Camping vs. Glamping from A to Z
Written by: Lidia Bertesteanu

What’s glamping? How is it different from traditional camping? In a nutshell, glamping is not camping, but rather its stylish cousin who went to boarding school in France for a few years and came back with an accent and a penchant for fashion. Below you will find everything you need to know about camping vs glamping, from A to Z.

In a nutshell, glamping is not camping, but rather its stylish cousin who went to boarding school in France for a few years and came back with an accent and a penchant for fashion.

Accommodation

Camping

Tents are the traditional type of camping accommodation. Depending on how many members your party consists of, the weather conditions you are facing, and how skilled you are in pitching it, you can choose from various models.

Glamping

Glamping is all about fancy tents and select lodgings. Glampers nowadays have a wide variety of options at their disposal, and some are downright kooky. Could you imagine camping in a cave or igloo? The glamping industry surely can. I have gathered eight of the most popular alternatives out there below, but keep in mind there are more.

Dome tent

The dome tent is what you can find in most stores due to the fact that it is the most popular model. You will recognize it by its curved pole structure. Dome tents are affordable and come in a variety of sizes. They can even be joined together to create a larger camping space, which is ideal for large families.

Safari tent

Safari tents were arguably the first ever glam camping tents used back in the 1900s, when wealthy American and Brits started venturing out in the unexplored wilderness of Africa. What makes them so luxurious is the fact that they are basically a mansion with canvas walls that you can decorate as you please.

Geodesic tent

The geodesic tent is similar in structure to the dome tent, but it comes with an extra set of poles that construct a more spacious interior. In addition to this, geodesic tents are far more resilient in extreme weather conditions. This makes them the appropriate choice for adventure and mountaineering camping, especially during the winter.

Yurt

Yurts have been used by the nomadic Mongolian tribes of Central Asia for centuries as portable abodes. The glamping industry reimagined them into luxury camping accommodations. Nowadays, they are equipped with air conditioning, central heating, private bathrooms, and even hot tubs.

Tunnel tent

The tunnel tent is the perfect choice for campers who enjoy having a little more leg room. When joined together, their curved poles create a tunnel structure, hence its name. The average tunnel tent can comfortably fit four campers, but larger models are available on the market as well. It’s recommended for campsites and not hikes, as it is rather heavy.

Teepee

Similarly to yurts, teepees are another type of traditional dwelling that has been revamped for glamping purposes. Characteristic to Native Americans, they are cone-shaped constructions customarily covered with animal furs. Their design is slightly different on site (sans animal furs, most notably).

Ridge tent

Remember those triangular tents your parents used to have? They are known as ridge tents, and they consist of two poles at either end that join together in that classic shape. They aren’t popular these days, but some campers still enjoy them for their retro vibe.

Pod

Glamping pods benefit from a wide range of integrated services, such as private bathrooms, kitchen areas, jacuzzis, spas, and more. They manage to offer immersion in nature without sacrificing one bit of your comfort and luxury.

Backpacking tent

The backpacking tent is the ultimate choice for the hiker that is constantly on the go. It is lightweight and compact, as well as easy to pitch. Still, its reduced size means that you won’t enjoy too much headspace during this time.

Tree house

Glamping in a treehouse is the ideal blend between deluxe amenities and fond childhood memories. It is a unique accommodation that will definitely provide you with an unforgettable experience. Plus, it is ideal for glamping with kids. 

Family tent

Also known as the vis-à-vis tent, the family tent consist of two facing sleeping sections joined together by a common area. It is thus perfect for families of four or more. It also emulates the layout of an actual home for added comfort.

Campervan

Half the fun of enjoying a relaxing weekend in nature is the road trip there. Campervans and RVs are the ideal way to ensure that you do that in style as well. Some models are fully-fledged mobile homes with multiple bedrooms, a private bathroom, a kitchen, and a common living room area.

Inflatable tent

The inflatable tent is the new kid on the block taking the market by storm. It is similar in design to a tunnel tent, but it has hollow panels instead of poles. During the setup process, these panels fill with air and literally inflate the tent. This makes it easy to pitch, but still quite heavy to carry around. Plus, it requires a pump.

