The Essentials of Camping
Camping is a peaceful getaway from the hustle-bustle of city life. It is mostly carried out in the lap of nature, with fresh air and wildlife for company. One can pitch a tent, or choose to stay in a recreational vehicle like a caravan, mini RV, or camper-van. Caravanning became popular in the 1930s, and camping in the US became a proper post-World War II pursuit, as Americans became more mobile and looked for new recreation options.
A minimum of one night spent outdoors is considered “camping,” separating it from a casual day trip, or having an outdoor picnic and other similar short term leisure activities.
Camping is often paired with other outdoor pursuits, such as hiking or trekking, whitewater rafting, canoeing, paddleboarding, and kayaking, offering one the ultimate experience outdoors. Camping gear can be easily rented on TripOutside in some of the top outdoor destinations.
Below are some of the various types of camping:
Types of Camping
Tent camping is the most popular style of camping. It includes heading to an outdoor spot, pitching the camping tents, and spending a night there while cooking your own food, perhaps building a campfire, and admiring the view. You can choose to stay at a designated campsite, in the mountains, in a park, at a beach or in many other places. Just carry your camping tent along with all of the camping supplies you need and you are good to go. Many people enjoy backpacking, which includes tent camping after a long day of hiking and carrying all of the supplies you need for your camping trip in a pack on your back. With tent camping, one can take advantage of a wide range of facilities like private campgrounds, state or local parks, or national forest land.
RV camping allows you to take all the luxury and comforts of home to the camping site with you. Traveling in an RV provides a lot of independence, and your campground becomes any place you decide to park your vehicle. RVs also provide protection from the harsh wind, sun, and bad weather. Typically people use campgrounds when RVing, or find dispersed camping spots to park and camp at. Campgrounds can range from luxury private facilities with lots of amenities like pools and clubhouse, to a simple gravel pad in a state or local park.
Car camping is usually used interchangeably with tent camping, but it involves driving to a camping destination in a vehicle and setting up a tent to camp in. Sometimes people also sleep in their vehicle or have a rooftop tent or similar way to camp directly in their vehicle.
Dispersed camping is camping outside of a designated campground, without having access to any amenities. It is also referred to as “dry camping”, and many times it is free camping. This can mean simply driving up to a park or woods and parking your RV or vehicle and camping there (as allowed per local land management rules). The Western U.S. has many acres of public land where dispersed camping is allowed, and popular with campers – especially because much of it is free camping! You might find yourself completely alone with no other campers for a large distance.
Canoe camping is similar to backpacking, except you also have a canoe or kayak and travel primarily by water. This allows you to reach places that may not be accessible by car, or even hiking. This type of camping is ideally suited for groups of at least two or more people and tend to be in destinations that are more remote.
Camping Near Me
Finding the best location to camp is one of the essential steps for camping. Before you head out for your camping trip let’s look at some of the awesome places that you might want to explore.
Camping in Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota
Camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is primarily canoe camping. The BWCA falls under the Superior National Forest in the northeastern part of Minnesota and is spread across 1M acres of land. The Boundary Waters has over 2000 campsites and 1000 lakes and streams to traverse. This wilderness is popular among adventurers for camping, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and hiking. With hundreds of amazing camping spots, a trip to the BWCA is the ultimate camping trip for many. TripOutside features the best local BWCA camping outfitters that provide top-notch camping gear rentals, partial and full outfitting, and guided trips.
Zion National Park Camping from Las Vegas
Although popular for its entertainment, shopping, and nightlife, Las Vegas is also the gateway to southern Utah’s spectacular outdoor scene. Rental shops like Jucy RV Rental can hook you up with a campervan to make the beautiful road trip to Utah and explore its many National Parks and outdoor recreation areas. You can choose from Jucy Wavefarers Van, or the Jucy Trailblazers mini-RV, and drive to incredible camping destinations like Zion National Park or the Grand Canyon. Enjoy activities like canyoneering, paddle boarding, and mountain biking in the area during your camping trip.
Camping in Moab, Utah
Located in eastern Utah, Moab is known for it’s fantastic mountain biking and the extensive trails it has to offer. While hiking, biking, rafting, and rock climbing are some of its popular activities, it also attracts many outdoor enthusiasts looking to camp. Local outdoor activity providers in Moab will help ensure you have all of the necessary camping gear for your trip!
San Francisco, California Camping
Famous for its restaurants, Golden Gate Bridge, and cable cars, San Francisco offers a little bit of almost everything. Although known for its city attractions, San Francisco is also a great place to start a road trip. Renting a campervan or RV in San Francisco allows you to take your ultimate California road trip, whether you head to the Sierra Nevada mountains, the stunning California coast, Napa Valley or the Redwood Forests.
Los Angeles, California Camping
With the iconic Hollywood sign and famous studios like Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, and Universal spread around, L.A. is highly popular for its film and television industry. L.A. makes an ideal starting point for those peaceful camping getaways. So, if you are planning to hit the road and explore California in all its glory, you can rent a top-quality van or mini-RV in Los Angeles. From there, the road trip options are endless – from the beaches of Malibu and Santa Barbara to Mammoth Lakes high up in the Sierras.
Camping Gear Checklist
A camping trip is not your usual vacation where you have access to all the luxuries. It’s better to be prepared and carry all of the camping essentials that will come in handy during your camping excursion. Apart from choosing appropriate clothes according to the weather and stocking up on camping food, there are many things that will be required to have a comfortable stay in the woods. Check out our camping checklist to make sure you have all of the camping essentials for your next tent camping or RV camping road trip!
- Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, camping pillow
- Camp table & chairs
- Camping Food (in appropriate storage containers)
- Reusable water bottle
- Extra batteries
- Cell phone chargers and power bank
- Cooler (to store camping food and beverages)
- Camping stove & fuel
- Cooking pots, pans, dishes & cutlery
- Basic first aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Dishwash soap
- Handsoap and sanitizer
- Toilet paper
- Quick-dry towel
Hopefully this camping list will help you pack all your camping essentials and avoid forgetting anything critical.
When is the Best Time of Year to Camp?
Camping can be enjoyed through all four seasons, although it is most popular in the summer due to the favorable temperatures. When camping in destinations that have colder winters, many campgrounds close in the winter – so paying attention to opening and closing dates is critical. In destinations that are warm year-round, many campgrounds are also open all year. Different times of the year will allow you to witness different views and experiences, depending on where you are at in the country.
The main thing to keep in mind when camping is being prepared for the weather. Even in summer, the chance for rain and thunderstorms can completely change your camping experience.
Summer weather is the most common camping season because usually the weather is dry and warm, and spending time outdoors is quite enjoyable for most. Most campgrounds will be open, but may also fill up quickly – so it’s important to reserve ahead of time, especially for busy weekends and holidays.
Camping in the fall season is equally great as the weather can be very pleasant, and many people enjoy the fantastic fall leaf colors from their campsites.
Spring is one of those fluctuating camp seasons as it may be warmer during the day but might get colder in the evening. This time of year brings the most variations in temperature but can be worth it if you are well prepared. The lack of crowds means you may have the place to yourself!
Lastly, the winter season can be a bit challenging for camping but offers some of the most breathtaking views, and definite lack of crowds. Although, some extra challenges may be involved in winter destinations.