Backpacking vs Camping

Camping is all about getting away from it all, right? Fresh air, singing birds, a babbling brook and limited cell service can quite literally melt stress like nobody’s business. But like any get-away, along comes the packing, planning and anxious feelings that often accompany traveling. Any experienced traveller knows first hand that keeping it simple will cut down on packing time, unpacking time and overall enjoyment.

Now, there are a couple different ways to “camp.” Neither is necessarily better than the next, but it’s important to know the difference next time your talking up your love for the outdoors to that cutie you’re trying to impress. Basically, backpacking is more hard core than camping, AKA “car camping.”

imagesBackpacking
Backpacking sounds pretty cool – strap on a high tech back pack and hike to your camp site. For many, however, backpacking is an absolute nightmare. There are no showers, garbage cans, and definitely no toilets. Backpackers must carry out everything they take into the wilderness. Backpackers are forced to bring only what they need for the duration of the trip because everything must be carried on one’s back. Heavy packers, beware.

The beauty of backpacking is that one truly gets away from it all. Backpackers are rewarded with pristine wilderness, uncrowded trails, minimally impacted land and solitude. Some of the world’s most beautiful sites can only be found by hitting the trial with your backpack. A book, a journal or possibly a yo yo might be the only source of the outside world of entertainment. Get ready to dig deep into your soul and let nature bring you back to your true self.

For you’re backpacking trip, you’ll need a one-person or two-person lightweight tent, a sleeping bag, a rain jacket, hiking pants, hiking boots, a couple performance shirts and possible a fleece. Smart packing is crucial. Food must carefully be planned out, being sure to minimize any extra packaging that could take up valuable space and weight.

images-1Car Camping
While some people downplay car camping, for many, it’s the most fitting solution to getting a big dose of nature. It certainly has it’s pluses. Families with young children can easily enjoy the outdoors while not missing too many comforts from home. Partiers can bring all the cold beer their hearts desire on a car camping trip. Boats, bikes, fishing poles, rafts, baseball gloves and countless other activities can be enjoyed on a car camping trip.

It can be quite nice to bring more “stuff” on a car camping trip, but it can also become overwhelming, so pack accordingly! Have fun planning meals, but don’t make it overly complicated unless you’re a seasoned gourmet chef. Take advantage of the extra space in the car by keeping your gear organized in bins.

Most car campers choose to bring a three-person or four-person tent, along with a sleeping bag, sleeping pad and all the other basic camping and hiking must haves mentioned above.

Whether testing your backcountry skills with backpacking or getting the crew together for a weekend car camping trip, be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into! Safety is always of the utmost importance and camp within your comfort level.

One Response to “Backpacking vs Camping”


  1. I prefer backpacking. I am the type of person who enjoys the quiet reflection that the solitude of a backpacking trip allows. I like that I am often pushed to my limits in a long day’s backpacking trip. I like that I am in control of what happens to me, and I can design my trip exactly the way I want it by packing the right stuff. But I sure miss a six-pack of beer sometimes :)

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