High snows. Cold temperatures. Brutal winds. Camping at altitude in the Alps during the winter is for the hard core. But going glamping — glamorous camping — needn’t be.
Travel in the Alps offers many opportunities to experience the rugged charm and back-to-nature feeling of staying in a tent without, you know, having to stay in a tent. Spot Cool Stuff readers might remember our review of the disappearing-and-then-reappearing Whitepods ski resort or our post about the boutique hiking hut at the base of the Matterhorn. To those we now add the PodHotel Flims — though the “hotel” in the name is a serious misnomer.
Heretofore, Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite camping stove was the Jetboil. The gas-burning stove is compact, light weight and seems to have an accessory for every type of cooking. But, recently, the Jetboil was eclipsed as our choice for The World’s Coolest Camping Stove by a new offering: the BioLite CampStove.
The BioLite can do two things that no other easily portable camping stove in the world can do (or, at least do well):
• The BioLite runs on twigs. No charcoal, fuel canisters or logs required.
• The BioLite can charge a smartphone or MP3 player or most any small electronic device that can be charged via a USB outlet.
Spot Cool Stuff is a huge fan of glamping. The word is a conjunctive of “glamorous” and “camping” and can describe pretty much any travel experience that is more luxurious than staying in a typical tent but more outdoorsy than an ordinary hotel. A glamping experience might involve sleeping in a portable treehouse, staying in a human-sized bird nest, making an espresso in the middle of nowhere—or touring in a cool camping trailer.
The number of unusual, creatively-designed campers currently on the market is truly amazing. Clearly neither the upward trend in road traffic or fuel prices are deterring some people from taking a mini-home with them on an adventure. Here’s our rundown of five especially cool caravan camping trailers:
When you visit Berlin will you stay in an artsy boutique hotel? In a low cost hostel? In a trailer park?
The wonderfully cool thing about The Hüttenpalast is that the accommodations are all three of those—at once!
At Spot Cool Stuff we’ve reviewed more than our share of unusual hotels. But rarely have we found one that offers such an unconventional experience with such a relatively high level of comfort at such a relatively low price†.
They call it a “portable suspended habitation unit.” It functions like a hybrid between a tent and a hammock. We think of it as a portable treehouse apartment.
It’s the Tentsile.
Suspend one between trees and the Tentsile provides a cocoon-like sleeping and living area above the forest floor. It might not be “the world’s most versatile tent” that the manufacturer claims it to be. But it is one of the coolest glamping (glamorous + camping) products we’ve seen.
Three models of Tentsile are available:
Visit the site of the Whitepod ski resort in the Swiss Alps between April and November and what you’ll see of it is . . . nothing.
You’ll see no roads. No electrical wires. No place to stay. Just a 19th century farmhouse and a pristine alpine meadow that’s begging for some von Trapp kids to twirl around in it Sound Of Music style. The views of the snow peaks from this place 1,700 meters (5,600 feet) above the oceans might be the grandest untouched mountain vista in Europe. “Untouched” being the key word.