Friday, December 8, 2023


Will ‘glamping’ replace RV camping?

As recently as two years ago, the question would have seemed nonsensical. The portmanteau of “glamour” and “camping” was only recently fashioned to describe a type of “camping” at a lodge where the guests pay $150 a night to sleep in luxury travel trailers, cushily appointed tents, or yurts and spend time in the “wild” outdoors. Glamping was new and not for RVers or serious campers, and would likely never seriously threaten to supplant them.

A Collective Retreats glamping tent with a bed and nightstands
A Collective Retreats glamping tent.

But wait—flash forward to 2022. Glamping has become mainstream and is attracting serious investment from hospitality entrepreneurs. For instance, AutoCamp, a company that created the first “glampground” in Santa Barbara, CA, in 2016, offers luxury overnight accommodations in Airstream travel trailers in natural and glamorous settings. The company now has nine locations across the country, with plans for twenty more. They are partnered with Thor Industries, manufacturer of the Airstream line of travel trailers.

Glamping industry revenues

The glamping industry currently has an economic impact value approaching $3 billion and growing at 10.9 percent annually and increasing. Glamping is forecast to reach $6 billion in revenues in 2030.

An AutoCamp Airstream

However, the nouveau cache is no match for the more traditional camping and recreational vehicle industries. The RV industry currently represents a $140 billion impact on the U.S. economy; the non-RV camping segment of the economy has reached $21.58 billion and is growing at a rate of 3.17 percent annually.

While carpeted tents and premade s’mores are not likely to eclipse RVing and camping as we know it, there is a robust and growing demand for a luxury interface with nature without the costs and demands of camping. Viewed from an economic standpoint, using very basic figures, a couple owning and camping in an RV might spend, say, $15,000 on the RV, maintenance, insurance, and fuel. If it is used only four weeks out of the year, the cost equates to $3,750 per week. A person could “glamp” for those four weeks for roughly $4,200.

All this data aside, glamping may not appeal to campers and RVers that enjoy the more natural and rustic aspects of camping. It will not substitute for traveling at your own leisurely pace, choosing your own favorite campsite, building your own fire, boondocking, solitude, spontaneity, and self-sufficiency.

Keep an eye on “glamping” as the latest fad in the outdoor industry, but don’t expect it to overtake the joy of independent self-actualized camping anytime soon.


Randall Brink
Randall Brink
Randall Brink is an author hailing from Idaho. He has written many fiction and non-fiction books, including the critically acclaimed Lost Star: The Search for Amelia Earhart. He is the screenwriter for the new Grizzly Adams television series and the feature film Goldfield. Randall Brink has a diverse background not only as a book author, Hollywood screenwriter and script doctor, but also as an airline captain, chief executive, and Alaska bush pilot.



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MikeinAZ (@guest_209095)
1 year ago

With the gw/cc cult going full speed ahead pushing their agenda, that could easily happen.

jerry (@guest_209087)
1 year ago

Didn’t read the click bait article

Glamping is a BS term made up by social media influencers who didn’t think camping articles would get clicks.

Why would I want to bring all the the stuff To setup friday only to have to tear it down and clean it sunday before check out.

I have watched more than a few folks spend friday till mid day saturday setting up camp only to tear it down Sunday. Doesnt make sense to me. Star link dishes, satelite tv dishes, Grills, smokers, griddles, projection TVs, hammocks, refrigerators, carpets, plants, chairs, fans, dog pens, bikes, yard games and on and on. Then three cars and trucks on top of it.

I camp to relax, unplug , relax and recharge. I can set up in 15 minutes and tear down just as quick.

Bob p (@guest_208830)
1 year ago

Why would someone pay that kind of money to sleep in a tent when great motel rooms are everywhere?

Kelly Irene (@guest_209015)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

I think you’re missing the point.

UPRIG (@guest_208825)
1 year ago

Did tent ‘glamping’ at the Brussels World Fair in 1958…

Tommy Molnar (@guest_208700)
1 year ago

“Keep an eye on “glamping” as the latest fad”. The keyword here is “fad“.

TerryH (@guest_208987)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Maybe a GLUT of gasoline/ diesel motor homes looking for stationary service in some future years?

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