Camping has become a generic term. Everything from overnight backpacking or canoeing trips, to car camping, to driving a $500,000 RV is “camping” to someone. This Ramble will clarify the correct terminology for whatever it is that you’re doing that you refer to as “camping” and it will review how I like to camp.
Let’s get started:
Camping - Starting with the basics, camping is sleeping in a sleeping bag, in a tent, untethered to most modern conveniences. This could be in the backcountry or off the back of your tailgate. But true camping is minimalist. You may cook over a fire or the equivalent of a Coleman stove, carry a flashlight and maybe a radio. Basically, if it takes you less than 30 minutes to set up camp and you spent less than a grand to buy all your camping gear, you’re camping.
Camper Restroom: Hole or Vault Toilet
Glamping - Glamping is camping with more stuff. This can involve a platform tent, treehouse, or some other cleaned up shanty. Glamp sites take longer to set up and tear down, which is why they are typically - at least partially - left up seasonally. Glamp sites typically have more elaborate lighting than Clark Griswold’s Christmas display and more chachkis than your grandma’s mantle.
Glamper Restroom: Composting Toilet in an Outhouse with a “Shabby Chic” decor
Overlanding - Overlanding is car camping with a budget that would make the US military blush. An overlanding camp is built for speed of setup and take down as you often don’t plan to spend more than one night in any given location. In addition, overlanders have the gadgets to make camp feel like home. They typically drive really cool offroad vehicles that are tricked out with the niceties of camplife; such as awnings, refrigerators, or diesel heaters. In contrast to camping, if it takes you more than 12 minutes to set up camp, or if you didn’t spend at least 300 bucks on your camp stove, you’re not overlanding.
Overlander Restroom: Specialized bucket in a privacy room mounted to your vehicle’s roof rack...or a hole that you dug with a shovel that looks like an oversized spork.
Campering - Campering is a form of recreation that sacrifices very few of the luxuries of home. As the name implies, campering is the utilization of a travel trailer or recreational vehicle to facilitate life “outside”. Campering involves a real bed that’s not quite as comfortable as the one you have at home, an air conditioner, a shower, and in many cases a television. We don’t need to belabor the point...it’s a camper...or a coach...or an RV...I see another Ramble coming on this topic in the future.
Camper Restroom: Plastic commode in a designated room in a trailer or RV.
#Vanlife - Van conversions are huge right now. Certainly not all vans builds are made the same. Some are made for offroad use with more of an overlanding style while others are the epitome of luxury, and others are simply hard-sided tent-substitutes on wheels. Regardless of use or budget, typically, #vanlife vans have some kind of standable living space, a place to sleep, a place you call your “garage”, and a tiny kitchen.
Van Lifer Restroom: Restroom at Starbucks...or the cassette toilet under the sink if it’s an absolute emergency
This Ramble was written a little tongue-in-cheek, but I’d be willing to bet that each of us find some kind of appeal to parts of each of these camping configurations, be it the simplicity of camping, the gadgets of overlanding, the ability to blend in to an urban environment with a van, the luxury of a camper, or the Instagram photo worthiness of a glampsite.
I’d venture to say that my camp is a blend of camping, glamping and overlanding. Maybe that’s just “car camping” these days and I should add that as a category. I love my canvas tent. I like to sleep on a cot. I pack a pretty comprehensive chuck box. I even have string lights. Truthfully, my wife and I have often contemplated a pop-up camper just because it would expedite the whole packing and setup process.
The point is, there’s no right or wrong way to camp. Whether you want to connect with nature or with your family, or both, “camping” is a great way to unwind and refocus on what’s important.
We’re in the off-grid power business. If there’s a way we can partner with you to make your camp dreams a reality, please let us know. Whether you’re camping or campering or anything in between, our lithium battery units can be the perfect solution to remove some of the apprehension and get you outside.