Butt End: Carry On Glamping | Canoeroots Magazine | Rapid Media
Kevin Callan tried Glamping. Photo: Kevin Callan

The new camping style is posh, but it's getting more people outdoors


Imagine waking up to the smell of a cinnamon-spiced double latte, rolling over in your silk-lined sleeping bag and browsing through the latest issue of The New Yorker while organic gingerbread waffles with drunken strawberry and vanilla bean compote await you on a bamboo-linen table cloth outside your tent. Who wouldn’t want that on their next canoe trip?

It’s been labeled “glamping”—short for glamorous camping. Dating back to the African safaris, it is now more like Club Med in the boonies. Celebrities such as Kate Moss and Sienna Miller have popularized glamping in the U.K. and the U.S. and it’s now a hot commodity in Canada, which is why Global News, Breakfast TV, Canada AM and CBC all asked me to help promote it.

Is glamping camping? Well, I claimed it was on national television and boy, did I stir the pot. 

Avid campers logged onto my blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts filling my e-mail inbox. They blasted me for stating that sleeping in a posh tent and having dark chocolate truffles placed on an eiderdown pillow in the morning was a true act of camping out.

So, why did I go out on a limb and promote wearing cashmere socks and packing miniature iPod chargers?

It came down to simple mathematics. I want a percentage of glampers to one day try real camping, where you portage your own canoe and pluck the blackflies out of your own Chardonnay. I learned long ago that it’s best to grab hold of any type of camping fad and use it to introduce non-campers to sleeping in the wilderness.

Let’s be honest, a good majority of glampers would never give real camping a try if it wasn’t for first trying it in comfort. Let plaid jackets be replaced by pink Wellington boots—whatever turns them on, as long as they get outdoors.

Canadian tourism representatives state that glamping increased outdoor excursions this year by 12 per cent. That’s a lot of new happy campers enjoying the serenity of nature— even if they are having their sleeping bags fluffed while doing so.

If a small percentage of glamorously chic campers, like Reese Witherspoon, actually go out and get dirty someday, and tweet to their thousands of followers about canoe tripping in Boundary Waters, imagine the wilderness areas we can save with an advocacy group that strong and mighty!


This article first appeared in the 2009 Early Summer issue of Canoeroots and Family Camping magazine. Read the issue in our free iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch App or Android App or read it online here.

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