It’s just a matter of semantics. At least that’s how I viewed the recent discussion around the campfire. Other folks took the discussion much more seriously as they tried to define what they’re doing in their RVs: camping, glamping, or what?!
“I’m camping,” Dave said. “I may not be in a tent, but my camper’s amenities are pretty basic. When looking for an RV, I knew I wanted something small and simple. I just didn’t want to sleep on the ground. So that’s about all my pop-up camper offers—a bed off the ground. And I’m definitely camping.”
“Oh, I’m camping, too.” Jenny agreed. “My van doesn’t even have its own shower. Having to use the campground’s facilities is the definition of camping, isn’t it?”
“Our truck camper definitely qualifies as ‘camping,’” Joe added. “I don’t need all the hotel luxuries that some folks have in their big rigs. As long as I can brush my teeth and sleep in a comfortable bed, I’m happy. And I’m camping.”
Marcy frowned. “What’s wrong with camping in comfort? We’re still out enjoying nature. I consider that camping, no matter what your rig has for creature comforts.”
Dave disagreed. “Come on, Marcy. You have heated floors and two bathrooms! Your rig is a high-class hotel on wheels! No way is that ‘camping’!”
“I was a Boy Scout,” Joe added. “We didn’t have electric fireplaces with instant heat or ceiling fans and air conditioning. I wish I could have earned a merit badge for poking a button!” Everyone laughed.
“I just think you might be a little jealous,” Marcy suggested. “I’m not ashamed of our diesel pusher. It gets us where we want to go. If we enjoy the comforts of home as we travel, then that’s okay! It’s what works for us.”
“Does it really matter?” my husband countered. “Camping or glamping or whatever you want to call it—we all share the commonality of traveling.”
“I think you’re right,” Jenny agreed. “It’s seeing the country, exploring the outdoors, and meeting other people. No matter what you call it, I call it liberating and a lot of fun!”
What do you think? Is there a difference between camping with an RV and glamping with an RV? Are these labels important to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
RVer musings: It’s why, not how, we go camping
Thanks, Gail! We downsized from a bath-and-a-half 43′ DP to a single bath 36′ DP last summer. We have heated floors, a king-sized bed, a washer and dryer, three televisions, an escape door with ladder, two AC/heat-pump roof units, an 8-kw generator, etc., and I call what we do “traveling.” I yield the term “glamping” to describe the climate-controlled tents that include all utilities, etc., at RV resorts and elsewhere. Decades ago I spent a March night in a tent shivering beneath a blanket that covered some of me in freezing temperatures at Mammoth Cave NP with running buddies, which is my solitary “camping” experience. At age 66 I like “traveling” better than “camping.”
We finally moved up to our little Chevy Class B. Most nights on the road we are camping. If we end up in a place that has a cable tv hook-up and the wife insists I hook-up, we are then Glamping.
My wife and I have done the tent camping, moved up to a pop-up, and now we are on our third toy hauler. At our age (both retired) having everything close by (especially the bathroom at night) is very important to us. Call it camping or glamping, we are still able to get out and travel, enjoying life along the way. This is what works best for us.
I don’t believe one is better than the other; that one is more right or wrong. But there is definitely a difference! Some of us would like nothing better than to live in a cabin in the woods; others prefer their McMansions close to everything. To each his own. Just please don’t try to build your McMansions in my peaceful little corner of the woods!
Recreational Vehicle (an RV) doesn’t say “Only Camping in the wild” vehicle. The variety of RV’s make choices from tents to Class A’s with all the amenities desired by those who choose, a wonderful opportunity to travel as anyone likes. When younger, and quite frankly with less available resources, tents and sleeping bags were great! Now, retired after working hard for nearly 50 years, we enjoy our creature comfort’s and believe in live and let live. Let us all take a nice breath, and reflect on the why of recreational vehicle opportunities, to enjoy traveling, wonderful locations with our loved ones and even precious pets. America has so much to offer in a variety of recreational modes.
I’ll sum it all up like this: Glamping is having full hookups, tied to the rest of the world by your umbilical cords and hoses. Camping is dry camping, no hookups of any kind, carry it in and carry it out in whatever backpack or bus you have to haul it.
There may still be people who camp with tents or tiny trailers in places that aren’t suited to RVs, but I rarely see them in state parks or other public recreation areas. If having any amenities other than a bed disqualifies one from using the term “camping” then hardly anyone “camps” anymore. I think that the real distinction between “camping” and something else is duration, not what kind of unit you have. People who just spend weekends and two week vacations in their RVs are campers. They spend every minute outside. They LOVE their campfires and scorn cooking or actually doing anything inside their campers except sleep. Those of us who spend months on the road, let alone full time, take advantage of the amenities we paid good money to have in our campers. We are selective about sitting outside because we have time to wait for better weather, and we can enjoy the scenery outside from the comfort of inside. If this disqualifies me from being called a camper, I’m okay with that.
