Our Pampered Wilderness
June 24, 2015 8:00 AM   Subscribe

 
That's not glamping, and I refuse to acknowledge this 'glamorous camping' nonsense. Glamping is somewhere between a bear hug and a cuddle. Just ask anyone of my small handful of very closest friends.
posted by Dysk at 8:08 AM on June 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


From the NYTimes article:
This is the worst thing to happen to public camping since poison ivy.
Oh for Pete's sake. Anything that gets people outside the city and into a state park is an unalloyed good thing. Sure, I used to be all snobbish about how to enjoy the wilderness, and I used to think that people who camp in an RV, or who use the paved hiking trails, or who bring take-out for dinner, were not real superhardcore campers like me and so were deserving of my scorn. But y'know, some people need a paved hiking trail because their footing is bad (or because they're in a wheelchair), and at least they're getting outside and sharing the outdoors with their kids, with their grandparents, and with a broad swath of humanity.

And if glamping will take people out of their pimped-out RV's and put them into a more subdued and less resource-draining luxury cabin, that's a good thing as well.
posted by math at 8:08 AM on June 24, 2015 [33 favorites]


Going beyond the clickbaity headline, the meat of the first article is really about state parks looking for revenue, with a side of income inequality.
posted by gwint at 8:09 AM on June 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


Getting out of the urban and into the wilderness (especially now that I live in New York City), is great. Nature is great, and spending time in nature is energizing in a totally different way than, say, going to central park. And while I've been on my share* of multi-day backpacking / hiking adventures, being able to back your car, complete with cooler, chair, and other heavy accessories right up to a camp site is pretty great. Throw in an infant, and you might yearn for a cabin. I know my friends did, and when they asked if that was going to be weird, no one shamed them for it.

Also: value added services that get more money into the parks department? Of course I'm for that!

*2
posted by Phredward at 8:10 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is this really even camping? I mean, can you call it that if you're not setting up or building your camp yourself? Aren't you just staying somewhere, then?
posted by Dysk at 8:14 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


My only real problem with things like this is that I tend to think it's going to attract the sort of dickholes who don't appreciate wilderness and will spoil it for those who do.

But that's probably my prejudice talking. I've certainly see plenty of total dickholes roughing it in tents and tossing their Budweiser cans out the tent flap. Dickholes gonna dickhole.

The AMC has had a hut system in place in the White Mountains for some time now and they're priced high enough to keep them out of reach of a lot of people. They do a lot of wilderness education for their guests though. Something tells me these Glamping companies aren't going to do the same.
posted by bondcliff at 8:16 AM on June 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


Glamping is somewhere between a bear hug and a cuddle.

I'd not heard of this before so looked it up, it turns out to be a fairly old world for groping around in the dark and snatching at things (ie not being able to lay hands on things, rather than the other kind of groping). OED doesn't record any other meaning.
posted by biffa at 8:16 AM on June 24, 2015


Glamping is somewhere between a bear hug and a cuddle.

You're thinking of glomping.

Anyway, anything that destigmatizes the yurt is fine by me. Oh, and makes it safer for women to do a previously male-coded activity.
posted by Mizu at 8:18 AM on June 24, 2015 [13 favorites]


Actually, this is a case of the old becoming new again. Back at the turn of the 20th century, what the author calls "glamping" was, in fact, what camping looked like for a lot of people, and there were whole industries built around the model. What we think of camping today was a concerted backlash to those models.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:19 AM on June 24, 2015 [9 favorites]


metafilter: Anyway, anything that destigmatizes the yurt is fine by me
posted by Greg Nog at 8:20 AM on June 24, 2015 [32 favorites]


Metafilter: anything that destigmatizes the yurt is fine by me
posted by theodolite at 8:21 AM on June 24, 2015 [13 favorites]


I married into an outdoors family who routinely love to go camping and are very outdoorsy (oh, Canada!).

I am...not. (Camping was not something we did when I was a kid. I grew up in the South near the coast so we always went to the beach on family vacations.) But I really intrigued by campsite offerings like these sorts of tents and cabins because I am pretty sure I can get behind that.
posted by Kitteh at 8:21 AM on June 24, 2015


And if glamping will take people out of their pimped-out RV's and put them into a more subdued and less resource-draining luxury cabin, that's a good thing as well.

For a cool 1/2 million, you could RV in style.

And, yeah, I'm with you on the idea that people should be out enjoying nature. On the other side, nature can get pretty crowded. And if you want to see something really, really, cool, you basically need to win the lottery.

I have a Roof Top Tent and a refrigerator for my truck. Even I don't really rough it anymore - but those things allow me to get further out and further away. And I love my tent. Any flattish spot I can park the truck will do - and the bed is a glorious 6'x8' and up in the air, away from the chiggers, noseeums, and flies. Even the dogs love sleeping up there.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:21 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Shit, really?
posted by theodolite at 8:22 AM on June 24, 2015 [14 favorites]




My only concerns are if glamping raises prices for everyone (like luxury condos do) and if it negatively impacts the landscape by using more resources. Otherwise it's not for me to judge whether someone's experience is "authentic" enough. That's no different than the "fake geek girl" meme.
posted by desjardins at 8:23 AM on June 24, 2015 [14 favorites]


You're thinking of glomping.

