Types of camping

Types of Camping: An Outdoor Enthusiast’s Guide

Camping, an enduring outdoor adventure, presents many exciting ways to connect with nature. This diverse activity offers something for every outdoor enthusiast, with variations catering to different preferences, abilities, and experience levels. Understanding the distinct types of camping can significantly enhance your outdoor ventures, allowing you to choose the style that best suits your needs, interests, and comfort level.

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From traditional tent camping to the more modern phenomenon of glamping, each type of camping offers a unique experience. Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker seeking solitude in the wilderness or an amateur camper looking for a comfortable, eco-friendly camping experience, there’s a style for you. With the proper knowledge, you can confidently embark on your next outdoor journey, fully prepared for the adventure that awaits.

The Popularity of Camping

Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a novice looking for a new adventure, camping offers an experience unlike any other. It’s an activity that has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, with millions of individuals and families pitching their tents and hitting the open road each year or just doing backyard camping. The appeal of camping lies in its simplicity and the opportunity to connect with nature.

It is Varied 

One of the reasons for the growing popularity of camping is the range of different types of camping it encompasses. From tent camping to RV camping, glamping to backpacking, there’s a style of camping to suit every preference and level of outdoor skills. Each type of camping offers a unique experience and caters to different needs and interests.

An increasingly popular form of camping is dispersed camping. This is a type of camping that takes place outside of designated campgrounds. It offers a sense of adventure and an opportunity to immerse oneself in the great outdoors. Dispersed camping has a minimal environmental footprint, making it an excellent choice for eco-conscious campers. It’s also a fantastic option for those seeking solitude and a break from the crowds associated with more traditional camping sites.

But dispersed camping isn’t just about being off the beaten track. It also involves adhering to specific rules and regulations to protect the camper and the natural environment. For instance, campers are encouraged to use existing roads and to make sure they avoid camping too close to features like waterways. These guidelines help preserve the area’s natural beauty and ensure it remains enjoyable for others.

It Is Full Of Outdoor Adventures

Another alluring aspect of camping is the scope for outdoor adventure it provides. Whether hiking through a forest, cooking meals over an open fire, or stargazing at night, camping offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. These experiences, coupled with the sense of freedom and escape from the routine of everyday life, contribute to the popularity of camping.

Cheaper Way To Travel

Moreover, camping is a cost-effective way to travel and explore new places. Compared to other forms of vacationing, this affordability is another reason camping is a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts. From primitive camping to glamping, there’s an option to suit every budget.

The Pleasures Of Nature

Part of the charm of camping also comes from the simple pleasures it brings. The smell of a crackling campfire, the soothing melody of birdsong in the morning, or relishing delicious meals at eco-friendly picnic tables under the vast open sky. These awe-inspiring moments create lasting memories and foster a deep appreciation for nature and the environment, aligning with the Eco-Friendly Explorers Ethic. It’s no wonder that these experiences keep people coming back to camping time and time again.

The Flexibility Of Camping 

Furthermore, camping is a highly flexible activity. Depending on your interests and comfort level, you can make your camping trip as relaxed or as adventurous as you may want to go. This adaptability is another factor that adds to the appeal of camping.

At the heart of camping’s popularity is its connection with nature. It’s an opportunity to slow down, to appreciate the natural world, and to spend quality time with loved ones. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or an extended outdoor adventure, camping provides a means to escape everyday life’s hustle and bustle and reconnect with the great outdoors.

Camping continues to hold a special place in the hearts of outdoor enthusiasts. With its versatility, affordability, and the sheer joy it provides, it’s no wonder that camping remains a popular choice for those seeking adventure and a break from the ordinary.

Understanding Different Types of Camping

Camping is an outdoor adventure that appeals to so many people because of its diversity. Regardless of your preferences or capabilities, there is a style of camping that will work for everyone. Whether you are a seasoned explorer or a casual enthusiast, understanding the different types of camping can enhance your outdoor experience.

From the basic type of camping, like pitching a tent in the wild, to more sophisticated forms, like glamping, each style offers a unique way to connect with nature. Some prefer the simplicity of primitive camping, while others opt for amenities like shared bathrooms or even swimming pools. It’s not just about spending a night under the stars; it’s about immersing yourself in the great outdoors and breathing in the fresh air.

