Glamping is a word doing the rounds in the press and holiday magazines at the moment. It's a Portmanteau of glamour and camping, like Brangelina for the two most beautiful people in the universe (Bradley and Angleina, like you didn't know) or Teleprompt, where your fury at Made in Chelsea coming on the televison, prompts you to throw your widescreen out of the window. Once upon a time you would never had associated the word 'Glamour' with the act of lying in a field, treading in cowpats on the way to a bush for 'midnight relief', and eating seemingly endless quantities of Smash.
The post Sid James and Barbara Windsor camping landscape is a very different one. Camping is about getting away from it all, about escape, and that means different things to different people. For some it's about minimalism, the bare essentials for survival. This is what camping means to a lot of people I know, wilderness. But I'll admit that there was a time, when after eating a third re-hydrated meal whilst attempting to remove a spider that had taken up residence in my nostril in the Welsh mountains that I thought a bit of glamour wouldn't go amiss.
Oh I don't know, sometimes... sometimes I just feel like there's more to life than endless innuendo and unreliable brassieres
For some people the 'doing without' bit is what puts them off camping but that's not how it has to be. Glamping means 'doing with' and enjoying being in the outdoors.
Here's five reasons why camping is no longer about suffering.
Tents aren't what they used to be.
Police infiltrate mannequin smuggling ring.
Remember those ridge tents with no room and two metal spikes holding everything up that were asking to be struck by lightning? You'll be hard pushed to find one anymore. A number of tents are designed as premium living spaces, with a host of features to make outdoor living comfortable whilst getting lungfulls of fresh air and amazing views. Dark sleeping areas, self rolling window blinds, extensions. If you thought camping meant being cramped, sleep deprived and grouchy, think again.
The Mackenzie 6XL. Commence cat swinging.
Campsites aren't what they used to be.
There is a campsite that I regularly go to on the coast on a yearly basis. I remember being six and tiptoeing through the mud on the INSIDE of the shower block. Over the years as camping has grown in popularity facilities have improved. The same camping site is now better kitted out than my house. It even has fresh fluffy towels racked up in the shower. It was like drying with a puppy.
Camp cooking isn't what it used to be.
A large part of me likes eating insects fished from a rotting log. I really do. But I am equally fond of full English cooking on the gas stove as the sun warms my face and gently lifts me from my slumber. You can even buy a mobile wood stove for your tent if you want. You can feast like a Royal when under canvas and given that some tents now have a main living area the size of a medieval banqueting hall that's no bad thing
This guy is Josh Sutton and what he can't tell you about campsite cooking isn't worth knowing. https://guyropegourmet.co.uk/
Campers aren't what they used to be
Campers, on the whole, are a friendly bunch.
'Forgot your mallet? Here, use mine.'
'Yeah, I've got a map of the walks through the new forest, hang on I'll get it for you.'
'Thanks, flower wellies are really in this year, reader offer in the Guardian.'
The days of Bernard Manning pulling alongside your pitch and letting his whippet poo in your porch as he flicked through Health and Efficiency are, thankfully, gone.
'Kumbaya' 100% guaranteed.
The weather is still the same
Yes you read that right. I know that you're thinking that British weather is at least 50% precipitation, but come on, who hasn't been lulled to sleep by raindrop pitter patting on canvas. I've even got an app on my iPhone to make the noise for when I'm sleeping under bricks and mortar. There are few things as satisfying as a good book as a soft rain falls over a tree lined field in England.
Let's be clear, even with all the modernizations of campsites and equipment camping is still about being outside in the environment and dealing with what it throws at you, but 'glamping' makes all of this more enjoyable. All the Glamour in the world won't make a six man (or woman) tent the Ritz. But can you sit in the foyer of the Ritz in flip flops, straw hat and Weird Fish jumper that's two sizes two big whilst getting sozzled on generous gin and tonics without being asked to leave. No... no you can't.
Sometimes a hotel just doesn't cut it.