(Amongst my friends, glomping is most certainly not covered by any definition that starts with "NOT sexual")
posted by Dysk at 8:23 AM on June 24, 2015


Anti-glamping. (via waxy)
posted by Phatty Lumpkin at 8:23 AM on June 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


theodolite, this is what it feels like when two glampers bonk heads while reaching for low-hanging fruit
posted by Greg Nog at 8:24 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


ok fine but what about cold lampin' with Flavor

I'm told these Glamping companies offer "A pack of franks and a big bag of Frito-Lays" when you stay with them.
posted by bondcliff at 8:25 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Glamping" was used in the setup for one of the bar exam performance test questions I had to answer last year. I didn't realize until a few weeks later it was a real thing. The word itself is so ungainly I was sure the examiners had made it up for a laugh.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:25 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I agree with the first article author's basic objection to "glamping" sites:

"State parks belong to all of us. That glamping site? It’s my campsite, too. It also belongs to the poor kid in Spokane who’s not yet craned his neck at a hemlock taller than his apartment building. Not one fire ring should be cordoned off only for those who can pay triple-digit rates to sleep under the stars."

This trend is spreading to parks in Canada as well, with more sites set aside for RVs, yurts, and cabins, with increasing prices to go along with them. Camping in parks should not be the sole domain of the wealthy.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:27 AM on June 24, 2015 [15 favorites]


I enjoy both ultralight backpacking, and camping in my a-frame popup. I don't know if the camper counts as glamping. However, the sheets do have more than a few threads, the roof has solar panels, and there's a refrigerator that can run for a month on propane.

There's just something really fun about being off the grid, in the middle of nowhere, but have everything I need in a tiny, comfortable, portable house.
posted by Fleeno at 8:30 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


That said, when I am car camping with my family, I go for comfort. Giant canvas Woods teepee, inflatable mattresses, folding chairs, picnic table shelter, etc. When I want to rough it, I will really rough it in the back country and what I can carry on my back or in the canoe or kayak.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:30 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't need glamorous camping, but I wouldn't mind a step up from regular camping. A nice to rent so I don't have to store a moldy one somewhere in my apartment, a pad for sleeping on, a fire pit with a nice stone ring and seats around it... I just want, like, clean camping or charming camping. Charmping.
posted by maryr at 8:33 AM on June 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


I will say this - RV generators are fucking annoying to listen to and no one's tent camping experience should be ruined by them. Also, the little yappy dogs that seem to be a requirement for old people who own RVs. Also also, people who don't turn their RV porch lights off at night.
posted by desjardins at 8:33 AM on June 24, 2015 [22 favorites]


Philosophical differences aside, why would anyone ever spend $220 bucks to sleep in a shed? You know what else costs 220 bucks a night? Pretty nice hotels.

I despise camping. Paying for a fancy tent isn't going to change that, it's going to make it worse as you lose the only advantage camping has as a getaway, it's cheap.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:34 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh for Pete's sake. Anything that gets people outside the city and into a state park is an unalloyed good thing.

If you continue on in the article, the complaint is that this is claiming a corner of an already busy park and granting it VIP status; so people are already getting outside that city and into that state park, and the objection is that the hoi polloi will now have less access to it than they do already.

I'll admit, I've looked into a couple of "glamping" setups on AirBnB because there's something about the whole Victorian-explorer aesthetic where you say you're in a tent but there's a whole support system available for you to have your tea and biscuits on bone china every afternoon still. But - I've also looked into the old-school camping where it's you and a tent and a sleeping bag and the only way you can take a shower is if you have that big 6 gallon bag with the nozzle doohickey that you leave to warm up in the sun all day and then you hang in a tree. Both are cool, and both have their different appeals. And as long as expanding access to one does not limit people's access to the other, whatever their preference is, I'm good.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:44 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Camping is really popular with my friends but they all have super lightweight tents and mattress pads, high tech waterproof clothing, not even mentioning the binoculars. I can't afford to camp like that. Car camping is way cheaper for me- things don't have to be super lightweight or totally waterproof. Hell, $220 a night is cheaper than buying a GoreTex jacket or a tent.

Sure I could camp with used gear (bought using time I don't have) or get some WalMart gear (labour practices, plus is really doesn't last and it's heavy).

My point is that camping, the unglamourous sort is expensive and can be very status/brand conscious. I'm happy more people are getting outdoors and 'normal' campers might want to check if their hobby really is currently a bastion of openness.
posted by hydrobatidae at 8:47 AM on June 24, 2015 [10 favorites]


Been done. Motels. They used to stick 20-foot arrows in the ground to get your attention, and keep rattlesnakes under the cash register. You could sleep in authentic concrete teepees. You could get jackalope skulls for a reasonable price, too.

Glamping. Fine. Bring your cell phone and music apps. Ice chests. You can have breakfast in the café down the road. Don't forget to bring back lots of videos of of you standing next to a nature. Don't feed the bears, though--that hasn't changed. Car-camping is a well-established tradition, like the tail-gate party. Rock on.

Yes. It's nice to be able rent a small space in the woods, where folks with physical issues or a posse of smallish kids can go run around and smell clean dirt. That's the truth. That moment at the end of the day when sunlight shifts red before sinking into twilight is worth any number of attempts to achieve, even if it comes at you by accident. If you are lucky enough to find a campsite without streetlights you may see something else that's new.

Don't build the road to the Hut at the top of Muir Pass, though, or the bungalows at Sallie Keyes. Some views need to be accomplished, not simply seen. They are what you build your future superlatives around.
posted by mule98J at 8:49 AM on June 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


The park is also wildly popular. On almost any summer day there’s a scrum for its campsites. Yet Wanderlust Camp, which welcomes its first glampers this weekend, will occupy several campsites in a corner of the most popular campground.

This is a really good point. I camped in a popular Washington park last weekend, and we felt really lucky to get a campsite on a middling-weather Friday at 3PM. What is a reasonable number of those sought-after campsites to cordon off from the 99%? How often will the 1% fail to turn out, leaving empty glampsites that could have gone to regular people?
posted by gurple at 8:52 AM on June 24, 2015


Oh, and makes it safer for women to do a previously male-coded activity.

