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'Glamping': Upscale Camping Offers Luxury In The Outdoors (VIDEO)


First Posted: 08/10/11 01:52 PM ET Updated: 10/10/11 06:12 AM ET

Are you really camping if there's a heated tile floor involved?

For many Americans, visiting parks and pitching tents on rough patches of ground are a fun and affordable way to spend time with family and friends. But, according to the video below from "The Early Show," roughing it doesn't cut it anymore for some people.

Glamor camping, or "glamping," offers an upscale camping experience for those who want to enjoy the outdoors, but don't want to give up the amenities of home or a luxury hotel.

The video explains that one of the nicest of these resorts is "Paws Up" in Montana. At the $900 per night resort, campers do sleep in tents. But these “Ritz Carlton-like” tents feature hardwood floors, electricity and bathrooms with heated tiles and walk-in showers.

Simple meals around a campfire are a thing of the past for these campers. Personal chefs prepare gourmet meals, and “the glamping version of wilderness guides” will even build your campfire and roast your s'mores for you.

Canadian provincial parks have recently begun to even offer wireless internet service.

Glamping, which has gained a following in North America and Western Europe, is not without its critics. Leave No Trace (LNT) is an ethical program that seeks to eliminate, or at least diminish, the environmental impacts of outdoor recreational activities. Supporters of LNT maintain strict guidelines for camping, including how to dispose of waste and how to respect wildlife.

Yellowstone National Park saw the second-highest number of visitors in a single month this July, while Grand Teton has had to change its rules about human interaction with wildlife. Born Free USA's Adam Roberts suggests that human-bear incidents may be occurring "partly as a result of human encroachment on wildlife habitat."

The New York Times reported several years ago that despite being dismissed by many serious campers, “glamping can still be an environmentally sound outdoor experience.” Examples include sites with recycling programs, organic gardens, and solar power.

According to the BBC, despite the surge in popularity of upscale camping in recent years, it is nothing new. Even a century ago, opulence and the comforts of home were no strangers to the British campsite. Early twentieth century outdoor enthusiasts in the United States weren't roughing it either in the Great Camps of the Adirondacks.

Teddy Roosevelt's “expeditions seared the public's imagination,” according to The Wall Street Journal, which has dubbed him as the “First Glamper.” Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Edmund Morris explains that after his presidency, Roosevelt travelled extensively in Africa and became "the first real international celebrity in American history."

To see some of the amenities of "glamping" resorts, check out this slideshow from USA Today.

At some point into the "glamping" craze, perhaps we should ask -- has the act of camping moved from being one with nature, to invading nature?

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Filed by James Gerken  |  Report Corrections