By Matt de Simone

Contributing writer

There is a new trend for those individuals seeking a luxurious experience in the great outdoors. “Glamping” is a form of camping that combines roughing it in an outdoor setting by, well, not roughing it.

Over the past few years, the camping market has seen an upswing in demand for glamping experiences. Analytic groups like Arizton are projecting that the glamping market will reach over $1 billion by 2024. With so many people interested in camping close to their everyday possessions, what can a person— who never spends time in the wild— bring along with them to make their experience in the outdoors more pleasurable?

Customizing the glamping experience

There are no rules when it comes to creating the perfect glamping getaway. In this day of wireless hotspots, a charged phone and/or computer can run in the woods to keep a camper closer to their business/job and also assist Mom and Dad by providing entertainment needed to lull the kids— or themselves— to sleep after a long day of outdoor activities.

Basically, glamping is up to the glampers. Traditional campers usually leave all connections to the outside world behind them. The less phone service the better. However, that simple accommodation can turn camping into glamping for some old pros of the outdoors. Access to a generator can open up new doors for those who aren’t looking forward to roughing it in the wilderness.

Weighing the options

Glampers can really do it up right, depending on their combined imaginations (and funds). Say a group is into “Game of Thrones” and they want to build a camp similar to that of Tywin Lannister. No one glamps like the King’s Army. Load up a truckbed full of furniture, throw rugs, and tents, hope there isn’t a wild boar roaming around, and live the life of the warriors of Westeros for a weekend.

That is merely one example. Obviously, location is the most important aspect of glamping. In case readers are wondering, no, there aren’t any wild boar ripping through the Botetourt countryside. At least none that The Herald reported recently (if ever).

Another convenient aspect of glamping comes in the form of wellness tourism. Many glampers want to get away so they can focus on healthy living in a natural environment. There are businesses now that provide these individuals with a prepared “glamp site” fit with all of the consumers’ needs. Move over, Mr. Bed & Breakfast, people today want to DIY (do it yourself) on their honeymoon in a London countryside unidome— an ecofriendly cabin/pod.

There are less extravagant, yet equally fulfilling glamping experiences for those who want a barebones glamping adventure. There are opportunities to glamp it up all over the country, even in Botetourt County.

Twin River Outfitters in Buchanan offers overnight glamping experiences for their customers. Now campers who want to paddle down the James River can embark on a trek where they don’t have to set up their camp at the journey’s end because it’s already set up for them. The set up includes the usual items needed to camp. In addition, glampers have options on what glamping amenities wait for them on-site. Sure, build a fire, or how about a stove? Done!

Rebekah McDonald of Twin River Outfitters has seen the demand for glamping experiences since the store began offering packages this past spring. “I think [glamping] empowers individuals to access the outdoors in a more supported way,” McDonald explained, “Maybe somebody doesn’t have personal gear or, for whatever reason, they would rather not transport their gear. Glamping makes camping more accessible.”

Inco-Check