What’s Your Style of “Get Out and Go Camping”?
When I tell people that I’m going camping, I often wonder what goes through their head. Do they imagine me alone in the middle of the wilderness or do they imagine me kicking back in a camper? The more I think about this, the more forms of camping I come up with. The word “camping” covers a broad range of camping styles. While there are a lot of varieties, they can be summed up in three major categories: comfort camping, tent camping, and adventure camping.
The appeal is exactly what the title implies – it’s comfortable. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s as comfortable as home (although, I have seen some situations where it looked that way), it just means that more comfort and security is usually a perk of camping this way. Examples of comfort camping would include cabins, RVs, campers, and any other sort of mobile structure. There is really no limit to the perks you could have with this style of camping, but typically you would have a more solid structure, more space, and access to electricity. This can be a great set up if you carry a lot of gear, camp with a lot of people, or camp with a pet. I personally, don’t have too much experience in this style, although my parents did have a pop-up camper when I was young. I do remember camping with it a few times, and we would also set it up in our back yard sometimes just for fun. Either way, it was fun to have a home away from home.
Again, the title sums it up, this would include most styles of camping that involve a tent. This becomes a different category because a tent is drastically different from a camper or a cabin. There is no solid structure and most tents are generally compact. Some tent campers will use an electrical hook up, but most do not. Tent camping involves setting up a tent in a fixed location. A good example of this would be setting up a tent at a state park, there is a designated spot to set up your tent and you don’t plan on moving its location until you trip comes to an end. Car camping is probably the most common form of tent camping. You have your tent set up for sleeping, but your car is parked close by to hold any extra gear that you may have. It’s also a handy place for storing your food overnight. The appeal of tent camping is that you’re enjoying nature with a little bit of ruggedness. Your tent does not always protect you from the elements (especially if it is cold) and you usually sleep on the ground. The level of ruggedness depends on the campers preference. You could sleep on the ground with a sleeping bag or you could sleep on a cot with a down comforter. Another appeal of tent camping is that it can be the cheapest way to go camping. I say “can be” because if you’re like me, it’s really easy to spend money on cool camping gear. My wife and I are tent campers. We use camping as a way to enjoy nature, but we also try to get away from the noises of everyday life such as radios, TVs, dogs, etc. Most tent sites are relatively quite, but a lot of it depends on the campsite.
This is a more extreme way to camp. Adventure campers carry all their equipment, whether it be on their person or in a canoe. Generally, they aren’t going to camp in a single location, but rather they travel from spot to spot. Backpackers, bicyclists, and paddlers fit this description. Wilderness survival trips would fit into this category as well. Sleeping arrangements could be anything from small tents to building your own shelter to sleeping under the stars. Whatever you use you have to carry with you so the less gear you have, the easier it is to move. The thrill of this style of camping is in the adventure. You rely more on your own skills and less on modern technology. You often reach places that aren’t accessible by roads. I have not done much of this kind of camping, however, I hope to do more of it in the future. When I was a boy scout we had to make our own shelter and sleep in it for the Wilderness Survival merit badge. I loved this concept (and still do), but I was not as prepared as I should have been. I had another scout with me and we built a shelter and then made a fire. Unfortunately, though, it got so cold that night that we ended up using the sticks from our shelter to keep the fire going all night.
The key to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to go camping (but there is easier and more difficult). It’s all up to the individual and their interests. When deciding to go camping, think about what you want to do and how you want to do it, your instincts will tell you the rest. If you’ve been camping a while, feel free to share what your favorite style of camping is.