Wait, what? Are you saying that camping is male-coded? And that making it more luxurious somehow makes it safer for women? I genuinely do not understand that.
posted by likeatoaster at 8:53 AM on June 24, 2015 [10 favorites]


What's being described in the article-- that's not glamping to me. Glamping is three steps up from sleeping on a centimetre-thick roll of foam with your clothes in the sleeping bag sack making up the pillow.

I love glamping. That's where I take an inflatable mattress, and a real pillow, and a fold-up table and chairs so I'm not sitting on the ground. Maybe the chair has a cushion, if I'm feeling swanky. The most important part of glamping is the plastic reusable wine glasses so I can drink all the wine I bring with me. Showering is still an added bonus, but I will at least bring shampoo and soap. Probably clean underwear.
posted by tracicle at 8:54 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


The most important part of glamping is the plastic reusable wine glasses so I can drink all the wine I bring with me.

Oh, look at Ms. One Percenter here drinking wine out of GLASSES instead of lapping it outta her cupped hand like we learned in cub scouts
posted by Greg Nog at 9:04 AM on June 24, 2015 [25 favorites]


I just want, like, clean camping or charming camping.

That's the National/State/Provincial park experience, for the most part. Most of them even sell firewood and have real toilets and showers too. There are any number of private campgrounds that do the same. This is what people mean by car camping, most of the time. A (small) step up is a tent trailer.

Glamping to me sounds like folks who really want a tent or even an RV experience but are afraid to own wanting such because that's what the wrong sort do. Just like minivans are what most people need, so they buy SUVs and pickups instead.
posted by bonehead at 9:08 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Glamping is about the ridiculous unnecessary luxuries my friends and I do whenever they drag me (car) camping. I watched a friend pull out a electric toothbrush and start brushing their teeth after a long night of drinking beer by the campfire, and having small but ridiculous creature comforts have stuck with me ever since. As tracicle mentions, the travel plastic wine glass is key, but it's just the start. I've brought along a projector, projector screen, a super nintendo and a small generator for some mario kart in the woods. Or that time I air-conditioned my tent. Or when we had sashimi in the middle of the desert. And then there's the late-night dance party where everyone dresses up in silly costumes.

You've really got to put the glamor in glamping or else it's just car camping with a bigger car.
posted by fragmede at 9:14 AM on June 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


Camper vs Glamper Rap Battle (slyt)
posted by furtive at 9:16 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


So, "glamping" is Glamorous Camping, Which means staying in a four-star yurt. So yurts are "glamorous" now.

I guess I'm OK with this. My wife and I have been thinking about renting a yurt sometime soon.
posted by Cookiebastard at 9:26 AM on June 24, 2015


For car campers in Canada at least, these sorts of tents have been popular for years. They're less tents than honest-to-god pavilions, more than standing height inside, room for double or queen mattresses, two rooms to separate adults and kids sleeping areas. Couple that with a kitchen shelter and you have a mini encampment for a few hundred dollars or so. Add in the standard folding camp chairs and Coleman stove, and you've got something a family of four can use quite comfortably for a week or more in a Provincial park. This is one of my brother's family vacation every year.

It's not particularly glamorous, but it is very comfortable, and does need a pretty big campsite.
posted by bonehead at 9:27 AM on June 24, 2015


Yurts are so 2015. I sleep in hogan you've probably never heard of.
posted by dr_dank at 9:28 AM on June 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


gwint: "Going beyond the clickbaity headline, the meat of the first article is really about state parks looking for revenue"

Someone should invent "taxes."

bondcliff: " the sort of dickholes who don't appreciate wilderness and will spoil it for those who do."

Is that the group a few sites over with the guitar and the Foo Fighters songbook?
posted by rhizome at 9:30 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Someone should invent "taxes"

I'm pretty sure they exist. Unfortunately there's also a "defense industry" that has better lobbyists.
posted by bitdamaged at 9:36 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's the National/State/Provincial park experience, for the most part. Most of them even sell firewood and have real toilets and showers too. There are any number of private campgrounds that do the same. This is what people mean by car camping, most of the time. A (small) step up is a tent trailer.

Yep. Although...even if you have ready access to the flush toilets at the comfort station, you are missing out on a truly outdoorsy experience by using a pit toilet that's been dug so deep you can count at least two full "Mississippis" before you hear the splash.

Don't cheat yourself.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:47 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


bitdamaged: "I'm pretty sure they exist. Unfortunately there's also a "defense industry" that has better lobbyists."

Well duh, but it doesn't have to be that way.
posted by rhizome at 9:47 AM on June 24, 2015


Anything that gets people outside the city and into a state park is an unalloyed good thing.

Even for prisoners?
posted by Ratio at 9:51 AM on June 24, 2015


I am an occasional car camper. I did the backpacking thing as a teen, and if I want to go out into the outdoors, we will take some creature comforts with us. We have both done our time in tiny tents and foam mattresses.

It is typically just me and my wife, but we use a 10 person tent. Why? Because we want to be able to stand up in it. Plus it fits a queen size aerobed mattress very well. One that we use sheets on and sleeping bags as blankets. We want to be comfortable. I gave up on the concept of needing to suffer to enjoy the outdoors long ago.
posted by Badgermann at 9:52 AM on June 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Is that the group a few sites over with the guitar and the Foo Fighters songbook?

Hey, we also know a ton of Dave Matthews.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:59 AM on June 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah well you're ruining it.
posted by rhizome at 10:03 AM on June 24, 2015


Meanwhile, with Glastonbury approaching, yurt-related conflicts in the UK are heating up.
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:13 AM on June 24, 2015


Young people seriously underestimate how much old people will pay to have a good night's sleep. You call it glamping and I call it "mass murder prevention".
posted by srboisvert at 10:22 AM on June 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Is that the group a few sites over with the guitar and the Foo Fighters songbook?

