When Heather Syverson spends a weekend in the woods, she brings a chandelier.
The 35-year-old Fargo woman is one of many people who are embracing the growing trend of “glamping,” or glamorous camping.
Today marks the conclusion of International Glamping Weekend, two days dedicated to “camping with all the amenities and comforts of home,” Syverson says.
For her, glamping means camping in her RV with an air conditioner, Wi-Fi, phone signal, bed with soft sheets, tasty meals and her chandelier that hangs from a shepherd’s hook.
The stylish camping trend has grown prominent around the world. People can glamorously camp in France, Thailand, South Africa and countless other countries. In the U.S., it’s most common on the West Coast in states such as California, but Montana also has multiple “glampsites,” according to Glamping.com.
Syverson says it hasn’t quite caught on in North Dakota and Minnesota, but more and more people are learning what it is.
She first heard the term last year when she read a book called “Glamping with MaryJane: Glamour + Camping” by organic farmer MaryJane Butters. Butters is credited with coining the term “glamping.”
Syverson decided the jazzed-up version of camping was appealing. She hadn’t been camping since she was a teenager, and then, she’d concluded it was “hot, boring and in the middle of nowhere.”
“I’ve been a girly girl since birth. I think that this style of camping appeals to me because I can wear makeup if I want to and curl my hair if I want to,” she says. “I don’t have to eat hot dogs all weekend. It’s not really roughing it.”
One of Syverson’s close friends was also interested in glamping, and they found a group of women in Minnesota who gather and glamp. Although they aren’t marketed as glampsites, Syverson and her friends have glamorously camped at resorts and campsites in North Dakota and Minnesota.
She tried fancy camping for the first time last spring and enjoyed it so much she bought her own RV.
While there are many ways to glamp, most people camp in RVs, campers, safari tents, luxury tents or cabins.
“It’s basically like getting another tiny house that you get to redo and be a little more kitschy than you would in your own home,” Syverson says.
Many women she’s met restore vintage campers and have distinct themes for the miniature homes. They often bring their sewing machines to create pillows, curtains and other décor for their campers. They also craft, play lawn games and share potluck dinners.
“It’s almost like a modern-day sewing circle,” Syverson says. “It’s just really creative, interesting and empowering.”
Her husband and two dogs come with, and Syverson jokes that her husband is shy to admit he glamps.
“My husband camps when he’s with me, but secretly he’s glamping. We have AC; we have a queen-size bed; we have nice sheets. He’s eating the same kind of food he’d eat at home,” she says. “If he wants to pretend he’s not glamping, that’s fine. He is. It’s not an overly feminine experience. It’s comfortable.”
They typically stay at resorts or campgrounds with amenities like pools and dog parks.
Costing about $200, a weekend of glamorous camping isn’t as economical as traditional camping, Syverson says, but it’s worth it because it’s renewed her interest in crafts and the outdoors, and she’s formed new friendships.
Syverson plans to glamp a few times each month this summer, and like regular campers she’ll make s’mores and spend nights around a campfire.
“It doesn’t matter how you glamp as long as you have fun with it,” she says.
But true to glamping style, the chocolate will be gourmet, and she’ll retire to a queen-size bed.