Cottage

Glamping trends are constantly appearing and evolving, and bucolic living is the new craze. Many homeowners are renovating their traditional cottages to welcome tourists that want more than a classic camping experience.

Pop-up tent

The pop-up tent is ideal for beginner campers, as it requires no assembly. It opens up and expands on its own. All you have to do is tie it down securely afterward. Pop-up tents can generally fit two people, but they are surprisingly roomy when considering their compact size.

Barn

Revamped barns fall into the bucolic living trend the glamping industry has incorporated. Landholders in rural areas are sprucing up sheds and listing them for tourists that want to enjoy a few nights in a quiet and idyllic setting without giving up any of the creature comforts of home.

Clothing

Camping

Camping clothing is all about layering and functionality. Traveling light is essential, which is why you should only bring those indispensable pieces that make the transition from daytime to nighttime as seamless and uncomplicated as possible.

Glamping

Packing a suitcase for your glam camping adventure is a far more relaxed process altogether, seeing as you don’t have to worry about filtering the items you want to bring. In fact, chances are your accommodation has a closet, which means that you can wear whatever you want. Still, it’s always important to keep a checklist of necessities in mind.

Warm weather

T-shirts Shorts
Long-sleeved shirt Hoodie
Bathing suit Waterproof jacket
Windproof jacket Sneakers

Warm weather

T-shirts Shorts
Long-sleeved shirt Hoodie
Flip flops Sneakers
Bathing suit

Cold weather

Winter coat Fleece jacket
Wool hat Gloves
Thermal leggings Thermal undershirt
Thick sweatshirt Buffer
Scarf Hiking boots

Cold weather

Winter coat Fleece jacket
Wool hat Gloves
Thick sweatshirt Scarf
Winter boots

Cooking

Camping

Glamping

Canned food

Canned food is the traditional campsite meal. Anyone who went camping at least a few times before definitely knows how soothing sharing a can of beans over the campfire can be. Nevertheless, eating only this type of food for a few days straight isn’t only boring but also unhealthy. Thus, it’s important to have options.

Gourmet recipes

Gourmet recipes are synonymous with glamping cooking. Forget about canned food and preparing your dinner in the fire pit. When you’re enjoying a glamorous glamping experience, the food will live up to the standards of the accommodation.

Preparing food

Preparing food by the fire or in the fire pit is a popular option while camping. Did you know that you can use the fire to roast more than just s’mores? Potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, and various cuts of meat are delicious if seasoned properly, wrapped in aluminum foil, and thrown in the flames for an hour or so.

Private chef

Some sites offer a private chef on the premises that prepares decadent menus for guests. Therefore, depending on the type of holiday you want, you might not even have to do the cooking on your own.

Portable stoves

Portable stoves offer campers more variety as far as recipes are concerned. Such a device gives you the possibility to prepare a wide assortment of dishes, from scrambled eggs and pancakes in the morning to soups, pasta, and even hearty stews come dinnertime.

Kitchen facilities

Access to integrated kitchen facilities is a given when glamping. Some accommodations offer a private kitchen areas, while others grant tourists access to a shared facility with all the necessary amenities.

Cooler

Bringing a cooler will ensure that all the ingredients for your meals stay fresh for as long as possible. In this way, you will be able to experiment with various camping recipes without worrying that the perishable goods you need don’t have much shelf life left in them.

Refrigerators

Rooms come with refrigerators, which means that you can safely store your ingredients and snacks for a number of days. Plus, you will never have to drink a can of lukewarm beer during your vacation.

Utensils

Packing the necessary utensils for cooking, eating, and storing food is your responsibility while camping. This is a given when you’re off the beaten path, but keep in mind that most campsites do not offer this service either.

Kitchen

Utensils are available in glamping kitchens as well. Therefore, don’t worry about bringing plates, bowls, cookware, or cutlery with you. Everything that you need to properly enjoy a meal will be waiting for on site.

Equipment

Download your FREE PDF camping packing checklist now! Make sure you’re prepared during your next adventure!

Camping

There are no convenience stores or pharmacies in the wilderness. Therefore, you will have to pack everything you need to stay clean, safe, and entertained out there beforehand. Below you will find my checklist of must-pack items.

