What is Camping? – Mom Goes Camping

What is camping? This may seem like a silly question, but then you realize that everyone has a different idea of what camping is. For one person, camping might mean getting into an RV and driving to the beach. For another person, camping might mean getting ultra-light gear into a backpack and going hiking into the wilderness. For yet others, camping might mean going to a luxury retreat in nature.

With some many different ideas, what is camping exactly?

Origins of Camping

Before people lived in cities and suburbs, they were mostly nomadic. In this sense, we humans have been camping for as long as we’ve been human. However, the idea of recreational camping is still fairly new. It can be accredited to a British explorer and traveler in the late 19th century named Thomas Hiram Holding who wrote a book called Cycle and Camp in Connemara based on his experiences biking through Ireland. Later, in 1901, he formed the first official camping club.

cycle and camp in connemaraKeep in mind that the late 1800s and early 1900s were a time of great urbanization. The Industrial Revolution had caused a transition to factories, and cities were growing at rapid rates. It only makes sense that people became interested in camping during this period. Before, they didn’t need to go camping because they were already in nature. Once in the city, they started needing nature again!

The Boy Scouts movement started in 1907, and it made camping even more popular. Now, there are camping groups all over the world, official campsites, downloadable trail maps, all sorts of camping gear, and many resources for people who want to go camping.


What Makes It Camping?

There are many types of camping. Some die-hard enthusiasts will claim that their type of camping is the only “real” camping. But there is no need for elitism. For something to be considered camping, you just need to:

  • Go out of civilization and into nature
  • Set up a campsite (which could be from your RV, lean-to, tent or in the open)
  • Spend the night

Yes, that’s it. Just go into nature and set things up so you can comfortably spend the night. Everyone’s idea of “comfortable” varies, and that is okay. I personally prefer the adventure of wild camping over campsite camping, but I wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to go to a campsite where I can meet other camping families.

desert camping

What Happens during Camping?

If you’ve never been camping before, it is okay if you have absolutely no idea of what to expect.   Some of the questions you will probably have are:

There are multiple ways to answer these questions – and we will be answering them at this website. Some people just get in an RV and drive to wherever and start camping. Others take a more extreme route (such as myself) and hitchhike to a mountain and then start hiking into the wilderness.

One thing that I do want to emphasize about what happens during camping is this: you will learn a lot. About nature.  About your strengths, weaknesses, and limitations.  And what it means to be self-reliant.

family camping

Go out and challenge yourself.  Take your kids camping.


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