Camping and caravanning have long been a source of inspiration for quite a collection of jokes, comedy sketches and sitcoms, but the stereotypes associated with this form of holiday experience are set to become consigned to history in the not too distant future. The pace of technology has brought camping well into the 21st century, and even the most sceptical of holidaymakers will be impressed by developments that have made camping more comfortable, more secure and a lot less hassle. If you wouldn’t normally consider a tent or a campervan to be your accommodation of choice when away, be prepared for a surprise when you find out how camping has changed in recent years.
The traditional vision of a camping trip includes such depressing and off-putting features as the tent that takes three hours to erect and lets in the rain, no hot water, cold tins of beans for supper and a sleeping bag that either cooks you or turns you into a human popsicle. Thankfully this vision is a thing of the past, and even the most impractically minded people can put up a modern tent complete with bedroom sections easily and in no time at all. Inflatable tents are perfect for a trouble-free camping experience as you don’t need any experience and there aren’t any fiddly poles to sort out. The modern materials used in these tents are very strong, and the structures have a complex framework of support mechanisms to keep them up without you having to worry about deciphering complex instructions and battling with straps, ropes and pegs. If a more exotic style appeals to you, you could try a tree tent. These are suspended between suitable trunks, letting you float amongst the trees in safety and comfort. Sounds complicated and some examples can be a bit tricky to put up, but there are tree tents that can be erected speedily and with ease. You can even get solar tents that absorb power from the sun during the day if you are someone that can’t survive without your electronic devices!
Notorious for being driven annoyingly slowly and causing frustration to other road users, coupled with their less than glamorous image, caravans have a lot of ground to make up to appeal to a new market. However, those who take caravanning holidays become addicted to the simplicity and independence of this lifestyle and rarely choose to travel any other way. The traditional, functional design of caravans has undergone something of a renaissance in the last few years resulting in some innovative designs like the Pod, which may well be more aesthetically appealing to the style conscious. Inside, caravans are routinely fitted with shower cubicles, fixed standard size beds, flat screen TVs, fridge freezers, underfloor heating, remote heating controls, tracking systems, satellite dishes, and surround sound systems. Finishes can be pretty impressive too, with options for leather upholstery, real wood, and plush carpeting.
The classic VW camper van has become an iconic vehicle for both the young and the young at heart and can command some hefty price tags. If you are looking for the coolest ride, it’s hard to beat these old campers, but if you want luxury and performance from your van, you’ll need to spend some money on refurbishing the interior and updating the engine. Or you could go for one of the many modern motorhomes that offer a luxurious home from home experience. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and many have taken a leaf out of VW’s book by using van-style vehicles that are fitted out with living accommodation. The motorhome is probably the most luxurious form of camping holiday, and many vehicles are more comfortable and better equipped than some houses! You could be enjoying your camping expedition in airconditioned surroundings under LED mood lighting, listening to your favourite sounds on the MP3 linked sound system, and enjoying a freshly brewed cappuccino or a cocktail from your drinks cabinet.
Yurts and tepees – the joys of glamping
The less than luxurious image of camping was an inspiration for these new forms of outdoor living. Yurts are wooden framed, circular tents based on the traditional dwellings of nomadic tribes in Asia. They are sturdy and very warm, and because they are semi-permanent can be fitted out with a range of modern equipment and creature comforts. The North American tepee has been adopted for very similar purposes, and given the long history these structures have in protecting and sheltering entire cultures over many years, their reputation is well-deserved. Glamping is the term coined to describe the use of these types of semi-permanent dwellings, which provide a “glamorous form of camping.” The concept has certainly struck a chord, and there are now many sites offering the luxury of outside camps with all the facilities and comforts of a holiday home.
Apart from the high specification of many of these modern camping options, you can also embellish your mobile home with a dizzying array of extra equipment and comfort. You can cook on multi-burner stoves or have a full-on barbie, you can sleep on heated mattresses under luxury bed linen, and even if you are in the wilds with no power hook-ups, there are a variety of low-noise generators on the market to provide you with heat and light. Take a look at a specialist website like Campsmart to see what wonders are on offer, and you might be surprised at how sophisticated you can make your camping holiday.
If you can’t decide between the available options, there is one more possibility – a combined motorhome and tent called the Opera Mobile Suite Camper. This beauty has a motorhome base with a stunning tented roof structure that has been modelled on the Sydney Opera House – hence its name. Very appropriate for a luxury camping loving Aussie! With so many choices to enable you to enjoy the wonderful things about camping without having any of the drawbacks, there’s no longer any excuse not to give it a try.