Glamping

Glamping accommodations are also located in remote areas, which means that you will have to pack your equipment carefully. While you won’t need as much gear to be comfortable, you can also pack additional toiletries and gadgets to enhance the deluxe aspect of the trip.

Camping Toiletries

Foldable bucket Soap
Sunscreen Fast-drying towel
SPF lip balm Sunscreen
Antiperspirant Toilet paper
Tampons or pads Hand sanitizer
Wet wipes

Glamping Toiletries

Soap or shower gel Shampoo
Conditioner Body lotion
Towels Nail clippers
Tweezers Nail file
Scissors Sunscreen
SPF lip balm Brush or comb
Deodorant Toilet paper
Tampons or pad Wet wipes

Camping Gadgets

Mobile phone Headphones
External battery Music player
Photo camera

Glamping Gadgets

Photo camera Chargers
Solar power charger Music player
Travel speakers Table
Video camera Adapters
External battery Headphones
Laptop

Entertainment

Pack of cards Fishing gear

Entertainment

Board games Pack of cards
Puzzles Bicycle
Football/basketball Frisbee
Books Kite
Fishing gear Tennis/badminton gear
Coloring books

First Aid Kit

Sterile gauze dressings Bandaids
Alcohol-free wipes Paracetamol tablets
Imodium tablets Antihistamine cream and tablets
Safety pins Mosquito repellent
Thermometer Muscle gel
Alcohol/Bethadine Any personal medicine

First Aid Kit

Bandages Bandaids
Antiseptic cream Alcohol-free wipes
Paracetamol tablets Imodium tablets
Antihistamine cream and tablets Safety pins
Disposable sterile gloves Mosquito repellent
Arnica cream Muscle gel
Burn spray Alcohol/Bethadine
Any personal medicine

Heating

Camping

Camping in the winter is an activity reserved for experienced nature lovers with a taste for adventure. Evenings tend to get cold under the open sky. Fortunately, keeping warm is completely possible. In fact, you have more than a few options.

An insulated sleeping bag

Investing in a high-quality insulated sleeping bag is the best way to maintain a comfortable temperature through the night. Some models can hold their own even in the face of subzero weather, which is certainly a plus.

Warm clothes

Packing warm clothes will help you add another barrier between you and the cold outside. Thermal undergarments are great for layering, and they will keep you snug once the sun goes down.

Lots of blankets

Fluffy blankets are always appropriate, especially when it gets chilly outside. Bring a couple along with you on your camping trip and snuggle up with your family or significant other around the campfire.

The campfire

Speaking of the campfire, it’s a great source of warmth in itself. Huddle up around it, eat s’mores, tell ghost stories, and have a great time.

Heat packs

As their name suggests, heat packs are the opposite of ice packs. Filled with hot water, they will keep you warm and toasty if you place them on strategic parts of the body. Plus, they’re great for muscle cramps.

Glamping

Temperature control while glamping is far more approachable. First of all, many accommodations come equipped with central heating and air conditioning units. What is more, if you choose to glamp in a safari tent or something similar, you have enough space to set up your own portable electric heater.

For this reason, glamping can be pursued in winter, as well, regardless of your skill level. Enjoying the enchanting sight of white forests and snow-covered hills from the warm comfort of a five-star accommodation is definitely an experience worth having. Do this while burrowing in your blanket and drinking some gourmet hot chocolate for an extra touch of luxury.

Showering

Camping

Showering in the true sense of the word is not feasible while you’re in the middle of nature. Nevertheless, hygiene is important, especially when your trip extends over the course of more than a couple of days.

Wet wipes

Wiping your body clean with wet wipes is a way to ensure that you don’t emanate any unpleasant odors. You can sanitize your face, hands, feet, armpits, and private parts in this way.

Portable shower

Bringing a portable shower along on your trip is one way to get yourself cleaned up more thoroughly. Still, you have to keep in mind that you can only use a limited amount of water for the task.

Bucket of water

If purchasing a portable shower for your camping trip is not an option, a portable bucket will do the trick. Heat it on the portable stove until it reaches the desired temperature, then wash yourself.

The river

Bathing in the river is a great way to maintain proper hygiene and connect with nature on a deeper level. However, ensure that you don’t use any bath products, as they can pollute the stream.

