Forget about bugs and wet wood because this week Back Roads Bill is taking us gliding on back roads
This week I’m looking at another relatively new word, “glamping” and how it might feel, bugs, wet wood, and tie-down ropes seem jaded.
A common thought is that glamping is a mixture of the words “glamour” and “camping”. It is also known as glorious camping, boutique camping or luxury camping. It’s more than a nice tent. There is great diversity in examples of what glamping can be.
But glamping has simply become an experience with nature that doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort. This is camping for those used to luxury hotels, or for the majority who just don’t want to buy new camping gear or find it in the garage.
It is always outdoors and affiliated with special natural destinations. You have your own private space, as well as resort-like amenities, lots of activities, and when it comes to food, in most cases you can order it.
But we are Canadians, huh? We will modify the definition to adapt it to our latitude. (As a footnote, March is winter/spring camping time; a new glamping tent has been purchased, more on that in a bit.)
A bit of history, in the early 1900s in Africa, wealthy American and European travelers demanded luxury on safari. Sure, they wanted a wild outdoor adventure, but they didn’t want to part with their king-size beds and furniture. These canvas safari tents on platforms usually included beautiful Persian rugs, luxurious bedding and a chef to prepare meals.
Fast forward to today and we find the first Google keyword searches for “glamping” in early 2007.
But now the way we travel has changed, especially because of the pandemic. We no longer want generic, one-size-fits-all vacations. We want to explore and immerse ourselves in the local culture, and we don’t just want to watch nature on YouTube channels and such anymore, we want to live there and that means just about anywhere.
We checked one of the definitive ones, world sources of glamping, if for no other reason, take a look at all the options. It’s really interesting to see where you could rest your head carefree.
“The glamping movement is growing and shows no signs of slowing down. All over the world, you’ll find incredible destinations, each offering their own unique benefits. You can wake up in a yurt on top of a mountain; reside in the forest canopy in a tree house, admire the panoramic view in an eco-lodge”, and any form of covered shelter you can imagine. They told me there was a wide range of choices from “cabins to trailers, cubes and pods, domes, pavilions, chalets, teepees and tents;” each has an applicable definition.
Then go to the Tents choice under Accommodations because that’s what this one is interested in.
When you search Northern Ontario, you end up here.
Constantin von Flotow started this business in 2013 after a life as a canoe/raft and boat expedition guide.
“I wanted to offer the less adventurous public and families a way to enjoy the backcountry without having to know how to stay safe and dry. A turnkey solution, whose aesthetics and design reflect the Canadian heritage and the golden age of exploration, hence the traditional wall tents.
“Since I started in the world of ‘Glamping’, which didn’t exist in the lexicon when I started, has exploded and Canada is striving to catch up with this trend. The future of this segment looks solid and is currently being updated with more luxurious and interesting structures and programming all over the world.
“I see heavy design micro cabins being the future of luxury camping experiences. There will always be the appeal of a pure wilderness experience, however, that is raw, comfortable and accessible.
“At OutpostCo, our mission is to connect our guests to nature in a safe, comfortable and stylish way. As a long-time canoeist and guide, I have always believed that northern Canada is only accessible by very few people and I would like to change that without disturbing what we have come to appreciate, which is our incredible Canadian wilderness.
For too many years there have been many camping adventures, including winter camping and sleeping as the seasons change.
This included canvas tents, double-walled synthetic tents and quizhees. The latter is a snow shelter made from a big pile of loose snow, you wait for the “sintering” to happen – maybe that’s a new word – then you use that as the shape of the shelter and you dig it.
This contrasts with an igloo, which is built from blocks of hard snow, and a snow cave, which is built by digging into the snow.
The word is of Athabaskan origin and entered the English language in the 1980s. A quinzhee can be made for winter camping and survival purposes, or for pleasure. I did a few, survived and had fun.
The Canadian heritage writer, Pierre Berton’s famous quote has been repeated often: “A Canadian is someone who knows how to make love in a canoe. Back Roads Bill has an addition, “…and in a quizhee.”
For all these shelters, you need a winter sleeping bag or double two summer bags.
A pad or cardboard is essential because almost a third of your body heat wants to escape downwards.
You learn tricks like placing hot water in your drinking bottles at the base of your feet. Not only comfortable, but you have water rather than ice available to you first thing in the morning when you wonder where you are.
Cozy additions to your appendages will help, like these quilt slippers and a kind of skull cap. You learn to minimize alcohol consumption, perhaps. You bring the frozen chili you’ve made at home in a “boil bag” and “viking bread,” aka the coarse, black pumpernickel bread, to the specialty aisle. And there are “no bugs”, they exclaimed. Oh yes, that reminds me of reviewing how to poop in the woods, winter style in a previous article.
I said March is the time to go camping because the temperatures are manageable and the days are longer. When temperatures slip into double digits, negative numbers your body and gear need to perform. As we age, both must change.
So glamping in March needed a new tent. And during the supply chain challenge of the pandemic, “the” tent has finally arrived.
Go to the Den of Dragons on CBC this tent was featured.
Dragons’ Den is a Canadian reality television show based on the international franchise format Dragons’ Den which began in Japan. The show began here on October 3, 2006. Aspiring Canadian entrepreneurs pitch business and investment ideas to a panel of venture capitalists (known as “Dragons”) in the hope of securing funding and business partnerships.
Trish who I got to know as a customer.
“Camping and nature adventures have always been an integral part of my life. Kayaking and camping have been very therapeutic activities for me, but I like a bit of comfort and I don’t like being cold! My other favorite activity for relaxing has always been relaxing outside in my hot tub.
“I often thought as I got out of my cold, wet gear that I wish I could sit there and take in that beautiful scenery in a nice hot tub, or camp sitting around the fire on a freezing night in the mountains wishing for a bath whirlpool to get rid of the cold in my bones.
“I finally started looking for a way to have a hot tub at camp, and when I couldn’t find something that worked for us, we decided to design something.
“We had been talking for a while about starting a family business, to get out of careers that neither of us were happy in. I was looking for ways to work while being in nature. (I was thinking about retreats, guided tours , things like this).
“When we had a solid concept in place for a portable hot tub, we decided to turn hot tubs into a business, and it was only fitting that if we were going to have hot tubs, we should also have a sauna!”
They added sauna tents.
“The messages of gratitude we get from our customers have been amazing!
“There have been many people who have set up their saunas and hot tubs in their backyards during COVID who have reached out to us to tell us how amazing it was for their mental health.
“We have a spa client who has a beachfront vacation rental property who is always sending photos of his adventures, putting him in a floating dock and towing him behind the boat while he goes fishing or watching. the sunset from its dock.
“The different ways our customers use our products is my favorite thing about this business. Besides the fact that we now have an excuse to sneak camping and have a hot tub and sauna in some of the nicest places we can imagine.
“We are listening to feedback from our customers as well as our own experiences and looking for ways to further improve what we have. Seating and bubbles are likely things to come for spas.”
The thirty-second pop-up tent is a welcome addition for small “g” glamping. The new tent is also built to be a sauna or ice hut, there is an optional heavy duty zippered floor.
The tent and stove were less than the cost of a night at the Outpost Co. There are still pegs and ropes, but it looks like these are cause for thought now. The stainless steel stove is a beauty. Just like last week, another personal question, how do I find someone who wants to glamp on the back roads?