Camping 101

Camping 101

Think camping and images of propping up a canvas home in the wilderness and cooking over a crackling fire come to mind. But this traditional outdoor adventure has taken on a modern twist for urbanites here: Meals come in takeaway containers from nearby food centres; spiffy toilet facilities are within sniffing distance; and everyone has a smartphone app that leads to the nearest supermarket, among other amenities.

This is convenience camping at its best, following closely on the heels of "glamping", or glamorous camping, in other countries. Last week, some hotels in New York were reported to have erected tents on their roof terraces so guests can enjoy creature comforts in an outdoor setting.

Meanwhile, some safari camp operators in countries such as Africa and Australia have been modelling their lavish tents after the portable palaces of Ottoman sultans from a bygone era, giving wealthy guests a proper taste of "glamping".

You, too, can take a break from the city bustle without actually roughing it out in Singapore, even if it is not as luxurious. Sticking (very) close to civilisation, campers usually set up their tents on sites near toilets, fast-food restaurants and convenience stores.

Some people do not even spend the night, choosing instead to arrive early in the morning to pitch their tents for a taste of the great outdoors then return home to warm beds when night falls.

They also lug along assorted aids to enhance comfort, such as portable fans, mosquito nets, foam mats and cushy sleeping bags made of a type of light and fluffy material called hollow fibre. The activities, though, have not varied much since the old days: canoeing, fishing, swimming and playing frisbee.

As Mr Jason Seah, 37, puts it, Singapore-style camping is an "entirely different lifestyle".

"It is not really camping in the real sense of the word because we have modern-day reminders and conveniences all around us," says the operations manager, who was at Changi Beach Park last Saturday evening with his wife and two children.

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