You see *them* at campsites, with their fold-out chairs, camping stove-tops, and portable espresso machines. But do glampers deserve the sneer they get… or do they actually have a point?
‘You brought an inflatable hiking pillow? I’m sorry, I didn’t realise we were inviting glampers now!’
My friend was gifted a tiny red camping pillow for Christmas a few years back, and has never heard the end of it.
A ‘real’ hiker, such as myself, would never dream of such a thing. Rolled-up jumpers are the ultimate sleeping comfort. Unless you’re a glamper, that is.
Until recently, I’ve only ever considered the term ‘glamping’ to be an insult. You brought a portable camping chair? What a glamper. Spare head torch batteries? Glamper. Toilet paper? Glamper for sure.
What’s so bad about glampers?
In reality, my dislike of glampers is probably a deep-seeded jealousy arising from childhood.
When I was in high school, my family hiked the Overland Track in Tasmania. It was a stunning walk, and I absolutely recommend it. However, as a 14-year-old, who was still coming to terms with whether she actually liked hiking or not, the trip was rather a formative experience.
Read more: How To Set Up Your Own Glamping Experience
We trekked through ancient rainforests, moorlands layered with golden buttongrass, and dramatic glacial valleys. The hike was incredibly beautiful, but also incredibly difficult. It was physically and psychologically demanding in a way I hadn’t experienced before.
There were parts I loved, and parts I hated.
Sipping hot chocolate and watching the sun paint the sky in pink as it slowly dipped behind the mountains? Utter bliss.
But there were also the tears. My feet were sore, my legs were tired, and I spent large chunks of time wet and cold. One day it was raining so heavily that when we sat down for lunch, my wrap got soaked before I was able to put it in my mouth. If that’s not enough to break someone, I don’t know what is.
And all the while, I could see them.
Their tiny day packs, smaller than the one my eight-year-old cousin was carrying.
Their fresh faces, clean from the hot showers in their cabins.
Their incredible smells, the five-star meals lovingly prepared for them each night.
Who were they?
They were the glampers.
And me? I was jealous.
But of course, as any good 14-year-old knows, you can’t just say that you’re jealous. Oh no, that would go completely against everything I’d ever learned in high school.
Instead? Criticism, baby.
‘I can’t believe they spent so much money just to be doing the same thing as us, but the lazy version,’ I complained to my cousin.
‘Yeah, I would never spend my money on that,’ she agreed.
And so it began… glamping was no longer cool – at least not in my books.
I was an avid non-glamper, and I wanted it to be known.
Only The Essentials – And Sometimes Not Even That
‘Are you packing a bowl or just a mug?’
‘Obviously just a mug, who do you think I am? Drinking tea from a slightly-savoury cup is the way to go. Only a glamper would bring both.’
‘Should we take a tent? Or just wing it with a tarp?
‘Pshhh, obviously a tarp. Tents are for glampers, and glampers only.’
Side note: Tarps can make excellent shelters, however we never quite figured out how to string them correctly. This meant our gear (and faces) would inevitably end up wet, even on clear nights.
And then there was the issue of toilet paper… but I’m not going to go into that. Needless to say, leaves only go so far. But those are just some of the sacrifices you have to make if you want to avoid being a glamper.
To clarify, we weren’t trying to be ultralight hikers. No, that lifestyle is far too expensive. Instead, we were proud of our heavy packs, filled with unnecessarily bulky woollen jumpers and huge tubs of peanut butter. The person with the heaviest bag got the most clout and hence the most complaining rights.
This style of hiking is really all I’ve ever known. And believe me, it’s great fun. However, it only appeals to a very niche audience.
It’s easy to forget that not everyone values struggling.
Type 2 Fun Isn’t an Easy Intro to The Outdoors
‘I’m sorry, but I’m already sleeping outside. Can you please at the very least pack a tent? It’s the bloody mountains!’
Recently, I went into the mountains with some friends who had very little experience hiking. All these people wanted was a fun experience. They felt no need to hinder themselves unnecessarily.
I’m very privileged in that my parents gave me the knowledge and skills to be able to go camping and hiking by myself, without having to think twice about it. However, spending extended periods of time in the wilderness can be a very daunting experience for many.
Read more: What’s Type 2 Fun? A Guide To The Fun Scale
For some people, glamping is the only way they’re able to get into nature.
Guided glamping experiences can help to alleviate some of these fears, making the outdoors a more accessible place.
The outdoors is for everyone and people shouldn’t be shamed about the way they access it.
Armed with a newfound appreciation for the benefits of glamping, I’m gradually coming to terms with the benefits of some more ‘luxurious’ camping items.
For a start, my inflatable mattress. What an absolute gem! The thought of returning to a blue foamie makes my neck begin to ache already.
Also, hiking poles? Previously, I couldn’t stand the sight of them. I’ve since come to realise that not having sore knees is really quite a treat. And it means you can hike for longer. What’s not to love?
And, of course, portable espresso machines are pretty excellent.
People have designed these tools for a reason. While I still remain faithful to my non-glamping roots (I refuse to use utensils other than a spork and you’ll never catch me paying for expensive energy bars), I can promise you that I have come to appreciate everyone who’s making the choice to get active and get outside – regardless of whether they choose to pack a hiking pillow or roll up a jumper.
And just to clarify – toilet paper is now a staple in my hiking pack.