Guitar, radio, barking dog, too-bright lantern, screaming child, loud late-night card game, orange tent, burnt bacon, way-too-big fire, NRA bumper sticker... oh who am I kidding? Basically anybody who isn't me.
posted by bondcliff at 10:24 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wait a second, didn't the Romans invent this? I mean you can't have a proper military campaign unless you have a tent with busts on the inside. Maybe that is a Hollywood fabrication, but the English definitely took it to the next level. Backpack, suitcase, steamer, or an entire chest of drawers hauled in by lackeys. And don't forget the linens!
posted by pashdown at 10:24 AM on June 24, 2015


Guitar, radio, barking dog, too-bright lantern, screaming child, loud late-night card game, orange tent, burnt bacon, way-too-big fire, NRA bumper sticker... oh who am I kidding? Basically anybody who isn't me.

You forgot fifth wheel running a generator, big enough to back up lower Manhattan, all night just so they could have the A/C on even though it's cold outside.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:28 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Welp, this isn't much of an issue for Florida, since our governor seems hell bent on using our parks for commercial interests such as cattle grazing and logging. The glamper menace seems mild in comparison.
posted by batbat at 10:41 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Young people seriously underestimate how much old people will pay to have a good night's sleep.

Car camping is also pretty essential if you want to take out younger kids. You can go minimalist with an infant, but it's a lot harder with a toddler. Of course, a tent trailer makes it even easier, but that takes a fair bit more infrastructure and is more cumbersome to drive.

On the other hand how long does it take to put a yurt?
posted by bonehead at 10:42 AM on June 24, 2015


On the other hand how long does it take to put a yurt?

If you're glamping the yurt is already set up for you. That's what you're also paying for - the hired help to actually do the hard shit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:47 AM on June 24, 2015


I guess. Wouldn't it just be cheaper (and nicer) to rent a cabin somewhere for a week?

When we want the be-in-the-woods-without-effort experience, noting beats the cottage on a lake. God knows there are enough luxury lodges around too.
posted by bonehead at 10:51 AM on June 24, 2015


Truthfully, it never occurred to me (city folk) until maybe a year or two ago that there is a thing called "car camping" (which is what I call "camping") to distinguish it from "real camping" which is apparently an entirely different activity.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:53 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


At least around here, the yurts are semi-permanent. They come down for winter. Also, lower cost and upkeep required.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:54 AM on June 24, 2015


Philosophical differences aside, why would anyone ever spend $220 bucks to sleep in a shed? You know what else costs 220 bucks a night? Pretty nice hotels.

Can't have a campfire in a nice hotel. (Well, not if you want to stay there again.)
posted by desjardins at 10:54 AM on June 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


The distinction for me is that "car camping" is about going to a park for a while, a week or a weekend, while "hiking" is about traveling a trail, and so needs to have fewer creature comforts as they all have to be on your back for 8 or so hours a day. Bike camping and canoe camping are also their own kinds of deals.

Of them all, travel by canoe is my favourite. Weight and bulk aren't as big a deal as they are when hiking, where any weight is an enemy. You can bring a big pavilion tent and air mattress and not-terrible food and still have a good day paddling.

On a bike tour, OTOH, my preferred luggage is a credit card.
posted by bonehead at 11:01 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Truthfully, it never occurred to me (city folk) until maybe a year or two ago that there is a thing called "car camping" (which is what I call "camping") to distinguish it from "real camping" which is apparently an entirely different activity.

Some of us elitist snobs use "camping" or "car camping" to mean "camping with coolers and picnic tables, the set up of which requires several trips back and forth to your car, which is nearby", and "backpacking" to mean "walking a few miles while carrying everything you need on your back."

There are "ultra light" backpackers whose goal is to carry the least amount of weight and the bare minimum of gear possible. They might bring a bivy sack instead of a tent and sleep on their empty backpacks rather than a sleeping pad.

There is also stuff like "Canoe camping" which is where you put all your shit in a canoe and paddle a ways before you camp. Canoe camping is pretty awesome because you can bring luxuries like beer or meat in a cooler.

Really, neither one is better than the other. They're all different experiences, enjoyable in their own way. Some are, of course, more risky or challenging than others.
posted by bondcliff at 11:03 AM on June 24, 2015


I guess. Wouldn't it just be cheaper (and nicer) to rent a cabin somewhere for a week?

A yurt basically is a cabin, just a little cheaper to build and a little less permanent. They rent them out at many Oregon state campgrounds alongside cabins.

My point is that camping, the unglamourous sort is expensive and can be very status/brand conscious.

Well, there are very good reasons for the expense though. The most obvious reason is that it's actually really hard to make stuff that's light enough to allow you to carry everything you need through the backcountry - it's not just a marketing/status thing, it's actually a bit of an engineering challenge, and the materials are usually fairly high-tech and expensive to reduce weight. Every ounce on your back makes your trip that much less pleasant. The best way around this is to just get comfortable not needing very much, but some people get obsessed with buying the latest and greatest (just like in every other hobby in the world). Second, the demand for these items is pretty low and it's all fairly niche, so prices stay high. If more people were into backpacking, there would probably be better middle-ground stuff available. I know it takes time to shop for used stuff, but that's totally the way to go if you can swing it - backpackinglight has some great gear swap opportunities and that's where I got a lot of my gear (though you might need to be a member these days).

Anyway, I love car camping and I love backpacking (the preferred term for backcountry hiking/camping), and I don't know why any of these activities needs to be gendered or put down or anything. People do all sorts of activities that cost money or require you to learn new skills, and most of the amazing backpackers that I know are women so the gendered aspect is a weird idea for me.

