Camping is an outdoor activity involving overnight stays away from home in a shelter, such as a tent. Generally participants leave developed areas to spend time outdoors in more natural ones in pursuit of activities providing them enjoyment. To be regarded as “camping” a minimum of one night is spent outdoors, distinguishing it from day-tripping, picnicking, and other similarly short-term recreational activities. Camping can be enjoyed through all four seasons.
Luxury may be an element, as in early 20th century African safaris, but including accommodations in fully equipped fixed structures such as high-end sporting camps under the banner of “camping” blurs the line.
Camping as a recreational activity became popular among elites in the early 20th century. With time, it grew more democratic, and varied. Modern campers frequent publicly owned natural resources such as national and state parks, wilderness areas, and commercial campgrounds. Camping is a key part of many youth organizations around the world, such as Scouting, which use it to teach both self-reliance and teamwork.
Camping describes a range of activities and approaches to outdoor accommodation. Survivalist campers set off with as little as possible to get by, whereas recreational vehicle travelers arrive equipped with their own electricity, heat, and patio furniture. Camping may be combined with hiking, as in backpacking, and is often enjoyed in conjunction with other outdoor activities such as canoeing, climbing, fishing, and hunting.
There is no universally held definition of what is and what is not camping. Fundamentally, it reflects a combination of intent and the nature of activities involved. A children’s summer camp with dining hall meals and bunkhouse accommodations may have “camp” in its name but fails to reflect the spirit and form of “camping” as it is broadly understood. Similarly, a homeless person’s lifestyle may involve many common camping activities, such as sleeping out and preparing meals over a fire, but fails to reflect the elective nature and pursuit of spirit rejuvenation that are integral aspect of camping. Likewise, cultures with itinerant lifestyles or lack of permanent dwellings cannot be said to be “camping”, it is just their way of life.
Adventure camping is a form of camping by people who race (possibly adventure racing or mountain biking) during the day, and camp in a minimalist way at night. They might use the basic items of camping equipment such as a micro-camping stove, sleeping bag, and bivouac shelter.
Dry camping is camping at a site without a reliable preexisting water source; such locations are known as dry camps. Campers must carry their own water in and out of camp, which requires much more preparation than would otherwise be required. Dry camping is very common in deserts, and is often preferred due to the risk of flash floods.
Backpacking affords a maximum wilderness experience. Specialized gear allows enthusiasts to both enjoy popular local recreational spots and access the most remote locations.
Technological advance and consumer interest in camping have led to lighter and more diverse backpacking gear. Improvements such as titanium cookware, ultra-light wicking fabrics, and heat-molded hip straps make for lighter loads and enhanced performance. As there is always the possibility of severe weather and injury in the backcountry, cell and satellite phones are sometimes carried for emergencies, with varying coverage.
Backpacking may involve riding or being accompanied by pack animals such as horses, mules, and llama. These increase carrying capacity at the expense of trail condition.
Ultralight backpacking enthusiasts bring as little as possible while camping, inherently producing a smaller footprint and minimalized impact on a wilderness environment. The choice to camp with less, or even the minimum necessary to survive, may be a matter of preference (where it may overlap with “survivalist” style camping) or reflect the activity being pursued. Camping while engaging in such back-country activities as rock climbing and cross-country skiing puts a premium on the amount of gear that can effectively be carried, thus lending to a less rather than more approach.
Canoe camping is similar to backpacking, and often affords much more weight and bulk to be carried when extended portaging is not involved. Electric motors or small gas ones may be attached on some canoes, where allowed, for a faster journey on the water. Waterproof bags and fishing gear are common gear.
Bicycle camping combines camping with cycling, both in developed and natural areas. A form of bicycle camping that has become popular in some parts of the world involves cycling organisations offering organised multi-day rides and providing riders with facilities and luggage transport. The Great Victorian Bike Ride in Australia is one of the oldest and most successful examples of this, operating since 1984 and involving thousands of riders on a nine-day journey of around 550 kilometres (340 mi) each year.
Motorcycle camping is more similar to bicycle camping than car camping due to limited storage capacity. Lightweight, compact backpacking equipment is used.
Car, off-road, and RV
These forms of camping involve using a powered vehicle as an essential element of the camping experience. It is sometimes mistakenly thought that “car camping” means the camper sleeps in their vehicle, but this is not typically the common use of the phrase.
