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a luxury form of camping which includes expensive equipment, high-class facilities, luxury food and drink, etc
'An Englishman's home is his castle but thanks to a new form of luxury camping people in Shropshire could soon be swopping their turrets for tent pegs. The latest holiday craze glamping … is coming to the county and will see campers decking out their tents with chairs, tables, china plates and even stoves with chimney pipes.'Shropshire Star 15th May 2010
'And these days, wherever there's a stage and some grass, there are glampers … glamping – is a modern phenomenon which has transformed the outdoor festival scene. Gone are the endless rows of identical canvas triangles, and in their places have come yurts, tipis, podpads and outdoor hotel rooms.'Herald, Eire 18th May 2010
If for you, as for me, a nice glass of wine, a good meal, a hot shower or bath, and a comfortable bed are essential components of a successful holiday, then camping may be way down on your list of potential holiday plans. However it's the 21st century, so out with the leaky tents, smelly and over-subscribed toilet blocks, carry mats and sleeping bags, and in with the best china, duvets, spa facilities, and power for your hairdryer or games console – welcome to the world of glamping, a heady mix of glamour and the great outdoors.
in the last three or four years or so, there's been a shift in public perception of what camping
is all about
The new term glamping is a lexical response to the fact that, in the last three or four years or so, there's been a shift in public perception of what camping is all about. There was a time when campers prided themselves on 'getting back to nature' and living the simple life, sleeping under the stars with just the basics for cooking and washing. These days, however, it seems that camping has taken on a whole new look – something like fresh air accompanied by all the luxuries one could expect at a four-star hotel. Proponents of this luxurious approach to camping, coined glampers, have forgone sodden sleeping bags on knobbly groundsheets, in favour of soft mattresses, quilts and cushions. Their canvas residences are often heated, and include such luxuries as sheepskin rugs, blow-up sofas and tea light chandeliers. Alongside them sit muslin-strewn gazebos incorporating high-tech outdoor cooking gear and chilled champagne boxes.
The concept of glamping, also sometimes referred to as boutique camping, has also had a big impact on outdoor music festivals. Formerly the preserve of young people on a budget, a growing number of older and wealthier punters are now turning up at events like Glastonbury, to occupy ready-made canvas mansions equipped with all their creature comforts. High-end glampers can even pay for welly-cleaning services and cocktail waiters!
Signature glamping residences are not the classic bell or frame tents of the last century, but modern tepees and yurts – large, Asian-style round tents, often incorporating a fire or heat source in the centre. Other options popular with glampers include podpads and ecopods. Podpads are small wooden huts just big enough to house a couple of beds, usually carpeted and with interior lighting and lockable doors. Ecopods are bigger, cabin-style residences, built of sustainable materials and incorporating eco-friendly cooking, heating and sanitary facilities.
The word glamping is a blend of camping with the adjective glamorous, i.e. the notion of glamorous camping. The word first appeared about five years ago, and the concept is thought primarily to be a British invention – possibly spawned by an increasing guilt over carbon footprints among the middle classes. They were becoming less quick to take to the skies and more predisposed to using their cash for a luxurious take on a traditional leisure activity. Glamping's popularity has also been nurtured by one or two high-profile aficionados, such as model Kate Moss and actress Sienna Miller.
As well as the nouns glamping for the activity and glamper for someone who engages in it, there's also some evidence for a verb glamp, and a related phrasal verb glamp up (with participle adjective glamped-up) which, on the model of do up, dress up, etc, means something like 'make camping facilities more luxurious'.
Read last week's BuzzWord. Vuvuzela.
This article was first published on 15th June 2010.