Tent Camping

Tent camping, a classic style of camping, involves setting up camp in a designated area and spending a night or several in a tent. This primary type of camping is versatile and allows you to experience the great outdoors in its most authentic form. Whether on a mountain top, by a lake, or in a forest, pitching a tent offers an intimate connection with nature.

Tent Camping

This type of camping may appeal to those who love the simplicity of outdoor living. You may have to forego some luxuries like electricity or running water, but the trade-off is the tranquility and beauty of nature. Winter camping in a tent can be challenging but offers a unique outdoor adventure.

For more detailed information about tent camping, from choosing the right tent to selecting the best campsite, you can visit the REI Expert Advice page.

Car Camping

Car Camping

Car camping, or van camping, is another popular form of camping that combines the convenience of access to a vehicle with the fun of outdoor camping. Car camping simply means you typically camp near your car, providing easy access to supplies and a quick retreat in case of bad weather. It’s a great way to explore the outdoors without venturing too far away from home and comfort.

This type of camping is ideal for families or individuals who enjoy outdoor activities but prefer a little more comfort. You can also bring along more gear with car camping, from your favorite pair of hiking boots to an extensive first aid kit. You also have access to electricity for charging devices or running small appliances.

For beginners looking to start car camping, the Adventure Junkies website offers a comprehensive guide on how to effectively car camp, from choosing the suitable campsite to packing essential gear.

RV Camping

RV Camping, or RV-ing, is an outdoor adventure that combines the thrill of camping with the convenience and comfort of a modern home. It involves using a Recreational Vehicle (RV), usually equipped with amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping quarters. It’s like van camping, but bigger and with more conveniences. This type of camping is trendy among those who appreciate the natural beauty of national parks and other outdoor locales but still want the comforts of home.

RV Camping

RV camping appeals to a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts, from families seeking a safe and comfortable way to explore the outdoors to retired couples looking for a unique and relaxed way to travel. It’s also a popular choice for those who want to avoid the hassle of setting up tents or carrying heavy backpacks. With RV camping, your home is on wheels, allowing you to pack once and travel at your leisure.

RV parks and campgrounds, including those in national parks, often have dedicated parking lots for RVs, offering facilities like electricity and water hookups, shower facilities, and even stores with supplies. To learn more about RV camping, visit the KOA campgrounds website, which provides a comprehensive guide on RV camping and various RV parks nationwide.



Backpacking is a thrilling outdoor adventure that entails carrying all your camping gear and essentials in a backpack while exploring on foot. It epitomizes the essence of backcountry camping, emphasizing self-sufficiency and immersing oneself in the beauty of nature. When embarking on a backpacking trip, it’s crucial to be well-prepared. Creating a comprehensive hiking checklist ensures that you have everything you need for a successful and enjoyable journey.

One of the greatest advantages of backpacking is the opportunity to discover remote and stunning locations, as well as backcountry campsites that are inaccessible by car or RV. This allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and truly connect with nature. Whether you’re exploring rugged mountains, serene forests, or picturesque trails, backpacking offers a unique experience that rejuvenates the mind, body, and soul.

Furthermore, backpacking attracts adventurers and nature lovers who relish physical activity and don’t mind roughing it. It requires endurance, adaptability, and a willingness to embrace the unexpected. Despite the challenges, the rewards are immense – from breathtaking panoramic views to the sense of accomplishment that comes from conquering difficult terrains.

In addition to the personal rewards, backpacking is an excellent choice for those who prioritize eco-friendly camping practices. By leaving a minimal environmental footprint, backpackers can enjoy the beauty of nature while preserving it for future generations. This includes practicing Leave No Trace principles, minimizing waste, and respecting wildlife and their habitats.

So, if you’re seeking an unforgettable outdoor experience that combines adventure, self-discovery, and a deep connection with nature, backpacking is the perfect choice. Just remember to pack your backpack with all the essentials, follow your hiking checklist, and embrace the wonders that await you along the trail. Happy backpacking!

Boat Camping

Boat camping is a unique type of camping that involves using a boat as your primary means of transportation and, often, your accommodation as well. This type of camping allows you to explore lakes, rivers, and coastal areas while enjoying the comfort of your boat. Like in dispersed camping, boat campers can anchor in various locations, providing flexibility and the opportunity to enjoy secluded spots and get away from crowded campgrounds.