Glamping (glamorous camping) is a growing global phenomenon that combines camping with the luxury and amenities of a home or hotel. Its roots are in the early 1900s European and American safaris in Africa. Wealthy travellers accustomed to comfort and luxury did not want to sacrifice either, and their campsites and pampered wilderness lifestyles reflected it.
Reenactment camping employs the methods and equipment appropriate to a specific historic era for personal enjoyment and other purposes such as instruction and entertainment. Historical reenactors seek to replicate the conditions and technologies of such periods as the Wild West, American Civil War, and Medieval times.
Many campers enjoy socializing with small groups of fellow campers. Such groups will arrange events throughout the year to allow members with similar interests or from similar geographical areas in order to collaborate. This allows families to form small close-knit societies, and children to form lasting friendships. There are two large organizations in the UK who facilitate this sort of camping: the Caravan Club and the Camping and Caravanning Club.
Some who participate in this sort of camping feel that it brings a closer form of bonding, as members become more mutually dependent than they would otherwise be in modern society. Social camping can also build more of a bond between members of the same family and between different families. It is common for many campers to organize this type of activities with their friends or neighbors. Social camping goes beyond uniting families and it may also give the opportunity for lonely campers to enjoy this type of activity with individuals who share their enthusiasm in this matter.
Because of the bonding this type of camping promotes, it can also be used as a personnel training facility. In fact, many companies offer their employees this type of training because it helps connect people who do not necessarily know each other but who need to work in the same environment and need to get along successfully. Including this type of activity in a personnel training package is becoming more and more popular and it is also recommended because of the benefits it brings.
In more recent years, those who camp alone have been able to share their experiences with other campers, through blogs and online social networking. There are many online websites especially designed for people who are looking for camping companions or for those who only want to share their experiences with other people. In this case, campers may provide the others with useful tips resulting from their own experience. Individuals who are willing to camp are likely to access this type of websites and connect with other campers, especially if they are novices, because it gives them the opportunity to learn more about this activity.
Survivalist campers learn the skills needed to survive in any outdoor situation. This activity may require skills in obtaining food from the wild, emergency medical treatments, orienteering, and pioneering.
Special equipment allows enthusiasts to enjoy both local natural areas and reach the most deserted places.
The trend is towards ever easier equipment for hiking. There are developed titanium cookware, ultra-light sweat-transporting fabrics and hot-cast hipstrokes. As there is always the risk of extremely bad weather and to be damaged in deserted areas, mobile and satellite phones can be a great help in case of emergency.
Hiking can involve riding or carrying riding animals such as horses, molluscs or llamas. This gives increased load capacity, but also means that the hiking routes must be selected taking into account the four-legged carriers.
Ultralight backtracking is for enthusiasts who try to bring as easy a grip as possible, and possibly as few things as possible. Ultralight Backtrack enthusiasts believe that fundamental knowledge and expertise in survival on nature’s grounds is a better basis for security than what equipment manufacturers should promote as being essential security and backup equipment. With the main focus of the discipline on hiking, the campsite is prioritized, which builds more on techniques of comfort (such as how and where lying) than material comfort. [ source is missing ] Some also cultivate this form to leave a smaller impression or minimize damage to nature and possibly a conscious resource-saving equipment selection. This type of hiking can be used, for example, with packing, bikepacking, rock climbing and long-range mountain sheds.
Winter camping characteristically refers to wilderness camping in cold seasons in temperate climates, which typically include snow, rather than in areas where snow is present year-round (such as in arctic regions or mountains high enough to maintain permanent snow cover). It puts a premium on high quality and lightness of gear, experience, and nerve – as risks may include frostbite and becoming snowbound.
In addition to packing shelters such as tents or bivouac gear, alternative shelter-building skills are key, such as for snow caves and igloos. Wicking clothing suitable for layering and a regard for appropriate nutrition and food preparation are key.
Workcamping allows campers to trade their labor variously for discounts on campsite fees, campground utilities, and even some degree of pay. Workcamping is usually seasonal, from May to October, although in warm weather areas such as Florida and Arizona, it can be year round. Workcamping is prevalent among retired travelers, who often own their own recreational vehicles. They will trade labor at campground tasks, such as maintenance, against fees. Camp host programs favor trades of participation in hospitality roles, such as introducing new visitors to campground facilities and organizing group activities.
