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The rise and rise of glamping

Written by Fiona June 10 2010

The modern camper is more likely to be a "Glamper"

A tweet this morning, which linked to an article, Glamping it Up in Yorkshire, nicely introduces a blog that I have been meaning to write about “Glamping”. In fact it was TEM (Top Entreprenurial Mummy) who reminded me that so many more families are catching the Glamping bug (especially given the worries about flights overseas, volcanic ash and a decrease in family budgets.) TEM was waxing lyrical about her family’s recent camping trip during which they went for luxury over roughing it. And why wouldn’t they when there are so many more home-from-home style camping gadgets and accessories on the market these days?

I first wrote about the the cool trend for Glamping (Glamorous Camping) a few years ago. It was at a time when increasing numbers of people were starting to choose to holiday in Britain and while camping offered a cheap and attractive option, there was also a movement towards a more luxurious style of holidaying under canvas.

Fortunately the makers of all things outdoor living had cottoned on to this growing trend and the range of hi-tec, make-life-easier, comfy, warming and generally fabbie camping gear had suddenly exploded. Glamping gear includes tents with bedrooms and en-suites, portable toilets and tent, solar showers, mini fridges, wine coolers, self-inflating mattresses, carpet for the tent, larders, proper cookers, king-size sleeping bags etc – and even chandeliers (I kid you not!).

It seems that there has been no stopping for this trend. A new survey by Halfords, which has seen tent sales rocket 60% this year, confirms that the UK is turning into a nation of happy campers. Their research found that almost 50% of people questioned are considering a holiday under canvas this year, compared to just one in five last year. And almost all of the respondents agreed that they would prefer to be Glampers than have to rough it.

Solar shower from

A “waterproof” tent was rated the top modern advance in camping for more than 60% of both men and women, while a comfortable, self-inflating bed came second (45%). A simple, easy-to-erect pop-up tent was third (40%). For a third of the women questioned in the survey a “private portable loo” was an important asset to any camping trip, and many wanted access to an electric point for their hairdryers and straighteners.

More than 50% of people said their must-have camping item would be a mobile phone and charger (you can now charge your phone thanks to a new device that harnesses the energy supplied by the heat of your feet in wellington boots, no less!). More than a third of men wanted to take their ipod and docking station for a camping holiday.

As Paul Fensome, of Halfords, said: “The number of glampers is huge. And the array of gadgets and mod-cons for fashionable camping really is breathtaking.”

Toilet tent for your very own portable toilet (from

Paul Davidson, of leading outdoors equipment store Go Outdoors, added his words of agreement: “Recent years have seen a huge rise in sales of camping equipment, especially for the family market and couples.

“These customers are looking for equipment that offers value for money and also comfort. So we’ve seen an increase in sales of spacious tents, many with separate bedrooms for adults and children, folding seats, tables, inflatable beds and deluxe carpets. And the kind of gadgets and equipment that replicate our home lives – only in the outdoors – are increasingly popular too such as solar showers, wind up radios and luxury barbecues are becoming increasingly popular, too.”

I, too, have become a born-again 21st century camper. I’m also a huge fan of campervanning (another modern-day reinvention that is fast-growing as a popular family holiday option in the UK). The four things that have made camping so much more attractive to me as a mumy in my 40s are:

A double-sized sleeping bag. From

* Your own portable toilet and tent (for those night-time need-to-go moments)

* A blow-up mattress (to stop old bones aching)

* A separate bedroom for Little Miss Outdoors (everyone sleeps better when it’s not a sardine situation)

* A fridge to keep the tonic cold for the camping essential: several large G&Ts of an evening!

So when will you be setting off for your own Glamping trip?

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