We suspect the glamping bubble is about to burst. Why? Because movie stars have climbed on the bandwagon (as witnessed by the recent McConaghey-Alves wedding) and (the surest sign that a trend is in freefall) glamping apparently showed up on one of the Housewives reality shows.
On the other (manicured) hand, most days we get word of a new glamping venue with a new twist. Common folk can have their own glamping nuptials, with teepees and hobbit houses. A California company offers to set up its schmancy “European style” furnished tents for you, at the location of your choice. If you would like to sleep in outdoor luxury in New York City, you can enjoy the sirens and star-obscuring lights of midtown Manhattan from a 17th floor balcony. And—wheels within wheels, bubbles within bubbles—there are transparent domes that allow a glamper to feel utterly exposed with none of the tactile pleasures of being outdoors.
DIY glamping is another option. The Baker+Bell “boutique” website lets you purchase camping gear that is long on style. Granted, their 4-meter, non-flame retardant canvas tents and beechwood flashlights might seem somewhat impractical. Ditto for the Indian cotton tent rugs, vintage Moroccan tray table and “gorgeous 100% cotton” striped sleeping bag. (At £ 110, the water-resistant reindeer hide might be a very practical investment, though, because it is “perfect for adding an extra layer of insulation to your bell tent floor or warmth on the bed at night.”)
Even Outside is getting in on the trend, with a little nod to Amangiri, a spendy ($1,050 a night) but “austere” resort in Utah that offers classes in rock climbing along with “a 135-minute treatment that combines flotation therapy with cranial-sacral and aromatherapy massage.” Which reminds us that one man’s “austere” is another man’s “so-awkwardly-self-indulgent-I-can’t-discuss-it-with-my-friends.”
To what do we attribute the persistence of glamping? Is it a nostalgia for empire, for a time when aristocratic explorers could venture into the bush with nothing but a smooth bore rifle and a troop of sullen, gear-laden porters? Is it a sign that we have become so insulated from nature that we feel compelled to get back into it but don’t quite know how? Or maybe we’ll do anything so long as it generates an anecdote. ’Cause that’s what we like.
We like anecdotes.
Photo of BubbleTree dome by designer Pierre Stephane Dumas (www.BubbleTree.fr). All rights reserved.