- Associated Press - Saturday, June 14, 2014

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Hipsters have a name for it: They call it glamorous camping or “glamping.”

Whether it’s baby boomers whose lumbars won’t abide sleeping bags on the ground anymore, or millenials who think it’s unreasonable and even dangerous to be out in the woods without access to the Internet, camping has gone upscale. That canvas pup tent in the attic might as well stay there. That’s not what camping in 2014 typically looks like.

John and Carol Crowe, of Milwaukee, might not consider the kind of camping they do “glamorous.” But it’s not slumming either. The 24-foot motor home they bought in 2000 began to feel a little small. So they bought a 34-footer.

“After about five or six years, we were looking for something bigger,” Carol said recently, while the couple was enjoying the Mississippi River at the Grant River Recreation Area campground south of Potosi.

John grew up in the Seattle area and was a Boy Scout, so he knows his way around a pup tent.

“Camping is in my blood, and family vacations were inexpensive camping,” he told the Telegraph Herald (http://bit.ly/1idiT9s).

But with age comes a certain affinity for some creature comforts. For those who want the great outdoors, but still want their air conditioning, the recreational vehicle fills that bill.

Stanley and Bonnie Venden, of Madison, Wisconsin, also were relaxing at the Potosi-area campground. “We’ve evolved from four kids and a tent to this,” said Bonnie, motioning toward their large, comfortable and well-equipped motor home.

The Crowes and the Vendens are part of a growing trend in the U.S.

A record 9 million RVs are on roads across the country, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. Shipments of RVs (motor homes, travel trailers, sport utility RVs, truck campers and folding camping trailers) climbed by 13 percent in 2012, the most recent year for which complete data is available.

The ever-growing fleet of RVs, many with a full complement of modern conveniences, also is representative of another trend, according to some outdoor enthusiasts. The latest technology has infiltrated campgrounds; for many, a camping trip is no longer about roughing it.

“I think back in the days, in the tents, there was more family time,” said Cliff Payne, 60, operator of Great River Road RV Campground in Guttenberg, Iowa.

Thirty years ago, he and his wife, Carmen, used to camp with their four children in a 1969 Shasta trailer that slept six or in tents.

“Now, we’re losing a little bit of that family time now to the new stuff: the smartphones and Internet,” he said. “It’s not as close-knit and ‘roughing it’ as it used to be.”

Kurt Kramer, a park ranger for the Dubuque County Conservation Board, recalls the “old” days, when, as a Boy Scout and an undergrad at Upper Iowa University, he often went tent camping.

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