Going back to the linked articles though, what a lot of people are calling "glamping" in this thread is really just some weird conflation of RV-camping and car camping. Car camping and RV camping are not the same as "glamping":
Washington’s first glamping concessionaire, Pampered Wilderness, opened two years ago in Millersylvania State Park. The half-dozen swanky tents, bearing twee names like “Safari Suite Cabin” and “Shabby Chic Cabin,” have amenities like flat-screen TVs or microwaves and fireplaces. And throw pillows. ...

Millersylvania State Park, where glamping will set you back nearly $500 for two nights on a weekend, was bad enough. Now the state is offering glamping at the 5,579-acre Moran State Park. Set on Orcas Island, in that green puzzle of the San Juan Islands, Moran is a jewel of Washington’s parks system. You can walk beneath a canopy of Western red cedars older than our nation.

The park is also wildly popular. On almost any summer day there’s a scrum for its campsites. Yet Wanderlust Camp, which welcomes its first glampers this weekend, will occupy several campsites in a corner of the most popular campground. A reservation can cost up to $220 per night for a minimum two-night weekend stay in midsummer. Coffee delivered at your tent-flap is $9 extra.
Car camping, and even RV camping, are totally fine - but what he's describing totally sucks because it's giving rich people preferential access to public land and recreational resources that were meant to be accessible for everyone, not just people with $220 to spare.
posted by dialetheia at 11:12 AM on June 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


A yurt basically is a cabin, just a little cheaper to build and a little less permanent.

Toilets.
posted by bonehead at 11:25 AM on June 24, 2015


Toilets.

Well, the cabins rented by the Oregon state parks don't have toilets either, and it's not particularly difficult to fit a yurt with a toilet - many people live in them year-round as their primary housing - but okay.
posted by dialetheia at 11:29 AM on June 24, 2015


what he's describing totally sucks because it's giving rich people preferential access to public land and recreational resources that were meant to be accessible for everyone, not just people with $220 to spare.

The land-use impacts argument I get. I gather this is mostly about the novelty and romance of being medieval nobility for a day or two (or whatever the fantasy is: live like a Lannister!). On the other hand, high-end guided backcountry camps have been around for basically ever, though many, most involve hunting or fishing.
posted by bonehead at 11:35 AM on June 24, 2015


The aristocrats!
posted by TheLittlePrince at 11:39 AM on June 24, 2015


the fantasy is: live like a Lannister

Dear Penthouse, I never thought this would happen to me, but last week I went glamping with my twin and ...
posted by uncleozzy at 11:41 AM on June 24, 2015


Camping is really popular with my friends but they all have super lightweight tents and mattress pads, high tech waterproof clothing, not even mentioning the binoculars. I can't afford to camp like that. Car camping is way cheaper for me- things don't have to be super lightweight or totally waterproof. Hell, $220 a night is cheaper than buying a GoreTex jacket or a tent.
I've camped in Patagonia, Kilimanjaro, Japan, British Columbia, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire and never worn a jacket that cost more than $200. My REI Half-Dome 2 person tent costs $200 full retail. Yes, you have a fair point that the upfront investment cost, taken all together, can be steep, but I never tell anyone to just go all in for all of the gear at once. I started with just using a regular city backpack and buying some hiking boots to do some day hikes with friends. Then a few months or a year later, I bought a sleeping bag and a bigger backpack to go on overnights in a cabin or with friends who had a tent, or sometimes go car camping. Then a year later, I got a tent. And a year after that, I bought my own stove. And then I went on solo trips. In between -- save money, sign up for mailings, buy things during Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day and various end of season sales.

Then once I had all of my gear, every camping trip after that was essentially free (maybe $5 or $15 park fee in some places, but that's it) Compare that with $200 for every night that you're glamping? That's like renting furniture for years when you can just buy it after saving for 10 months. The boots that I started with finally wore out, so I have to spend money on gear again, but it's literally the first piece of gear that I've had to purchase in four years, and those boots seemed expensive at $150, but they lasted 11 years.

I'm all for creating different options to make the wilderness accessible, and making it possible for urbanites to enjoy the outdoors in the level of comfort that they may want to choose; but for anyone who does plan to go outdoors on at least an annual basis for at least 10 years, the affordable option is to buy your own gear over time.
posted by bl1nk at 11:42 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love backpacking (the preferred term for backcountry hiking/camping)

Interesting. Backpacking in Canada at least often means the things students do in a gap year or in a summer in Europe or Australia. Sure it's used, but many folks will call it hiking or just camping ("We're hiking the west coast trail this summer" or "we're going camping in Algonquin park").
posted by bonehead at 11:45 AM on June 24, 2015


I'm smelling a PR push. Pampered Wilderness appears to be getting a sweetheart deal, here is an article describing their "win-win" proposal that likely pencil's out to <$5000/yr for the company to rent space in the Tenino City Park, which already allows tent and RV camping.

Information about the deal with Millersylvania is curiously absent from the Internet.
posted by rhizome at 11:47 AM on June 24, 2015


Cheap gear===gearswaps. Does REI do those? It's one of the core things MEC has always done from their founding as an outgrowth of the UBC mountaineering club.
posted by bonehead at 11:48 AM on June 24, 2015


While visiting my brother in New Zealand, I was *amazed* that you don't bring a tent when going on one of their great walks - they have 'huts' (dormitories) set up for you to sleep in. That's like the most awesome thing ever on a multi-day hike. And they were really quite nice huts.
posted by combinatorial explosion at 11:57 AM on June 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


...and to complete my thought. Having facilities like that in the US would, I think, be good - it would encourage people to get out and experience nature, and hopefully minimize their environmental impact while doing so.
posted by combinatorial explosion at 11:58 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Good lord, I just checked and *they have gas for cooking* (well, not in the off season, but still).
posted by combinatorial explosion at 11:59 AM on June 24, 2015


However you get people to remember the Earth, works for me. I bought a Westfalia years ago. I decked it out from Sarge's Army Surplus in Bakersfield, and some other places. Even now I am amazed at how well I prepared it. I always have a swimsuit with me, coats, extras, everything. I used to keep coffee and sugar in there year 'round. Camping, glamping, however you can pull it off, is good. Get out of the ubiquitous hum. Find a stream that awakens you with its laughter in the night.

