Camping vs. Glamping

Ransom Riggs

Glamor camping, or "glamping," as it's been dubbed, is on the rise in the U.S., even as the number of visits to national parks is declining. Last year there were 20 million fewer park visits than there were a decade ago, and the number of campers who "rough it" in gigantic RVs is quickly catching up to the number of those who do it in tents on the ground. What does all this mean? Even as our "eco-awareness" balloons, our willingness to experience nature in a primitive way is waning (even if the space-age, lightweight, sweat-wicking materials we make our tents and sleeping bags and whatever else out of are far from primitive.) Exhibit A, though, has to be glamping. So what is glamping? If you have around $10,000 per person per week (and up) to spend on a luxe camping trip, you can find out for yourself. Otherwise, here's what you're missing.

The Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Vancouver Island

Far from the beaten path and an hour's small-plane flight from the mainland, Clayoquot isn't the kind of campground where you'll find yourself in a pup tent wedged between obnoxious families drinking beer; instead, expect luxury "tents" furnished with antiques, Persian rugs and king-sized beds with heated blankets. You can ask your personal gourmet chef to serve up the s'mores and a hot dog if you want -- though most opt for the rack of lamb or butter-braised salmon. If it's hiking you're after, a team of guides will drive you to the best part of the trail and drop you off in a spot where you'll never have to pass the same tree twice or climb too steep a hill. Horse stables and private boats are also available on a whim -- and then there's the massage tent. The cost for all this next-to-nature luxury? About $50,000 for a weeklong family trip.

Paws Up Resort, Montana

Multi-room luxury tents are the norm here, but if you can't handle the 30-second walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night -- that's an outhouse featuring heated slate floors, granite countertops and showers big enough for two -- then you can upgrade to a "cabin": 1,440 square feet on four acres, complete with hot tub. Either way, you'll be in good company; among the clientele winging into Paws Up on private jets are the Rolling Stones, who once took over the place for a week. If you're content with just the luxury tent, you'll pay $600/night, plus $110 per day per person for food. (If you decide to book it, tell 'em who sent you!)

Abercrombie and Kent

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