Differences in Tent Glamping vs. RV Camping

Differences in Tent Glamping vs. RV Camping
What one couple thought about leaving the comforts of their rolling home for a few nights.
By: Scott & Jaime Sichler

First photo: Winnebago Journey parked on beach. Second photo: Jeep with two tents parked on beach.

Last year, we purchased an RV casita in Mexico. It is located down a dirt farm road, two miles outside of the little town of Mulege in Baja California Sur. While we have enjoyed RVing down into Baja for the past four seasons and aren't afraid to venture a little off-road in our 2007 Winnebago Journey Class A, there are still many places to explore down here in the Jeep we tow. Many of these places, like empty white sand beaches on the Sea of Cortez and surrounding mountains, fit into the category of “no go” for the Bago. This got us thinking about extending our Jeep adventures overnight with a tent and camping gear. 

Incorporating Tent ‘Glamping’ into our RV Travels

We are more than a little spoiled by all the comforts of RV camping. So, the small backpacking tent, sleeping bag, and foam pad I still keep for emergencies were not going to cut it, according to Jaime. Fortunately, she was open to glamping (aka glamorous camping) with all the luxuries we could cram into our Jeep. 

Jeep packed full of gear

The first upgrade was a tent. Tents seem to be rated by how many people they hold. My glamping math determined a nine-person tent would fit our needs for two people, a dog, and the next upgrade, a queen-size, double-height inflatable air mattress. 

We settled on an “instant” tent with built-in telescoping poles that promised a 60-second setup. But both Jaime and I agreed, anything in the real-world time of within five minutes (without too many tears and arguments) would be acceptable. We also found our queen air mattress with memory foam pillow top and integrated electric pump at a local shop. Things were starting to come together. 

White fluffy dog laying on bed inside tent

We already had a solar shower that we sometimes use when we dry camp to extend our tanks. A small shower tent and portable toilet were also added to our ever-growing Amazon cart. Fortunately, we already have a lot of camping gear, so the only other splurge we decided on was a 12V portable refrigerator. It could be powered by the Jeep battery and topped off during the day by the flexible solar panels we keep as backup to our fixed RV roof panels (if we boondock in a shady spot). 

Top Differences in Glamping vs. RVing

After some trials and tribulations with getting all the gear shipped to Mexico, we finally received everything and set it up in the backyard of our casita to test it out and confirm it worked. Success. We were ready to go glamping at a nearby beach! 

Jeep parked on beach next to two tents

Packing for the Camping Trip

While packing the Jeep for the first time, reality set in. As full-time RVers, we don't really have to pack for trips because our home is the Bago. Over the past five years, it has been packed with everything we need (and probably then some). With careful planning and a lot of cramming, we did fit it all into the Jeep, then drove a half hour and found a great spot on the beach - complete with a thatched-palm shelter for $10 a night.

Camping Setup 

The next dose of reality was unpacking and setup. The “instant” tent did prove fairly easy to set up but still requires a rain fly, stakes, inflating, and making the bed. By contrast, our Bago camping setup is often limited to pushing a button for the automatic leveling system, moving out the slides, and setting up the rug and chairs outside. 

Winnebago Journey parked on beach during sunset

Comforts of Home

With setup complete, we relaxed with a cold drink (gracias 12V fridge) and the beach. Our meal that night was somewhat simple as we adjusted to not having a full kitchen and all the appliances and tools in the Bago (note: does this sound like whining?). 

Tent camping on beach under stars and palm trees

The stars eventually came out, and there was a blue glow of bioluminescence in the waves. I'm not sure if we made it to 9 p.m. (or Baja midnight, as they call it down here). Without too much artificial light at the beach, you tend to get sleepy early and wake up with the sun. 

Unfortunately, the bed turned out not to be as comfortable as we hoped, and we didn't pack enough blankets, so we ended up not sleeping that well. (On a subsequent trip to another deserted beach, we did add an egg crate foam topper and more blankets that made a difference in sleep quality).

Overall, we were happy with the tent we chose, although you definitely hear more noise from outside and a little flapping from the wind, so it's not quite the same as sleeping in an RV.  

Jaime reading on bed inside tent

Final Thoughts on Tent Glamping vs. RV Camping in our Winnebago

We did manage to make it three nights on our initial glamping trip and enjoyed great beach days, but we were happy to get back to the casita and our Bago – with a comfortable bed, shower, and all the things we are used to having at hand. 

RV casita in Baja

Overall, the glamping setup gets two thumbs up and makes for a good way to extend our Bago adventures. But definitely not a replacement. 

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