Wednesday, May 3, 2017


We were introduced to the word “glamping” by Dieter and Siegried, a German couple we met at Bolding Mill Campground, near Gainesville, Georgia. We stopped by their campsite one evening to ask about their rental Class “C” camper. The RV they were setting up was splashed with the bold advertising for RV America, and we were curious as to their impressions of the experience. They were from Köln, Germany, not too far from Ilse’s hometown of Bitburg, and had rented their RV in South Carolina. They had toured the southern part of Georgia, and were eventually heading to Nashville. They were playing their vacation by ear, not making any reservations, simply looking at a map and deciding where to go next. They were staying at Bolding Mill only overnight.

We discussed many things about the differences between camping in Germany and here, and as we were chatting in the fading evening light, a huge fifth wheel trailer at least 38 foot long pulled noisily into the camping loop. I asked if there were any fifth wheel type campers in Germany, with fire places and retractable televisions. Dieter smiled and said, “No, nothing like that big camper. For us, that is “glamping.”


“Yes, you know, glamor camping.”

OK, now we know. A new definition for the big fifth wheels and the incredible Class “A” motor homes we’ve seen. Glampers.

Our friends Richard and Arlene, who introduced us to RVing, have a theory about the size of camping trailers and motor coaches: the older the camper, the bigger the unit. Richard may have a point. It seems younger, less affluent campers are tent campers or small pop-up trailer campers. As they age and acquire wealth, they move up to bigger units, until they finally retire and can afford the biggest units available. By then they need room for the grand-kids, but they are also too old, or spoiled, to crank jack handles or awning cranks. They love the power slide outs and automatic levelers, retractable TVs and fireplaces that flicker on an LCD screen. From campers to glampers, the progression seems to be natural.

The Europeans have their own version of glamping, but the massive RVs and the inversely proportional size of their dogs appears to be an American phenomenon.

Camping and Glamping

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