why 'glamourous camping' misses the point

By Kirrily Schwarz

Glamping is luxurious, but it misses the point of camping. Photo / Getty Images
Glamping is luxurious, but it misses the point of camping. Photo / Getty Images

Polished floors, luxurious sheets, spectacular views and all the amenities sound like a pretty good combination, right?

If you were staying at a luxury hotel, I'd have to agree, but designer facilities have escaped from their natural habitat and are taking over one of the last frontiers of travel.
In my opinion, glamping is a step too far.

Sure, it's a nice time. Lovely, even. Smiling guests. Smiling staff. Well-stocked bars and delicious food. Omnipresent wi-fi connectivity.

You might even get to see some animals up close, or maybe a pretty sunrise.
What's not to like?

My objection is to the use of the phrase "glamorous camping". It's an oxymoron.
Camping is innately a dirty activity.

There is nothing better for the soul than spending time outside. Photo / Getty Images
There is nothing better for the soul than spending time outside. Photo / Getty Images

Your hair looks like straw, flies constantly buzz in your ears, and you spend ridiculous amounts of time trying to find the perfect spot to set up the stove.

It's one of the few opportunities we have to separate from our consumerist, stressed-out lives and reconnect with nature.

It's the opposite of the hotel experience, and that's what makes it glorious.

Stripping your life back to the basics - shelter, food, sleep - lets you truly relax.

You'll forget how low your bank balance is. You won't care how bad the traffic was, that the barista burnt your coffee, or that you're having a fat day.

Text messages, work emails, and funny cat gifs won't buzz on your phone every ten seconds - in fact, they'll seem like something from a different life.

Instead, you'll appreciate little things, like finding a flat patch of grass to pitch your tent on, or stripping off your socks and dunking your blistered feet into a lake.

There's also the fact that instant noodles taste insanely good at the end of the day.
All you have to do in a day is wake up, eat, hike, eat, and rest.

There's something primal about it, really. Not hunting and gathering, but close.

If you have sleet pelting in your face, or a heavy pack on your back, you can't think about anything else. It's almost meditative, as your mind is inescapably present.

There's something very satisfying about fending for yourself outdoors. Photo / Getty Images
There's something very satisfying about fending for yourself outdoors. Photo / Getty Images

When comfort is gone, your daily routine is more about survival.

You'll do battle with nature, and carry on regardless.

It's a tremendous sense of achievement.

When you don't have artificial light sources, your body will quickly adapt to falling asleep shortly after dusk, and waking up just before dawn.

Yes, it takes a few nights to get used to sleeping on the ground, but before long you'll get eight hours of solid sleep for the first time in months.

If you're hiking, canoeing or biking - or taking a break near a beach or a river - you'll also remind yourself that you do, in fact, have muscles.

The honest burn you feel after a day of physical activity cannot even compare to the hours you spend sitting on your marshmallowy butt at work or on the couch every day.

Why even have a body if all you do is plug your brain into a computer or TV?

One thing is for sure: humans were not meant to live that way, and we're at our happiest and healthiest when both our minds and bodies are active.

One week of hiking - especially carrying a pack - and you'll notice a considerable increase in strength and stamina, with visibly more tone.

Imagine having a sunset like this all to yourself and your special someone. Photo / Getty Images
Imagine having a sunset like this all to yourself and your special someone. Photo / Getty Images

You'll have to carry your own food, so you'll choose lightweight options like rolled oats and tuna wraps, drinking water you collect along on the way.

You won't have an endless supply of junk food, sugary drinks, alcohol and snacks, and your waistline will thank you.

You'll be amazed what your body is capable of doing.

One of the best things about camping is being grateful about your normal life.

Washing your hair after a week in the bush is the single best feeling in the world. Sleeping in your own bed never felt so comfortable.

Having a fully-stocked fridge will seem amazing, and you'll marvel at the ease of boiling a kettle and making eggs on toast.

This article is not to say glamping is a bad thing, not at all.

Like everyone else, I've looked longingly at stylised photographs of the treetop tents in South Africa and desert safaris in Dubai.

As long as you're properly prepared, you can relax and let nature blow your mind. Photo / Getty Images
As long as you're properly prepared, you can relax and let nature blow your mind. Photo / Getty Images

Who doesn't like a comfy bed and tasty food, after all?

But it totally misses the point of camping.

You might sleep in a tent, and yes, you'll almost definitely go outside.

You might get to see the stars and you'll be tired from all the activities you tried.

But nothing will come close to the natural high you get from carrying everything you need on your back, surrendering yourself to the elements, and fending for yourself.

Maybe we should just call them "outdoor hotels" instead.

- news.com.au

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