I do hate generators, and hogans are hard to pack up and take home.
posted by Oyéah at 12:02 PM on June 24, 2015


The AMC hut system in the Whites is similar to what you're describing, combinatorial explosion, but they're usually costing something like $100+ per person, per night. One aspect that I do appreciate about these back country lodgings that are frequently built by some kind of mountaineering or nature club and as a result, they've been great for bringing city people into the outdoors without just extending the city into the backcountry. Having huts with electricity powered by solar arrays and hot showers that get thei water from a nearby, sustainable water source. Having a facility that requires someone to run additional electric cables and sewer lines into the backcountry would be terrible.

Basically, I'd want an outfitter to be a nature/conservation-minded organization first, who builds facilities in the back country to make it more accessible to the public. I'm more skeptical of a hotel organization that looks at yurts and glamping as a novel way to go after a consumer's weekend recreation dollars, and will just pressure state parks into bringing more lights, more electricity, and more noise into a place that was beautiful without all of that.
posted by bl1nk at 12:50 PM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think this is actually the best working-definition of "glamping" that I could find, to distinguish it from car-camping or RVing -

"Glamping is a term derived from the two words “glamourous camping”. Glamping brings the world of luxury into nature in the most seamless way possible. Imagine the visiting a remote island while you sit on the balcony of your luxurious treehouse overlooking a tropical jungle as far as the eye can see. Or imagine watching the sun set over the calming sounds of the river outside your 5-star canvas tent while staff prepares an upscale private dinner to be delivered to your doorstep. Or maybe teatime in the African Serengeti while you watch elephants grazing in the distance."

Someone upthread asked "why not just rent a cabin in the woods", and the answer is, a cabin isn't fancy-ass enough. If it were a cabin where there a cleaning staff came in and changed your Egyptian Cotton Sheets and stocked the humidor while you were out riding your horse, and then there was a team ready to take your order to customize your S'mores with a specific kind of artisinal chocolate upon request, then you'd have glamping. It's like the Great Camps of the robber barons in the Gilded Age, where it's like if you took all the furnishings of a 5-star hotel room and airlifted them into a state-of-the-art tent in the most picturesque part of the wilderness.

And, again, there's a certain kind of romantic appeal to that where you can pretend that you're a Victorian adventurer. But there's a biiiiiig difference between that and any other kind of camping.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:05 PM on June 24, 2015


fwiw, the safari parks of Africa have lodges that continue to provide this sort of comfort, and have long done so before 'glamping' was a thing. Sleep in a canvas tent with electricity, a flush toilet and hot showers. Wake to a patio where you can watch elephants grazing across the savannah; while sipping an orange juice out of a glass with ice in it. Walk down to a nearby swimming pool with a bar where you can write letters home while sipping an Gin'n'Tonic while listening to lions stake out their territories while roaring out over a valley.

That isn't car camping. That's a hotel with bungalows pretending to be tents; and it requires an infrastructure footprint for staff, food, and electricity that would very quickly transform state parks if they were to establish a permanent presence in such places.
posted by bl1nk at 2:18 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


We always had a different definition of "glamping":

* Clean showers with hot water
* Flat pad where you don't step out onto mud
* Three or more bars of LTE
* Do not have to empty the black water tank today
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:19 PM on June 24, 2015


Glamping at the least should require gold lame pants.
posted by bonehead at 2:34 PM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


You're thinking of glomping.

Glomping usually involves a leap, though. At least that's how I'm used to hearing it.

While a lot of this is ridiculous, I think the combination of nice ammenities/some camping stuff could be really fun and nice. I really, really love the look of being in buildings made of canvas; I would probably love being in someplace with good enough weather to be able to just live in one of these tent-esque things all the time. I have no idea how I'd do regular car camping; I'm not great at sleeping in weird situations or with noise and I have to use a CPAP on top of that, so that kind of thing isn't really for me anyway.
posted by NoraReed at 2:42 PM on June 24, 2015


Ok. For those who are still unsure of what glamping is but have Netflix, I can find a perfect display of it for you. Start by booting up ye olde Netflixe. Now go to the search and look up 'Clifford'. Watch Season 2 episode 11 part 2 "Camping it up" where everyone goes camping and Jetta somehow manages to bring a TV and a blender with her - missing the point of camping. Yes, glamping is what the foil in a PBS Kids show does so that everyone learns not to behave like that.

Alternatively, rent Troop Beverly Hills, which Rotten Tomatoes critics panned at 8%.

If that still doesn't work, rent Spaceballs. When the princess arives on the planet and Barf is carrying massive suitcases across the desert, which include a solid gold gigantic hairdryer, pretend you were camping with her...

