What is Camping? Everything You Need to Know

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  May 29, 2022

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Camping is an elective outdoor recreational activity. Generally held, participants leave developed areas to spend time outdoors in more natural ones in pursuit of activities providing them enjoyment. To be regarded as “camping” a minimum of one night is spent outdoors, distinguishing it from day-tripping, picnicking, and other similarly short-term recreational activities.

Camping is a great way to connect with nature and appreciate the fresh air. It’s a recreational activity where you stay overnight in a tent or temporary shelter while traveling in the outdoors.

In this article, I’ll explain why camping is so popular and how you can get started.

What is camping

Discover the Extraordinary World of Camping

Camping is a great way to connect with nature and spend time away from the hustle and bustle of cities. It allows you to learn new skills, appreciate the natural world, and realize the importance of being prepared for anything. Camping is a chance to start a new adventure, turn off your phone, and enjoy the fresh air. Some of the benefits of camping include:

  • Connecting with nature
  • Learning new skills
  • Appreciating the natural world
  • Realizing the importance of being prepared
  • Spending time away from cities
  • Starting a new adventure
  • Turning off your phone
  • Enjoying the fresh air

The Cooking Gear When Camping

Food is an important part of any camping trip, and cooking gear is essential. Depending on the type of camping you choose, you may need to bring different types of cooking gear. Some of the cooking gear you may need include:

  • Stove and fuel
  • Utensils (spatula, tongs, knife, etc.)
  • Pots and pans
  • Cooler (if car camping)
  • Plates, bowls, and cups
  • Dish soap and sponge

The Importance of Being Prepared

Camping involves spending time in the elements, and it’s important to be prepared for anything. This includes being prepared for extreme weather, knowing the route you plan to take, and having multiple ways to start a fire. It’s also important to have a plan for dinner and to prevent patch of dirt from getting into your comfortable area. Being prepared can make your camping trip better and more enjoyable.

The Evolution of Camping: From Heavy Steel to Lightweight Pickup Camps

Camping has a long and interesting history, dating back to the late 1800s in the Western world. The first camping trips were often connected to pleasure boating, with visitors using heavy steel tents and iconic designs to set up camp in the Smoky Mountains and other popular areas. These early camping trips were often done on a large scale, with tremendous amounts of energy and function utilized to make the experience enjoyable.

The Rise of Local Clubs and the Camping Boom

As camping became more popular, local clubs began to form, and the idea of camping as a way to connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors began to take hold. With the increase in popularity came a boom in the camping industry, resulting in the creation of new types of camping units. These new units were often smaller and more lightweight than their predecessors, making them easier to transport and set up.

The Modern Era of Camping: Lightweight Pickup Camps and Better Functionality

Today, camping is considered a popular pastime for Americans of all ages. The majority of camping trips are done using lightweight pickup camps, which offer better functionality and are more efficient compared to the heavy steel units of the past. These modern camps are often designed to be basic and similar in function, but with different materials such as metal and hard plastics.

The Future of Camping: Utilizing Energy and Smaller Pieces

As camping continues to evolve, there is a growing trend towards utilizing energy-efficient designs and smaller pieces. This means that camping trips will become more sustainable and eco-friendly, while still offering the same level of enjoyment and connection with nature. With the rise of new technologies and materials, the future of camping looks bright, and we can expect to see even more innovative designs and ideas in the years to come.

Essential Equipment for Your Camping Excursion

When it comes to camping, a good tent is essential. There are a variety of tents designed for different needs, including rooftop tents, canopy tents, and traditional tents. Here are some options to consider:

  • Rooftop Tents: If you want to stay off the ground and have a spacious and durable shelter, a rooftop tent is a great option. Companies like Roofnest and Tepui offer hardshell and softshell options that are weather-resistant and easy to set up.
  • Canopy Tents: These tents are designed to provide shade and shelter for outdoor dining and cooking. Thule and REI offer a variety of canopy tents that are perfect for family-friendly camping trips.
  • Traditional Tents: If you’re a camping newcomer or just looking for a base camp, a traditional tent is a great option. Companies like North Face and Wawona offer a variety of tents that are spacious, weather-resistant, and easy to set up.

Cooking and Dining Equipment

Cooking and dining equipment is another essential part of any camping trip. Here are some items to consider:

  • Camp Kitchen: A camp kitchen is a great way to keep all your cooking supplies organized and easily accessible. Companies like Buck and REI offer a variety of camp kitchens that are designed for outdoor use.
  • Sleeping Bags: A good sleeping bag is essential for a comfortable night’s sleep. Look for bags that are designed for the weather conditions you’ll be camping in and that fit your body type well. Companies like Synch and REI offer a variety of sleeping bags that are designed for outdoor use.
  • Ground Cover: A ground cover is essential for keeping your tent clean and dry. Look for covers that are durable and weather-resistant. Companies like Skyward and REI offer a variety of ground covers that are designed for outdoor use.

Racks and Storage

Racks and storage are essential for keeping all your gear organized and easily accessible. Here are some options to consider:

  • Bike Racks: If you’re planning on biking during your camping trip, a bike rack is essential. Companies like Thule and REI offer a variety of bike racks that are designed for outdoor use.
  • Storage Racks: A storage rack is a great way to keep all your gear organized and easily accessible. Companies like Dialed and REI offer a variety of storage racks that are designed for outdoor use.

