Glamping vs Camping – The Main Differences Explained

A woman sitting outside a glamping cabin

Once upon a time, a couple of friends were strolling along the coast of the sea, on the way back to their apartment suite. They had to pass through what they thought were campgrounds since they saw a good number of RVs parked nearby. However, what they’ve stumbled upon made them question the very nature of contemporary camping. The thing is: what they’ve seen seemed way too luxurious to comply with your usual camper’s taste. 

Okay, so you might think: what, they’ve never seen a glamping site before? That could signal you already know the main differences between camping and glamping. On the other hand, there’s a fair chance our little story inspired you to react in the same manner as the folks that appear in it. If that was the case, we’ve got something to talk about today! In the article you’re about to read, we’ll approach the camping vs. glamping debate in a thorough manner.

While camping is an age-old human practice, glamping emerged three decades ago. The glamping experience is more hotel-like than traditional camping. Needless to say, glamping tents are made out of solid materials and possess everything a regular hotel room would have. Also, while you camp just about anywhere in the world, there aren’t many places you can go glamping.

There’s much more to this topic than one could guess by reading just the here’s-the-gist-of-it paragraph above. To see exactly what we’re talking about, keep on scrolling!

The new kid on the block

While camping as an activity has been around for god-knows-how-long, glamping is something you’d call the new kid on the block. It emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a phenomenon that swept through the worldwide camping community. One could also say glamping appeared simultaneously with the internet. What about the name? Well, it redefined the basic concept making it more glamorous, hence its name: camping + glamour = glamping.

Is glamping still popular?

Here’s a simple answer: you bet! Some are even going as far as calling it the hottest travel trend in the past decade. Even though that mightn’t be a complete truth, it seems there’s nothing stopping glamping from becoming even more popular. There are some numbers to back up that statement. For instance, by the year 2025, the worldwide glamping market is predicted to develop into a $4.8 billion industry. Now, ain’t that somethin’ or what?

Of course, there were some folks talking about glamping being just a fad. Also, there were camping enthusiasts that denounced the novelty right from the very beginning. They might’ve seen glamping as something otherworldly or too comfortable, something that our flower-power ancestors would disprove of greatly. We try to avoid crossing into that territory. It’s every person’s right to choose the way they’ll spend some quality time surrounded by beautiful nature.

That’s about it for the introductory section! Let’s take a look at what all the fuss is about! In other words: here are the focal points of the ever-present camping vs. glamping debate. But first – a photo that might infuriate some hardcore camping-exclusivists.

A couple choosing glamping over camping.

Glamping vs Camping – The main differences explained

Without further ado, let’s see on which points do the two fantastic activities disagree on.

#1 The time of emergence

As we’ve already mentioned, camping is an activity that has its roots deep inside history’s soil. Its competitor here – glamping, emerged about thirty years ago. That’s why it’s a commonplace thing to say camping’s a bit more primitive, while glamping’s a bit more sophisticated. Many camping experts agree that glamping became a thing once camping went into smart mode. In other words: it all happened when folks wanted to enjoy nature and comfiness at the same time.

#2 Hotel-like experience

Now, there’s the reason why many old-school camping enthusiasts dislike glamping. It’s just too darn comfortable and hotel-ish, they say. The thing is: many folks don’t have the luxury to be without electronic gadgets for longer periods of time. Additionally, some people find camping to be a bit dirty. They want to enjoy nature and still feel like they’re in a hotel room.

Also, here’s what’s ironic. You don’t see a lot of campers hating on RV-style of enjoying the outdoors. There’s just something about glamping that makes it an easy target for old-school camper’s remarks. The reason might lie in the fact both camping and glamping sometimes require you to sleep inside a tent. Is that it?

There’s a little something called the narcissism of small differences. Maybe that’s where we should look for an answer?

#3 Narcissism of small differences (topic: tents)

We didn’t want this to sound too dorky, so please have that in mind when reading the following sentence. The so-called narcissism of small differences is a thesis proposed by the world’s most recognized (late) psychologist, Sigmund Freud. We’ll sum it up like this: the more two groups are alike (here we have campers and glampers), the more they’re prone to engage in feuds and mutual ridicule. If you’re a psychology student, we’re sorry if we reduced the theory to fit the purposes of this article.

Anyway, let’s talk about the tents, both campers and glampers like to use. Of course, the tents used by both parties aren’t exactly the same. Here are their main differences:

  • While camping tents are traditional ones that enable you direct contact with nature, glamping tents put something of a border between the two worlds.
  • Camping tents (most of ’em belonging to individual campers) are usually cheaper than glamping tents (which are almost always provided by a third party offering this type of accommodation to tourists).
  • Glamping tents are suitable even for long-term vacations, while their “adversaries” are mostly used for short-term outdoor adventures.
  • Lastly, glamping tents are more secure than regular camping tents, because they’re made out of more solid materials (like wood, for instance). 

#4 The type of service

The thing is: campers usually bring their own food along on an outdoor adventure. Also, they pack sleeping bags and other items a short-term stay in nature requires. Glamping, as one can assume, is a different story. The glamping experience providers (the one we mentioned above) will provide all the (sometimes overly luxurious) services such as food, bathroom, floor rugs, antique furnishing, a big bed, and even – butlers.

#5 The options at hand

We’ll be short here! While you can camp just about anywhere in the world (Scotland’s fantastic in April, for instance), glamping isn’t available worldwide. Only certain areas of our world benefit from this industry. In other words: you’ll find this type of hospitality services mostly in Europe, North America, and Australia. It’s not surprising this industry is flourishing in places that are more financially stable than the rest of the globe.

How to know if you’re a glamper or a camper?

Instead of a summary near the end, it’s good we do something different every once in a while. We’ve prepared something of a questionnaire that will help you determine if you’re a glamper or a camper. Also, this primitive quiz will help you cover the main points of today’s article. So, shall we begin?

Do you get the feeling nature’s sometimes a bit too much?

A. I like to sleep in the wilderness, inside a simple tent, directly under the stars, and too much nature is never too much for me. Also, I take pride in the ability to survive the outdoors without any luxuries.

B. I think a little nature every once in a while goes a long way. Also, I’d always choose comfort over survival, without a doubt. Additionally, every vacation should include a touch of class, if you ask me.

Hot dogs or a steak? Choose your fighter

A. A hot dog is the best quick meal there is. There’s nothing more scenic than roasting one over a fire. Also, marshmallows. That’s what I like!

B. I’d prefer a steak. Medium rare.

What about this one: hiking or reading?

A. I’d choose the first option since exploration’s kinda my thing. There’s no need to be static once in the great outdoors.

B. Hmm, I’d rather stay inside the tent with a book by my favorite author. Although, I’ve considered accepting an invitation to go fishing.

Imagine you’ve realized the outhouse’s a bit dirty. What do you do?

A. Nothing, as I’ve certainly seen worse. You can’t imagine the stuff I’ve seen (and smelled).

B. Yikes! I’d rather run to the nearest RV with a bathroom.

Results: If you’ve got three or more A’s that means you’re a camper. Otherwise, you’re either not sure or you’re an obvious glamper if there ever was one. Of course, we’ve used somewhat comical stereotypes just to keep things a little less serious.

Final words

That’s about it, dear nature-loving folks! Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed our take on the camping vs. glamping debate. It’s not like there’s a winner, so… Anyway, for more similar articles, concerned with camping and its spin-offs, visit this page.

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