Glamping

Another difference between camping and glamping is that glamping accommodations come equipped with private bathrooms more often than not. These units contain either a shower, a tub, or both. Some deluxe options even include jacuzzis.

Glamping sites that do not offer this service have integrated common showers that are built to cater to the most luxurious needs of their occupants. In addition to this, they are cleaned and disinfected every day in such a way as to put the mind of even the most avid germophobe to rest.

Sleeping

Camping

When it comes to camping sleeping surfaces, the sleeping bag is the only option. It is thus advisable to invest in one that is high-quality and properly insulated to achieve the uppermost level of comfort.

The vast majority of campers also choose to line the floor of the tent with isoprene mats. This provides extra padding and prevents moisture from the ground to permeate the tent while you and your family sleep.

Glamping

Perhaps the most notable difference in the glamping vs. camping discussion is that glampers usually sleep on real beds. Regardless of whether you book a pre-existing accommodation or pitch a luxurious tent in the forest, there will be plenty more space for one or more beds so that you and your family will benefit from a restful slumber.

Storage

Camping

One of the best ways to ensure that no thieving animals or humans have access to your food and possessions is to hang it on a tree. Choose a tree that’s at least one hundred feet away from your camp site. Put all your food in a bag and suspend it about ten feet off the ground and around eight feet from the trunk of a tree. Alternatively, you can use a bear canister.

Glamping

Glampers never have to worry about storage space when their accommodation is the size of a hotel room. They can fit anything you want to bring, and you can lock them when you go out for the day. This is another reason why glamping is the ideal hybrid between spending time in the great outdoors and enjoying a relaxed holiday.

Toilet

Camping

National parks offer tourists access to a few public restrooms, but this doesn’t mean that they will be necessarily close to your campsite. Therefore, the trees and bushes around the campsite are the next best thing. Doing your number ones and twos in nature is common in this scenario, but remember to always clean up after yourself.

Glamping

As previously mentioned, most glamping accommodations have their own private bathrooms. Those who don’t offer this service grant their guests access to clean, modern, and often eco-friendly outdoor toilets that are both handy and ergonomic. Thus, you won’t have to worry about finding the ideal spot that is remote enough for you to do your business.

Water

Camping

The chances of coming across a water fountain while camping are slim. For this reason, it is essential to plan your hydration ahead of time and bring enough bottled water to last you for the entirety of the trip. Reusable bottles work best because they don’t harm the environment in the slightest.

Still, you can only bring so many bottles of water and manage to travel light. Fortunately, Mother Nature has its own running water system, namely rivers and streams. You can refill your bottles from them, but it is recommended to boil it prior to consumption for health reasons.

Glamping

Glamping sites generally contain various drinking water sources, such as fountains, coolers, or filtered tap water. Therefore, you won’t have to pack too heavily on this front. In addition to this, some accommodations also present their customers with complimentary beverages such as tea or coffee. The options are thus many.

Wildlife

Camping

Spending one night or more in nature means that you are bound to run into a wild animal at least once. While species such as deer or hares are completely harmless and adorable, others such as bears need to be approached with more caution. To minimize contact, refrain from leaving food out at night. Even so, there is no guarantee that they won’t come.

Glamping

Wildlife encounters are far more limited when it comes to glamping, and they usually happen on your own terms. However, it is always advised to be kind and respectful toward their natural habitat and act civil around them, even if you’re separated by a fence. Remember, you are their guest, and not the other way around.

Glamping’s pretty cool, right? We’ve made an awesome guide on everything you need to know about luxury camping. Be sure to check it out!

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s plenty of differences between camping and glamping. In fact, glamping can hardly be considered camping anymore, especially when looking at all the fresh and innovative places out there that offer this type of experience.

What are your thoughts on our camping vs. glamping comparison? Are you a camper or a glamper? Let me know!

About the author

Lidia Bertesteanu

Main Editor

lidia@restlessbackpacker.com

For me, climbing a mountain is equal to rebooting my system. I’m a worrier and a perfectionist, so my brain always has multiple tabs open. But when I’m on a trail, it gets quiet, it gets peaceful, I feel like I can breathe again and enjoy nature’s untouched beauty.

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