Choosing the Perfect Campground or Commercial Campsite

When it comes to camping, there are two main options for where to set up camp: campgrounds and commercial campsites. Campgrounds are typically located in state or national parks and are dedicated areas for camping. Commercial campsites, on the other hand, are privately owned and operated and are usually located outside of state or national parks.

Features of Campgrounds

  • Typically set in a natural setting, surrounded by trees and wildlife
  • Usually small and can accommodate a limited number of people
  • May or may not include amenities such as water and electricity
  • Certain campgrounds are considered “primitive” and do not have any amenities
  • Campgrounds are typically the perfect option for those who want to connect with nature and enjoy a simple camping experience

Features of Commercial Campsites

  • Large and can accommodate a wide range of people
  • Often include amenities such as water, electricity, and even Wi-Fi
  • Some commercial campsites may even have specific areas for RVs or tents
  • Commercial campsites are commonly associated with convenience and added features, but may require paying customers to follow certain rules and regulations

Choosing the Right Campsite

When choosing between a campground or commercial campsite, there are a few important factors to consider:

  • Location: Depending on the length of your trip and the area you want to explore, you may need to research the availability of campgrounds and commercial campsites in the area.
  • Size: Consider the size of your group and the size of the campsite you need.
  • Amenities: Determine what amenities you need and what you are willing to pay for.
  • Supplies: Depending on the campsite, you may need to bring your own supplies such as wood, water, and cooking materials.
  • Cost: Depending on the campsite, you may need to pay for your stay or for certain features such as electricity or storage bay.

Properly Setting Up Camp

Once you have chosen your campsite, it is essential to properly set up camp to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:

  • Create a form of shelter, such as a tent or RV, to protect yourself from the elements.
  • Patch any holes or tears in your shelter to prevent bugs and other unwanted guests from entering.
  • Properly store any food or trash in cans or other containers to prevent attracting animals.
  • Ask the local ranger or campsite manager about any specific rules or regulations for the area.
  • Keep the campsite clean and dispose of any waste properly.

Remember, whether you choose a campground or commercial campsite, the ultimate meaning of camping is to enjoy the great outdoors and connect with nature.

Cooking Gear When Camping: A Complete Guide

When it comes to camping, having the right cooking gear can make or break your mealtime experience. Here are some essential items to bring:

  • Stove: A portable camping stove is a must-have for cooking meals. Make sure to bring enough fuel for your trip.
  • Cookware: A basic set of pots and pans, along with a frying pan, will allow you to cook a variety of meals.
  • Utensils: Don’t forget to bring utensils like spatulas, tongs, and a can opener.
  • Dishwashing supplies: Bring a sponge, dish soap, and a drying rack to keep your dishes clean and dry.
  • Water container: A large water container is essential for cooking and washing dishes.

Cooking Methods

There are several ways to cook food while camping, including:

  • Campfire: Cooking over an open flame is a classic camping method. However, it can be difficult to control the heat and flames, and the food may cook unevenly.
  • Grill: A portable grill (like this Coleman) is a great option for cooking meats and vegetables. Make sure to bring extra fuel for the grill.
  • Stove: A camping stove is the most common cooking method for campers. It allows for easy temperature control and is great for cooking a variety of meals.
  • Dutch oven: A Dutch oven (here’s a camp dutch oven vs a regular one) is a cast-iron pot with a lid that can be used to cook a variety of meals over a campfire or stove.

Cooking Tips

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your camping meals:

  • Plan your meals ahead of time and bring all the necessary ingredients.
  • Store food in airtight containers to prevent it from getting dirty or wet.
  • Bring extra fuel for your stove or grill in case you run out.
  • Hang your food from a tree to prevent animals from getting into it.
  • Use pins to secure your pots and pans to the stove or grill to prevent them from tipping over.
  • Clean your dishes and utensils as soon as possible to prevent food from drying and sticking to them.

Cleaning and Washing

Cleaning and washing dishes while camping can be a hassle, but it’s important to keep your cooking gear clean to prevent the spread of bacteria. Here are some tips:

  • Use biodegradable soap to wash dishes and utensils.
  • Use hot water to help clean dishes more easily.
  • Bring a separate container for washing dishes to prevent contaminating your water container.
  • Dry dishes and utensils thoroughly to prevent bacteria growth.
  • Clean your cooking gear after each use to prevent food from sticking and burning.

Campfire Cooking

Cooking over a campfire can be a fun and unique experience, but it requires some extra preparation. Here are some tips:

  • Use dry wood to prevent excessive smoke and flames.
  • Build a fire in a designated fire pit or ring to prevent damage to the campground.
  • Use a grate or tripod to cook food over the fire.
  • Use a Dutch oven to cook meals over the fire.
  • Be mindful of wind and weather conditions that can affect the fire and cooking.

Meal Planning and Prep

Meal planning and prep are essential for a successful camping trip. Here are some tips:

  • Plan meals that are easy to make and contain common ingredients.
  • Bring extra snacks and foods in case of unexpected hunger.
  • Prep food ahead of time to make cooking easier.
  • Use a camping kitchen table to keep your cooking gear organized.
  • Bring extra paper towels and wipes for easy clean-up.


So, camping’s a great way to connect with nature, spend time away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and learn new skills. 

You should be prepared with the right equipment, and don’t forget to have fun! So, don’t be afraid to try it yourself. You might just enjoy it!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.