I hope this clears up the confusion of what glamping is, or at least helps some of you realize that if you haven't had your porter carry a laminate parque floor on which you will be setting up your tent right after your personal sommelier sets up the wine and cheese bar - you haven't truly been glamping.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:43 PM on June 24, 2015


Lately I've been using the Alpine Club of Canada network of huts. For the cost of a campsite you get a roof, kitchen and pad in a remote area, so all I need to bring is a sleeping bag, food and clothes. They are out of the way enough to keep the tourist riff-raff away, but be sure to bring ear plugs as all it takes is one snoring guest to ruin the night.
posted by furtive at 4:26 PM on June 24, 2015


I just came back from a backpacking trip this weekend, so this post and set of comments is very timely and interesting to me. By backpacking, I mean the kind where we drove out to a trail head, loaded everything into our packs, and carried it the whole way through--tent, inflatable sleeping pads, sleeping bags; filtering our own water and re-hydrating dehydrated food; digging a hole to poop in. I grew up with parents who were never into camping, so my first camping experience was actually freshman year of college, where I went backpacking in the snow at Mt. Washington with friends. I carried a big borrowed pack, used a mummy sleeping bag for the first time, ate Minute Rice and beans, and we all slept in a lean-to with one side totally open to the cold after trudging halfway up the mountain with YakTrax on our feet. I was very reluctant to ever go camping again, but when I moved out to California and landed in a friend group that was very into it, I did try again. Backpacking got way better when I got my own gear that fit instead of borrowing from 6-foot-tall dudes, and now I'm very comfortable with it and enjoy it. It also helps to sleep in a tent in temperatures that are above freezing; who knew!

To me, because I did backpacking first, car camping is already ultra-luxurious. My first time car camping, we stopped at the grocery store, loaded up with tons of food--candy! an entire loaf of bread and sandwich fixings! fresh vegetables!--and for dinner we had fresh-cooked chili in a pot. I mean, pots are heavy! We slept in a borrowed, palatial four-person tent that weighs 10 lbs and that my 5'10" friend could stand up in. To see the sights, all I had to bring was water, snacks, and a sweater in my small everyday backpack. It got even crazier when I went on a trip to Yosemite with some different friends and we stayed in Curry Village. They have hot showers, a mess hall where you can buy food, a pizza restaurant, and linen service that gives you clean towels and sheets for your bed. And heated canvas tents! It's not exactly cheap, but damn was it nice.

Anyway, to distill these thoughts into something coherent--there's a time and place for different levels of roughing it, like lots of people have said already. I like both ends of the spectrum, but I'd hate to see parks funding dry up because less well-off people can no longer afford to care about it, or regular car-camping campsites get converted into luxury spots that take away from already crowded places. Camping is great in that once you have the gear (or can borrow it), it's just cost of gas and park fees and you get to experience some gorgeous scenery, fresh air, and trails to hike on. I love being able to turn off my phone for a weekend and read books and talk to my friends, with food that magically tastes way better than it should because you've been outside all day. I don't begrudge anyone a comfortable chair or mattress, but I think I'd draw the line at flat-screen tvs and humming generators. At a certain point it's just infringing on other people's desire to get away from the noise that comes with everyday life.
posted by j.r at 4:35 PM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


And another lovely example of class privilege, ableism, racism and sexism masquerading as morality tales. Both from the pay-for-more side (undisciplined sybarites despoiling the wilderness!) AND the sneering judgement of those who can't afford/physically endure expensive, single-purpose equipment minimalism, or those who are not safe alone in an alien landscape.

Some people want an old fleece blanket and food out of a can (or MRE), some 4-star lodges/platform tents, some the latest titanium-plated neon-colored petrochemically-based status camping gear, some sleep in the car and eat leftovers from the diner.

And we still aren't talking about the people who make their living serving the wilderness visitors (and their city toys and vehicles). The ones we think of as hicks, trailer trash, ignorant rural denizens. Why don't we ask them about the "right" way to experience "nature", out there beyond the city limits? I bet they have opinions about how best to enjoy the exotic, remote places. People who live there do notice how beautiful it is, you know.

And for the record - I have an off-road capable but battered VW Westfalia for my outdoorsy (wilderness or urban) needs. My sleeping-on-the-ground/one-pot cooking/inescapable-rain-and-cold days are over.
posted by Dreidl at 8:32 PM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


And another lovely example of class privilege, ableism, racism and sexism masquerading as morality tales.

Can you explain where you see that? I just see a bunch of people who are excited about camping and want to continue to be able to enjoy it on the public land they pay for. Honestly I'm not sure where a lot of the combativeness in your comment is coming from, especially the stuff about people who live in rural areas, which hasn't even been mentioned here as far as I can tell.
posted by dialetheia at 8:40 PM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I mean, I can see how it would seem ableist if most campgrounds weren't already about as accessible as any of these "glamping" spots are. But there are tons of state campgrounds that have fully accessible RV camping, and even many with fully electrified sites with accessible shelters for completely affordable prices, at least where I live. It's not like there are no options beyond these private concessionaires being allowed to profit on public land.

If lots of other places don't have accessible options like that, that's a shame and I would absolutely be in favor of installing tons of accessible camping with public recreation money - it would be a great stimulus program (and most of the campgrounds where I grew up were built by the WPA anyway!). I just don't think that having 50' bigscreen TVs running on generators on public land for private profit is a helpful or viable model to address those concerns.
posted by dialetheia at 8:52 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of my points is the FPP/OPs are from the POV of the tourists and critiques of only their consumer options. No mention of the people who live/work in there, or the festival entertainers that tourists are glamping to experience, at all. I am sure, having been a hospitality and entertainment worker as well as tourist myself, that there would have been interesting comments from the workers about glamping vs.other tourist styles and appropriate or desired resource uses.

Another topic of my comment was morally judging *how* folks enjoy the outdoors is... Peculiar. There are "correct" ways to camp, especially at developed sites? I'm not referring to "take only pictures/leave only footprints" usage understandings, but to why the OP & we MeFi writers consider glamping, or walk-in advanced sport technology, car camping or staying in a motel, are more fraught than just economic/personal taste decisions over accomodations during music festivals.

In Europe/North America, the Romantic movement's coupling of esthetic taste for the wild sublime to moral considerations has led to some strange attitudes a d discussions. Such as this one about whether comfort camping is really camping and why that matters to anyone besides the campers themselves.
posted by Dreidl at 10:05 PM on June 24, 2015


I've recently started backpacking. We recently car camped for four nights on a road trip. I can car camp with my wife and bulldogs and it saved us a ton of money on the trip. Backpacking, though, allows me to get out into areas that you're not going to see otherwise.