This type of camping is perfect for those who love water activities such as fishing, swimming, and kayaking. It also appeals to those who appreciate solitude and the ability to set their own course. Boat camping requires some additional skills and equipment compared to van camping and other types of camping, such as navigation and safety equipment.

Check out the National Park Service website to learn more about boat camping and the specific regulations that might apply. It offers detailed information about boat camping in national parks, including rules about dispersed camping and the use of picnic tables and other facilities.

Bike Camping

Bike camping or bikepacking is a unique form of camping that combines cycling with overnight stays in the great outdoors. This type of camping requires you to carry all your camping gear on your bicycle, allowing you to explore off-the-beaten-path locations and experience dispersed camping. It’s an eco-friendly camping option that lets you cover significant ground without a substantial environmental footprint.

Bike camping aka bikepacking

Bike and camping trips may appeal to those who enjoy outdoor activities and are adventurous. This type of camping is an excellent choice for those who love cycling, as it takes the sport to a new level by incorporating camping. Bike camping also offers an opportunity to connect with nature, offering a peaceful retreat from the fast-paced urban life.

For those interested in learning more about bike camping, the Adventure Cycling Association provides comprehensive guides and tips to get you started on your bike camping journey.

Cabin/Yurt/Hut Camping

Cabin, yurt, or hut camping is in a semi-permanent structure provided at the campsite. These structures offer a more comfortable and secure shelter than a tent and often come with basic amenities like beds, a stove, and sometimes electricity. Cabin camping is an excellent choice for those who wish to experience the beauty of nature without sacrificing too much comfort. This type of camping can also be considered a form of dispersed camping, as these structures are often scattered throughout national and state parks or camping areas, providing a sense of solitude.


This type of camping appeals to individuals who enjoy the great outdoors but prefer more comfort and security than tent camping provides. Families with young children, older campers, or those new to camping might find cabin, yurt, or hut camping particularly appealing. For more information on this type of camping, visit the KOA website, which provides a comprehensive guide to cabin, yurt, and hut camping.

Beach Camping

Beach camping is a style where campers set up their tents on the beach, allowing them to enjoy the ocean’s sights and sounds day and night. While the beach setting provides a unique ambiance, it comes with challenges. These include dealing with sand, salt, and wind. However, the experience of falling asleep to the sound of waves and waking up to a beach sunrise is a reward many find worth the challenges.

Beach camping may appeal to those who love the ocean and outdoor activities like swimming, surfing, or fishing. It’s an excellent choice for families, as children tend to love playing on the beach. For those interested in beach camping, the Reserve America website offers helpful tips and resources to ensure a successful beach camping trip.

Survival Camping

Survival tools

Survival camping, as the name suggests, is a type of camping that tests your survival skills to the extreme. This camping style involves being dropped in a remote location, typically in harsh environments such as high mountains or desert-like areas, where you must fend for yourself. The basics of survival camping involve learning to forage and hunt for food, setting up shelters, and navigating challenging situations. It requires mental and physical strength, a comprehensive understanding of the terrain, and survival skills.

This form of camping is not for the faint-hearted. It appeals to hardcore outdoor enthusiasts who crave challenging adventures and want to test their survival skills to the limit. If you’re interested in survivalist camping and want to learn more, authoritative sites like Survival Skills Guide can provide valuable insights and tips.


Glamping, short for glamorous camping, is a unique style of camping that combines the thrill of outdoor activities with the convenience of modern amenities. Unlike traditional camping, glamping offers a range of creature comforts, including electricity, cozy beds, and even indoor toilets. Say goodbye to uncomfortable sleeping arrangements and those annoying mosquitoes! Whether you’re festival camping or any outdoor adventure, glamping allows you to bring out all your fancy camping gear!


Glamping is an ideal choice for those who appreciate the concept of camping but aren’t quite ready to let go of their everyday comforts. It has gained popularity among young trendsetters, making it a trendy and enjoyable way to experience the great outdoors.


What are the different types of camping?