The equipment used in camping varies with by intended activity. For instance, in survival camping the equipment consists of small items which have the purpose of helping the camper in providing food, heat and safety. The equipment used in this type of camping must be lightweight and it is restricted to the mandatory items. Other types of camping such as winter camping involve having specially designed equipment in terms of tents or clothing which is strong enough to protect the camper’s body from the wind and cold.
Survival camping involves certain items that campers are recommended to have with them in case something goes wrong and they need to be rescued. A survival kit includes mandatory items which are small and must fit in one’s pocket or which otherwise could be carried on one’s person. This kit is useless in these circumstances if it is kept in the backpack that is left in camp. Such a kit should include a small metal container which can be used to heat water over a campfire, a small length of duct tape which can prove useful in many situations, and an emergency space blanket. These blankets are specially designed to occupy minimal space and are perfect for making emergency shelters, keeping the camper warm. Also because of the aluminum-like color this blanket is reflective which means it can be easily seen from an aircraft. Candle stubs are good in starting a fire as well as in warming an enclosed space. One or two band-aids are mandatory in this type of camping. Any camper, and not only the survival ones, need waterproof matches or a lighter and a large safety pin or fish hook which can be used in fishing. Rubber gloves, antiseptic wipes, tinfoil, jackknife, or halazone tablets (which purify the water) are also to be included into a survival kit. Although these seem too many items to be carried on one person, they are in fact small, lightweight and definitely useful.
Winter camping can be dangerous without respecting the basic rules when it comes to this particular activity.
Firstly, the cold is protected against with clothing of three types of layers as follows: a liner layer against the camper’s skin (longjohns), an insulation layer (fleece), and a water- and wind-proof outer shell. Although cotton is one of the best quality fabrics there is, it is not recommended to be worn on winter camping because if it gets wet it dries out very slowly and the wearer could freeze. Rather than cotton, winter campers should wear wool or synthetic materials. The boots must be waterproof and the head must be protected against the cold. Although it seems a good choice, campers are advised not to wear too many pairs of socks as they might restrict blood flow to the feet, resulting in cold feet. Gaiters should also be worn to avoid snow and rain wetting the boots.
Secondly, one should include carbohydrates into their diet to keep their body warm as well as to provide energy. Hydration is very important so winter campers should drink plenty of water to keep themselves well hydrated, noting that water stores must be kept from freezing.
Thirdly, the tent must be carefully chosen to shelter it from the wind.
List of common equipment
The following is a list of commonly used camping equipment:
First aid kit
Tent, lean-to, or other form of shelter
Hammer or mallet to drive tent stakes into the soil (hammer are often a claw hammer, which is also helpful for removing them)
Sleeping bag and/or blankets for warmth
Sleeping pad or air mattress to be placed underneath the sleeping bag for cushioning from stones and twigs, as well as for insulation from the ground
Lantern or flashlight
Hatchet, axe or saw for cutting firewood for a campfire
Fire starter or other ignition device for starting a campfire
Folding chairs for placement around campfire
Ropes for stringing clothes line and for securing the shelter
Tarp for adding additional layer of storm protection to a tent, and to shelter dining areas
Raincoat or poncho
Chuck box to hold camp kitchen items for food preparation, consumption and cleanup
Trash bags, for the handling of waste; see leave no trace
Cathole trowel for sanitation in areas where a toilet is not provided
Sunscreen for protecting the skin
Personal care products and towel
Cooler to store perishables and beverages. If electricity is available, a thermoelectric or stirling engine cooler can be used without the need for ice. Campers at modern campgrounds will normally bring perishable foods in coolers while backcountry campers will bring non-perishable foods such as dried fruits, nuts, jerky, and MREs.
Bottled water or portable water filter for areas that have access to rivers or lakes
Cooking implements such as a tripod chained grill, Dutch oven, or La Cotta clay pot can be used for cooking on a campfire. A portable stove can be used where campfires are forbidden or impractical. If using a campground with electricity, an electric frying pan or slow cooker can be used.
Firewood for campfires
Emergency Preparedness Kit
Multi-Tool or knife
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Much of the remaining needed camping equipment is commonly available in the home, including: dishes, pots and pans; however, many people opt not to use their home items, but instead utilize equipment better tailored for camping. These amenities include heavy plastic tableware and salt and pepper shakers with tops that close in order to shelter the shakers from rain. Old kitchen gear purchased from thrift stores or garage sales may also be used in place of home items as an alternative to buying specialized (and more expensive) camping equipment. Backpackers use lightweight and portable equipment.
