To some, camping means packing up the car, throwing down a tent, and enjoying nature. To others, it means a 40-foot RV with electricity and a king bed. Camping comes in as many varieties as campers themselves. Let’s take a look at 15 types of camping and how you can enjoy each.
15 Types of Camping Explained
With so many different ways of setting up camp, it can get quite complicated. Let’s explore 15 primary types of camping so you can see which suits you best.
RV camping is simply camping in an enclosed home on wheels. Whatever type of RV you choose is up to you. There’s something out there for almost everyone. There are also many types of RV camping. You’ve got RV parks where you can plug in. You can boondock or moochdock or park in parking lots. You can go just about anywhere and rough it (or not) to your heart’s content.
Tent camping can be quite simple or very complicated. And just like RV camping, there are many options to suit your style. Many campgrounds have tent sites that also have plug-in options.
With a car packed full of camping necessities, you can access many more places than an RV can reach, some quite remote. But there are also plenty of campgrounds catering to tent campers. And whether you bring an air mattress or just a sleeping bag, your tent, just like an RV, will be your home away from home.
Many have embarked upon long road trips in recent years, using the journey as a part of their destination. With the rising popularity of SUVs and hybrid vehicles that offer up enough space for a makeshift bed, taking your time is even more enjoyable. Instead of pitching your tent, you can make a cozy bed in your vehicle in a practice known as car camping.
Similar to tent and RV camping, there are many options for finding a cozy place for the night. You can park just about anywhere and set up for the night, making this one of the most versatile types of camping.
If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, try hammock camping. Hammocks made for sleeping are a bit more glamorous than hammocks made for merely sitting. You can pay for a site or find BLM land, but most hammock campers favor more remote areas.
Hammocks made for camping help keep the warmth in, so you’ll have material on the bottom to protect you from the cold air underneath. There will also be a covering on top to protect you from the elements and insects. This covering could be enclosed, or it could be a mesh covering similar to a tent without a rainfly.
Whatever type of hammock you choose, you’ll need something to attach it to, probably trees. That may be a limiting factor if you choose this type of camping in an actual campground. Many campgrounds don’t allow you to hang anything from trees, so have a backup plan.
Pro Tip: Don’t waste time searching for the perfect trees to hang your hammock from. Instead try out one of these 5 Best Portable Hammock Stands to Bring Camping.
From wilderness sites to mountain tops, backpacking makes the world easy to access. You have to carry everything you need for the trip and carry out all your waste, which tends to make backpackers very efficient.
Contrary to what many think, everyone can backpack. You don’t need to do a 50-mile, five-day trip. You could start with a simple overnight. Packing food, water, and gear for an overnight backpacking trip is a great way to learn what you actually need and how to pack.
Love biking? Love camping? Why not combine the two and head out on a bike camping excursion? Like backpacking, you’ll need to think carefully about everything you carry with you for this type of camping.
Keep supplies minimal, efficient, and compact. Everything has to fit on you and your bike. And since you’ll be riding the bike, you also want to make sure your bike is in good repair, and you have repair kits and tools for maintenance on the trails.
You can bike camp off-road on mountain biking trails, or you can “bike tour.” Bike touring involves sharing the same roads that cars and trucks use and finding either a campground or BLM land to camp on for the night.
Stealth camping is basically pulling over on the side of a street or in a parking lot to sleep for the night. The goal is stealth, so you’re not setting up a tent. Nor are you putting out slide-outs or setting up camp chairs. You’re sleeping in your vehicle or RV. Many RV or car campers will do this when exploring larger cities. It can be a way to visit shops, restaurants, breweries, and more when wandering around a new city.
This is camping, but with all the luxuries of a fancy hotel or house. Glamping sites are generally made out of a heavy-duty canvas, quite often complete with flooring. You’ll have electricity and a cushy bed. Some will have private bathrooms and showers within the tents. Others will have a bathhouse just outside the door. Some will have full kitchens and living rooms, along with a fireplace or two. As glamping is more similar to staying in a hotel room than tent camping, you should look to VRBO or Airbnb-type sites to find glamping opportunities.
Overland camping is almost the same as car and RV camping in that you can drive almost anywhere you want to go. The biggest difference with overland camping is that you’re most often in a 4WD vehicle, such as a Jeep or a fully outfitted van or rig built for off-roading. Most of these vehicles can go off-road, on four-wheeling trails, on beaches, and almost anywhere else.
These vehicles often contain rooftop tents, kitchen gadgets, and kitchens themselves. They’ll also have all the bells and whistles to get in and out of mud, sand, snow, and whatever else Mother Nature can throw at them. If you have a vision of traveling the world in a vehicle that can get you almost anywhere, try overland camping.
Pro Tip: Overlanding has been becoming increasingly popular for adventurers. Before you give it a go, read up on What Is Overlanding All About? Why People Do It, and How.
Canoe camping is the same idea as bike camping and motorcycle camping in that everything you need will have to fit on you and your vehicle. It’s different from those types of camping in that you’re camping at sites along the water and will most often have to acquire permits ahead of time.
With canoe camping, there are no campgrounds or amenities. It’s you, your gear, your canoe mates, and the beauty of the river. Don’t forget that you’ll have to pack out all of your waste.
Bushcraft Camping/Survivalist Camping
Survivalist camping entails heading out into the remote wilderness with only the clothes on your back and a knife. If you’re embarking upon this experience, you’ll need some training. You’ll need to know what you can eat in the wild, how to build a shelter, how to find and filter water. You’ll need to know how to start a fire without a lighter or match.
Many people who lead trips into the wilderness take courses that focus on survivalist camping. They learn skills such as building a friction fire and primitive hunting. They’ll also learn wilderness first aid skills and how to handle conflicts and catastrophes in the backcountry. One of the most prominent organizations that teaches these skills is NOLS.
Primitive camping means you’re using primitive tools to get you what you need. You can start a friction fire or bring along the tools you need to start a fire. But the campsite won’t provide anything for you. Don’t expect cell phone reception, electricity, toilets, or running water with this type of camping.
Motorcycle camping is similar to backpacking and bike camping in that everything you bring will have to fit on you or your bike. With a motorcycle, you can also easily tow a small trailer and bring a few more luxuries. You can pull over and camp in a full-on campground with all the amenities or a boondocking site in a remote area.
Cold Weather Camping
Cold weather camping generally refers to camping in winter in the snow. If you’ve never paid much attention to your equipment before, now’s the time to do so. You’ll need a true four-season tent and a sleeping bag that can handle the weather. Cold weather gear isn’t cheap, but it’s absolutely vital for this type of camping.
Keep in Mind: If you want to take your furry friend out camping with you, you must make sure they can also stay warm. Read more about Do Dogs Get Cold Camping?
Dry camping can apply to all the other types of camping described here. It doesn’t matter if you’re RV camping, tent camping, backpacking, cold weather camping, or whatever, dry camping is always an option. It simply means you have no hookups. No electricity, no sewage dump, no water. Everything you need for camping, you have to bring yourself. Dry camping makes you self-sufficient and teaches you to conserve precious resources.
What Are Your Favorite Types of Camping?
Now that you know more about the many types of camping, what are your favorite types? Have you tried them all? There are a lot of places to explore out there and a lot of ways to explore them if you prepare and research properly. Are you interested in pushing your limits and trying something outside of your comfort zone?
What is your favorite type of camping? Drop a comment below!
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