Every weekend, thousands of Canadians take to the forests, beaches, mountains and fields of this country to go camping. In my experience, those who love camping, love camping. And the rest of us? Well, we love hotels.
It’s not that I don’t like the idea of camping, I just sometimes feel like that ship has sailed. What I mean is that it’s been a decade since I’ve gone camping, I don’t have any equipment, and if I did, I would have no idea how to set it up. Let alone the money to buy all the equipment required to make camping at all comfortable. And I don’t think I’m alone.
Every Monday morning, I wake up to social media feeds filled with thousands of photos of campers who left the big city behind for a few days and explored the great outdoors. Sometimes I feel jealous. I wish I knew how to do that.
Then I met the new phenomenon of “glamping”. Or, as I’d prefer to call it: Comfort camping.
Camp sites all across the Alberta are hoping on board this trend that gives amateur campers a leg up on the idea of camping…by doing a lot of the hard work for them. For example, Pigeon Lake, which is about thirty minutes outside of Edmonton, has built comfort yurts. There are three different sizes. A small yurt sleeps four people and goes for $120/night. A medium yurt sleeps six and costs $140. And then there’s the large yurts which sleep up to eight $165.
The yurts are close to the shores of the beautiful Pigeon Lake and offer sturdy shelter and super comfortable beds. The yurts are insulated, round, tent-like structures mounted on a wooden deck and completely equipped for your convenience and enjoyment. And when I say completely equipped, I mean it. They’re stocked with dishes, a fridge, pots and pans, a full sized table, a BBQ, space heater and pretty much anything you could think of to make camping more comfortable, including the wood for the fire.
But this isn’t the Hilton, you do have to bring some things like food and beverages, pillows and sleeping bags, towels and a flashlight. Also, make sure you bring some matches and paper to help start the fire. I know that sounds obvious…but it wasn’t to us.
Here’s a tour of our yurt:
And before you get too cynical about it, I really think there’s lots of people who would love camping in these yurts. There’s the type of people who’ve never really gone camping before, but want to try it and see if they even like it. Let’s not forget, to just start camping there’s a huge learning curve, not to mention a pretty big investment. Between the tent, sleeping bags, and the rest of the camping equipment, you have to drop hundreds of dollars on something you’re not even sure you like.
Then there’s the people who simply don’t have the room to store their camping equipment. I don’t know if you’ve been in an apartment lately, but there’s barely room for a laundry basket, let alone camping equipment. Things like glamping and yurts offer up the opportunity to go camping, without having to convert your living room into a year-round camp site.
I also think that as all of our families get older, we’re all looking for ways to do things together, but make sure that everyone is still comfortable. And the yurts definitely offer up that opportunity. The yurts around us were filled with whole families spending quality time together, likely benefiting from not stressing about having to sleep on top of each other in a tent when it was time to go to bed. No matter how close you are to your family, there is such thing as too close, especially in a tent.
Then there’s the people who just want to relax and not to worry about all the things you might have to worry about with camping. I loved that I was able to experience all the things I had forgotten that I liked about camping, like making three meals a day, sitting by the campfire, waking up with the sunrise and falling asleep looking at millions of stars. But that I didn’t have to worry about setting up a tent, teaching myself how to cook chicken on a campfire and worry that there was a hornet’s nest setting up in my sleeping bag. Even my friends that came with me, who love old-school camping, woke up the day we were leaving and remarked how nice it was to just back up our bags and go. Whether you love camping or not, no one loves packing up your site, then unpacking it when you get home and air it out. With the yurts, you can just worry about the important things: enjoying the great outdoors, good times with your friends and family and, of course, s’mores.
If you’re thinking about comfort camping, and I highly recommend that you do, there’s a lot of great sites popping up all around Alberta!