Thanks Gail for the discussion on the differing opinions of our comrades of the road! This is one topic that everyone seems to have an opinion on – including me. I don’t consider us camping in our 34′ class A – even in COE or Nnt’l forest. We are comfortable, dry and off the ground! This is one subject that is not divisive by any stretch of the imagination.
We don’t camp or glamp. We live life. We do both. Campfires some nights, Netflix on a 50 inch others. Dutch oven on the fire some nights, Steak Diane on the induction cook top others. Water, desert or forest, it’s all good because its about waking up somewhere, anywhere. We have much to appreciate during our 5 months a year on the road and then still embrace our 7 months at home while we are there. Camping? Sort of I guess, but really, who cares. It’s all good.
I think it depends if anyone camping/Glamping gets out of their domain and enjoys the area where they are parked/camped. Most of the people we observe, stay in their rigs, watch TV and only come out with the dogs when they need walking. Turn off the TV and close the computer, and go OUTSIDE and enjoy where you are located.
Why does everything have to be a fight? This kind of stuff just causes divisiveness and I think there is more than enough of that in the world today. Call it glamping, camping, or traveling, who cares? Enjoy the ride 😁
Chocolate or vanilla ice cream? We like exploring the various locations that we travel to in comfort! Our Montana 5’th wheel is upgraded with a Splendide washer/dryer, we have our Netflix and a gourmet kitchen. So what? It is how WE like to RV for the five months of the year that we spend in the Southern US. We spend our summers back home in Toronto in our sticks and bricks, with the occasional trip in our home province. Whatever works to get out and explore is all that counts!
To me, it depends on what you’re doing more than what you’re using for travel. When we are parked in a resort, we don’t feel we are camping. When we are in the forest, Corps of Engineer parks, etc., we are camping.
I had a hard time calling our TT trips camping when we went from tent camping to RV’ing. But as time went on and all our RV’ing friends called it camping, I grudgingly gave in and started calling this “camping”. Now it’s just second nature to refer to what we’re doing as “camping”.
I feel the difference is camping or Rving. Camping can be done in any size/type of equipment, but you spend your days and evenings outside hiking, biking, paddling, walking, playing, eating and having campfires. If there’s a generator running so you can watch tv, run the satellite/dish, charge equipment, etc and you spend most of your time indoors then I say stay home. I have been in campgrounds with bigger rigs and have hardly seen a human. As I walk by I get disappointed by the thought of what they are missing out on. The sounds of the world happening. I will again clarify that this is not all big rig folks. I have a small teardrop with solar power, but it does have a toilet because I’m an older female lol. First thing we did was remove the tv. And even if we are someplace that has shore power odds are we won’t plug in.
I think back to a weekend in northern IL when my young family was camping in our new 1978 TEC Campmate 24.5’ bunk house travel trailer, no A/C, not even an awning. Sitting in a State Park campground and a Class A motorhome backed into a site two away from us. We were sitting around the campfire roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. The Class A never opened a door, started the generator,and sat there from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, started the engine and left. We’re they camping? My family enjoyed the outdoors, the fresh campfire smokey air, and the walking trails. We were campers. Lol
We have a 25′ Class C, but we aren’t campers. We are travelers who just stay in our RV when we travel instead of a motel. We may have one campfire a year, if that often, and only grill outside once or twice in a month-long trip.
I started camping in the 1950s in Scouts when a tent was a WWII shelter-half that I shared with a “tentmate” who carried the other shelter-half. After marriage and 3 sons, we camped in a canvas cabin tent in the Colorado mountains, but on long trips we “moteled it.”
Once the boys left home, we started traveling year-round. But you don’t sleep in a canvas tent in the Rockies in late fall, winter, or early spring. That leaves two choices–motels or an RV. We chose RV!
I suspect that most of us would say that we are camping, but anyone whose RV is significantly nicer than ours is glamping. We tend to use ourselves as the standard.
Thanks for the laugh!
Of course there are differences. But that’s what makes our way of life so much fun and enjoyable. We meet people from all walks of life with all differences of RVs. They each have their reasons for their current RV and I’m okay with all the reasons.
We don’t camp or glamp in our 5er. We live in it. It’s our home and we get to take it pretty much wherever we want.
We all have a different opinion on what camping really is. I think we all are right. It’s what’s right for us. We started camping 8 years ago and tented. Granted every year we made it more comfortable and I never camped without my own potty. Two years ago at 63 we bought a travel trailer and will not go without electricity. We call it our facility on wheels. We sleep, shower, and use our own facilities, but everything else is outside. We cook, eat, and hand out, outside. We also kayak, hike, and fish. So this is our idea of camping and we love it. Enjoy your own Peace!
Does it really matter what someone else calls it? If you are enjoying the experience, call it what you want. We are pretty much in the same “group” as your description, started as tent campers, kids came along, got a pop up, kids are grown, got a tow behind 21 footer with the basics and love it. Still won’t plug in at a RV type park, sticking to state/ national parks w/o hook ups with a campfire, cooking outside and using the kayaks. Use of your own facilities and having a comfortable bed are the requirements, no need for flashy lights, a TV or all sorts of home like electronics when we camp.