Commercial campgrounds and similar can often be found outside cities and at vacation destinations. Often the campground caters to car campers as well as those coming only with a tent. Often there are also cabins or caravans for rent. The campgrounds usually have showers, kiosk, playground etc. However, facilities can range from the very basic (water that has to be boiled to be potable and outhouses for toilets) to something akin to a hotel with pre-built tents and permanently installed caravans for you to rent and supermarkets or private beach access.
Camping is a common option in national parks and similar. Always check whether you need a permit to camp, how much it costs and whether your choice of site will be restricted. You generally need to get permits either in advance or on arrival. Many popular national parks or protected sites have limited camping to particular sites and some have banned it altogether. When hiking, there will often be set camp sites a day’s walk apart, and often you are forbidden to camp between them. The facilities may be much more basic than at normal camping areas.
Permits can typically be obtained in advance or on arrival, but may be hard to get or sell out during very popular holiday periods. At very popular holiday periods the permits may actually be quite hard to get and sometimes sell out months in advance – don’t blithely plan a Christmas camping holiday without being sure you can get a permit if you need one.
In e.g. the Nordic countries the right to camp is a fundamental part of the right to access: you may put your tent more or less anywhere for a night or two, as long as your camping does not disturb or harm nature or people (out of sight, out of mind, mostly, but keep out of sensitive areas and check campfire regulations separately). If you want facilities, use paid camping grounds. In protected areas, check local rules.
On the other hand, the United States has very strict laws on private property, and you are not allowed to step onto privately owned land without explicit permission from the owner; in some areas it is legal for the owner to shoot you to defend his/her property should you do so. You can generally camp on public land with the exception of military areas if you leave no trace of your presence, but public and private land is often not clearly delineated, so be sure to do your research before you decide on a campsite.
Wild camping may be possible in any sparsely inhabited area, but check whether it is accepted practice. Sleeping rough is sometimes practiced where wild camping in the normal sense is not possible.
Especially in Europe, third party companies and often campsites themselves rent out fully equipped tents or mobile homes ranging from the relatively basic and inexpensive to price and comfort on par with hotels or vacation rentals. Sometimes called glamping, it is camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with traditional camping. Glamping has become particularly popular with 21st-century tourists seeking to combine the luxuries of hotel accommodation with the escapism and adventure recreation of camping. This type of camping has the upside of vastly reducing the amount of luggage you have to bring but limiting you to specific campsites. Some people think it dilutes the “true” camping experience.
Campgrounds and commercial campsites
Campers span a broad range of age, ability, and ruggedness, and campsites are designed in many ways as well. Many campgrounds have sites with facilities such as fire rings, barbecue grills, utilities, shared bathrooms and laundry, as well as access to nearby recreational facilities, but not all campsites have similar levels of development. Campsites can range from a patch of dirt, to a level, paved pad with sewer and electricity. (For more information on facilities, see the campsite and RV park articles.)
Today’s campers have a range of comforts available to them, whether their shelter is a tent or a recreational vehicle. Those choosing to camp closer to their car (“car camping”) with a tent may have access to potable hot water, tent interior lighting and fans, and other technological changes to camping gear. For those camping in recreational vehicles (RVs), options may include air conditioning, bathrooms, kitchens, showers, and home theater systems. In the United States, Canada and Europe, some campgrounds offer hookups where recreational vehicles are supplied with electricity, water, and sewer services.
Other vehicles used for camping include motorcycles, touring bicycles, boats, canoes, pack animals, and even bush planes; although backpacking on foot is a popular alternative.
Tent camping sites often cost less than campsites with full amenities, and most allow direct access by car. Some “walk-in” sites lie a short walk away from the nearest road, but do not require full backpacking equipment. Those who seek a rugged experience in the outdoors prefer to camp with only tents, or with no shelter at all (“under the stars”).
Although many people see in camping a chance to get out of the daily routine and improve their survival skills, others would rather benefit from the many amenities that campsites are nowadays equipped with. If a few decades ago camping meant a great deal of responsibility and knowledge about wild nature, today any individual who wants to spend a weekend away in the woods may also expect a high level of comfort.
