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Camping is an outdoor recreational activity.The participants, known as campers, leave urban areas, their home region, or civilization and enjoy nature while spending one or several nights, usually at a campsite, which may have cabins. Camping may involve the use of a tent, a primitive structure, or no shelter at all.

Camping as a recreational activity became popular in the early 20th century. Campers frequent national parks, other publicly owned natural areas, and privately owned campgrounds.

Camping is also used as a cheap form of accommodation for people attending large open air events such as sporting meetings and music festivals. Organizers will provide a field and basic amenities.

Definition

Camping describes a range of activities. Survivalist campers set off with little more than their boots, whereas recreational vehicle travelers arrive equipped with their own electricity, heat, and patio furniture. Camping is often enjoyed in conjunction with activities, such as: hiking, hill walking, climbing, canoeing, mountain biking, swimming, and fishing. Camping may be combined with hiking either as backpacking or as a series of day hikes from a central location.

Some people vacation in permanent camps with cabins and other facilities (such as hunting camps or children's summer camps), but a stay at such a camp is usually not considered 'camping'. The term camping (or camping out) may also be applied to those who live outdoors, out of necessity (as in the case of the homeless), or for people waiting overnight in queue. It does not, however, apply to cultures whose technology does not include sophisticated dwellings. Camping may be referred to colloquially as roughing it.

Range of amenities

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 close access to 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. Today, backcountry campers can pack-in comfortable mattresses, compact chairs, and solar powered satellite phones. Those choosing to camp closer to their car ("car camping") with a tent have access to portable hot water, tent interior lighting, and technological changes to camping gear. For those camping in recreational vehicles (RVs), options include air conditioning, bathrooms, kitchens, showers, and home theatre systems. In the United Statesmarker, Canadamarker 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, using pack animals, and even bush planes; although backpacking 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").

Mobile camping



Backpacking is a mobile variety of tent camping. Backpackers use lightweight equipment that can be carried long distances on foot. They hike across the land, camp at remote locations, and often select campsites at will if resource protection rules allow. Backpacking equipment typically costs more than that for car camping, but still far less than a trailer or motorhome, and backpacking campsites are generally cheap.

Canoe camping is similar to backpacking, but uses canoes for transportation; much more weight and bulk can be carried in a canoe or kayak than in a backpack. Canoe camping is common in North America.

One form of bicycle touring combines camping with cycling. The bicycle is used to carry the gear and as the primary means of transportation, allowing greater distances to be covered than backpacking.

Motorcycle camping is more comparable to bicycle camping than car camping due to the limited storage capacity of the motorbike. Motorcycle camping riders, as well as bicycle touring riders, often use some of the same equipment as backpackers because of the lighter weights and compact dimensions associated with backpacking equipment.

Specialized camping

Survivalist campers learn the skills needed to survive in any out-door situation. This activity may require skills in obtaining food from the wild, emergency medical treatments, orienteering, and pioneering.

"Winter camping" refers to the experience of camping outside during the winter - often when there is snow on the ground. Campers and outdoorspeople have adapted their forms of camping and survival to suit extremely cold nights and limited mobility or evacuation. Methods of survival when winter camping includes: building snow shelters (quinzhees), dressing in "layers," staying dry, using low-temperature sleeping bags, and fueling the body with appropriate food.

Workcamping allows campers to trade their labor for a free campsite, and sometimes even for utilities and additional pay.

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 bag.

Camping is a key part of the program of many youth organizations around the world, such as Scouting. It is used to teach self-reliance and team work.

Boutique Camping is found at music festivals in the UK. Also called glamping, posh camping or comfy camping. It allows people to escape the hassles of finding camp space, carrying their tents, and erecting and taking down nylon tents. Companies deliver accommodation units to the festival, as well as build and breakdown the units for their guests. Various companies with various products exist. These products include: tents, bell tents, podpads, yurts, and tipis.

Sail Camping is a form of camping while sailing or boating. Sailers will visit islands and campgrounds along the shorelines, dock their boats, and set up camp. This form of sail camping gives a variety activities to the boater they may want a break from being on the water.

Camping equipment

Dome tent, UK, 2005
Camping equipment includes:

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. Backpackers use lightweight and portable equipment.

Social camping

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. In states such as Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, and Colorado, children, under the age of 18, do not need adult supervision in order to enjoy nature, as long as the camp is in designated recreational or camp areas. However, in some states such as Arkansas, Rhode Island, and Georgia, many people cannot camp until the age of 21 without a proper camping permit. There are two large organizations in the UK who facilitate this sort of camping: the Caravan Club and the Camping and Caravanning Club.

In more recent years, those who camp alone have been able to share their experiences with other campers, through blogs and online social networking.

See also



References

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