There's a place for all of it.
posted by azpenguin at 10:26 PM on June 24, 2015


hydrobatidae: My point is that camping, the unglamourous sort is expensive and can be very status/brand conscious.

If one is status/brand conscious, that's what will make it expensive. It does not need to be.
Nowadays, I can get a dome tent for 20 euros and while it's true that it won't last long, it'll most likely make it through a week or two of camping, even if it's packed up and moved every day. It won't be the lightest tent there is, but it won't be cotton either.
There are cheap alternatives to Therm-a-rest now, that are quite usable and so much lighter than those cotton-and-rubber air matresses used to be. I can get a head lamp for 2€ and it'll work just fine. Cheap knockoff anything is so much easier to find these days.

In other words, camping can certainly be cheap especially if you don't need to carry all your stuff, and car camping isn't the only way to accomplish that. Over here in the Low Lands where bikes are all over the place, going camping by bicycle is the traditional cheap First Holiday on your Own for a lot of teens.
Swap bike for train, and the same applies.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:26 AM on June 25, 2015


I would love to see the overlap of people complaining about this, Vs the ouroboros of people complaining about camp setups at burning man. The people in RVs complaining about this stuff, the people in tents/domes/monkey huts/etc complaining about RVs.

I've heard the same thing camping with friends, or staying in cabins. Basically, anyone doing it more glamorously than yourself is overdoing it and trying too hard or "not legit" or whatever.

Personally, i think camping is anything that doesn't involve an RV. But, i also know some people who stay in an RV/camper van/whatever and do serious hiking and outdoor stuff that would freaking kill me and my shitty knee.

This is basically a combo of rote hating on "rich kids" plus typical elitism of the gamer nerd variety. It's the camping version of "anyone who uses a controller for games is a filthy noob, keyboard and mouse 4ever".
posted by emptythought at 4:31 AM on June 25, 2015


One of my points is the FPP/OPs are from the POV of the tourists and critiques of only their consumer options. No mention of the people who live/work in there, or the festival entertainers that tourists are glamping to experience, at all. I am sure, having been a hospitality and entertainment worker as well as tourist myself, that there would have been interesting comments from the workers about glamping vs.other tourist styles and appropriate or desired resource uses.

That sounds like an utterly fascinating topic that would make for a new and separate FPP.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:35 AM on June 25, 2015


Another topic of my comment was morally judging *how* folks enjoy the outdoors is... Peculiar. There are "correct" ways to camp, especially at developed sites? I'm not referring to "take only pictures/leave only footprints" usage understandings, but to why the OP & we MeFi writers consider glamping, or walk-in advanced sport technology, car camping or staying in a motel, are more fraught than just economic/personal taste decisions over accomodations during music festivals.
In all of my responses to this topic, I've endeavored to say that I hold backpacking equal to car camping to staying in a motel as a method for enjoying the outdoors. The concerns that I have expressed are those raised by the NY Times article where the line between 'glamping' in a public park and carving out part of that public park for the private use of something that is, in all but name, a hotel is getting really blurry. One of these fancy eco-lodges outside of the park, in a mixed use area where there is already infrastructure for plumbing, electricity and catering deliveries is fine. Setting up a yurt or a fancy popup trailer in an existing car camping site is fine. Having semi-permanent buildings in the park and having to extend the infrastructure that supports an eco-hotel into the park effectively reduces the conservation area of the park, and increases the maintenance burden for the property and the staff, as well as reducing the ability for non-moneyed, non-privileged sections of society to access the area that the lodge may carve out as facilities for ziplining or picnic lunches or whatever other rec activity they may choose to sell to their guests.

It -is- absolutely a part of the "leave no trace" ethic, because many of the examples in the linked articles aren't about just setting up a yurt that can vanish in a day's packing. While I will freely admit that our modern concept of outdoors stewardship is a relatively recent one, I absolutely welcome the idea that camping ethics has to be about leaving a minimal footprint -- that parks have to do trail maintenance and some very basic infrastructure to actually allow visitors to access the natural wonders of the park, but always have to balance that investment with the very real erosion and degradation that thousands of human visitors will create and demand.

So, yes, if you're going to create a business that is about introducing significant alterations to the natural state of the park, and leaving a footprint in the form of paved roads, electricity lines and diverted water systems, and if you're going to make that comfort and infrastructure only available to a small number of privileged consumers, then I will absolutely tell you that you're doing camping wrong and you are effectively stealing the park from taxpayers.
posted by bl1nk at 6:13 AM on June 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


> My point is that camping, the unglamourous sort is expensive and can be very status/brand conscious. I'm happy more people are getting outdoors and 'normal' campers might want to check if their hobby really is currently a bastion of openness

Yes, it is. You need to be able to get to a campground and going by public transportation would suck, but once you're there it's $16 for a campsite for the night. A bundle of firewood is $5 from the camp hosts. $42 gets you a Coleman three-person tent that will last you for years. You can get a sleeping bag at Fred Meyer, or just bring the blankets off your bed. I spend a lot money on sleeping pads, but you don't have to. And once you're there you can do all the hiking, creek wading, s'mores making, and campfire staring you want.

Moran State Park, from the first link, is beautiful and hard to get a spot in and possibly closing in two weeks because we don't believe in paying goddamn taxes in Washington State.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:24 AM on June 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is also looking for funding to add Wi-Fi

That's not a bad idea. They should have wi-fi, and they should charge people $100 per minute to use it. Someone will get desperate and pay the fee often enough to make camping there free of charge for the rest of us.
posted by sfenders at 3:02 PM on June 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


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