The amenities that can be found in a campsite vary greatly, as do the prices campers must pay to use them. Usually, the most visited places tend to be more comfortable, more sought after, and more expensive. The cheapest option when it comes to camping still remains backpacking or tent camping, although it can lack some of the comforts of other options.
Many companies manufacturing camping accessories produce different types of equipment or gear that is intended to make camping a more comfortable activity. The gear used in camping is crucial and it can be a life saver. The right tent or food storage unit can easily save campers from insects or even bear attacks. The camping community has been known for its proclivity towards leaving unused gear at the trailhead for other hikers to use or swap.
From 2012 to 2013, over 40 million Americans – 14% of the United States population – went camping with a net loss of only 423,955 participants. According to an infographic produced by Red Rover Camping and based on data from the 2014 American Camper Report published by the Coleman Company, Inc. and the Outdoor Foundation, camping in the United States is gaining popularity after losing a net of 4.2 million participants from 2011 to 2012.
According to data provided by the Great British Tourism Survey conducted by Visit England, almost 4.5 million camping and caravanning holidays were taken by British residents during the first half of 2015, for an average of 3.7 nights. As with the United States, camping is gaining popularity, with an 8% increase in trips versus the same period of 2014.
A survey conducted by Campsites.co.uk in 2014 showed that campers planned to take three trips or more each year, with 78% spending 3 nights or more away. July and August were, by far, the most popular months for camping, with fewer than 2% of respondents opting to camp during winter months.
Data collected by the Federation Nationale De L’Hotelleire De Plein Air (FNHPA) shows that around 113 million nights were taken of French campsites in 2015 which was up by 3.9% on the same period in 2014. This figure consisted of around 77 million French holidaymakers and the rest was made up of other nationalities, the majority of which were Dutch, German and UK tourists. The French Government are hoping to have 100 million tourists each year by 2030. The most popular region for camping is Languedoc and Roussillon with around 19,331,663 nights spent at campsites during 2015, whilst the department with the most campsites is the Vendee.
In Denmark, the municipalities have approved about 500 campsites, and according to the tourist organization VisitDenmark, the standard is among the highest in Europe.. The Camping Council was a association representing campsites in Denmark. The Camping Association Association was responsible for the Danish section of the Danish / Swedish camping card scheme, which included a private classification based on a star system developed by the Swedish sister organization Camping Key Europe (CKE). The following organizations may be collaborated, but this is not Camping Key Europe (CKE) ‘s website: NHO Reiseliv iNorway, SCR in Sweden, Camping Finland, ANWB in the Netherlands and ADAC in Germany.
From November 2015 to October 2016, 8,187,091 campsites were made in Denmark. This was a decline of 3.3% compared to the same period last year. Throughout 2015, around 11 million nights were made, which was a decline of 1.0% compared with 2014. 34% of all Danish overnight stays in Denmark were made at camping, which was the most popular overnight stay, while this figures were only 11% of foreign tourists. More than half of all camping accommodations took place in Jutland. In 2014, NOK 4.7 billion was spent on camping tourists in Denmark, which was less than both hotel guests and tourists in holiday homes. The Danes spent more money on camping than other ferry types. Other statistics on this can be found in Statistics Denmark (camp1).
Camping is Sweden’s second most used tourist accommodation type and accounts for about one third of all holiday accommodations. June to August 45.4% of all commercial stays on campsites. The level of service at the recognized seats is classified with a nationally developed system based on stars where 5 stars mark the highest standard. In winter, most seats are closed, but some places make available to motorhomes and fixed with annual passes.
Sweden has some co-operative campsites organized in chains where the Regenbogen (rainbow), Nordic Camping, Public Camp, First Camp, Family Camp and the Grönklitt group are the most widely used.
The majority of larger places in Sweden are members of SCR (Swedish Camping) and to camp on these, a CKE card (Camping Key Europe) is required, where SCR Swedish is one of the partners. The others are NHO Reiseliv in Norway, Camping Council in Denmark, Camping Finland, ANWB in the Netherlands and ADAC in Germany.
In Austria, it is only allowed to camp at official campsites and publicly designated and supervised seats. On transit, however, it is permitted to park a camper in certain places outside the official seats, subject to special rules in Vienna.
Camping is in clear growth in Austria, where approx. half of the campers are foreign tourists..
Source from Wikipedia