There are numerous types of camping, each offering a different experience for outdoor enthusiasts. Tent camping is the most traditional form, where you set up a tent and sleep under the stars. Car camping allows you to take your vehicle to the campsite, providing easy access to camping food and gear. RV and cabin camping offer more creature comforts, while backpacking and survival camping are for those seeking an adventurous experience. There’s boat and canoe camping for those who prefer water-based outdoor activities. Meanwhile, glamping, or glamorous camping, provides a taste of nature with all the comforts of home. Finally, for those looking to test their survival skills, there’s primitive or survival camping, where you rely solely on your skills and the resources nature provides.

What is the most popular type of camping?

The popularity of different forms of camping varies based on personal preference and the type of outdoor experience sought. However, car camping is widely considered to be the most popular form of camping. It offers a balance between comfort and adventure, allowing campers to access remote places while still being close to their vehicle and camping gear. This type of camping often involves setting up a tent in a designated campsite and sleeping in sleeping bags, with the car serving as a convenient storage for camping supplies and essentials. However, it’s important to note that the popularity of camping styles can vary based on location, season, and personal preference.

What is primitive camping?

Primitive camping, also known as wild camping, is a type of camping that brings you closer to nature. Unlike other types of camping, primitive camping involves minimal amenities and facilities. The goal is to immerse yourself in the wilderness, relying on your skills and supplies to survive. You can set up your camp in any untouched location, often in a national park and state parks, where such activities are permitted. The charm of primitive camping lies in its simplicity and solitude.

However, this form of camping involves considerable preparation. You must pack your own supplies – food, water, shelter, and a first aid kit – and you also need to be self-reliant. You’re responsible for setting up your camp, building a campfire ring, and ensuring your campsite leaves no trace of your visit. Therefore, primitive camping appeals to adventurers seeking a more authentic and challenging way to get an outdoor experience.

What is glamping?

Glamping, a portmanteau of ‘glamorous’ and ‘camping,’ combines the benefits of camping with the comforts of a hotel stay. Unlike the hassle of traditional camping, glamping ensures you have access to amenities like electricity, indoor toilets, and proper beds. You can enjoy a good night’s sleep without worrying about uneven ground or mosquito bites.

Glamping provides a unique way to experience the outdoors without sacrificing luxury. Glamping ensures that you can enjoy nature in style, whether in a yurt, a tree house, or a high-end tent. It’s a perfect option for those who want to experience the joy of camping without the associated hardships.

What is the difference between backpacking and camping?

While backpacking and camping are outdoor activities, they offer different experiences and require different preparations. Camping usually involves setting up a camp in a designated area, often within accessible distances of a car or an RV. Backpacking, on the other hand, involves taking a multi-day journey on foot, carrying all your supplies, including a lightweight tent, sleeping pad, dehydrated food, and other specialized gear, in a backpack.

A hike on the Appalachian Trail, for example, would involve backpacking. Backpackers often use many different types of shelters, from hammock camping and tarp camping to bivvy bags and 4-season camping. Sack camping, a cross between a sleeping bag and a tent, is also popular among backpackers for its lightweight and compact design.

Backpacking involves spending multiple days in the wilderness, often in remote camping areas and can be seen as a form of adventure or ultralight camping. It requires a higher level of physical fitness and preparation than traditional camping, but it also offers a unique way to boost your immune system and connect with nature.


In the grand scheme of outdoor activities, camping has stood the test of time. Since its emergence in the 19th century, various camping styles have evolved, each offering a unique way to connect with nature. From the simplicity of backyard camping to the luxury of glamping, there’s a form of camping that fits every outdoor enthusiast’s preference and lifestyle.

Whether you’re drawn to primitive camping or the fun of bicycle touring with a compact tarp tent, it’s all about finding the type of camping that resonates with you. Remember, the goal is to enjoy the great outdoors while being mindful of eco-friendly camping practices. So, go ahead, pitch a tent and go camping. Your next adventure awaits.

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Jay Wilhite

About Jay

Jay Wilhite, founder of EcoFriendlyExplorers, is a passionate outdoor enthusiast and environmental advocate. Growing up in southern Idaho, he developed a deep love for nature, engaging in activities like hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking.
Jay’s background in computer engineering paired with experiences in the timber products industry and environmental consulting has strengthened his connection with nature and interest in climate change. Through his blog, he encourages sustainable enjoyment of the outdoors, sharing experiences from his numerous adventures across the U.S. and abroad.

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