Camping is a very popular form of living outdoors. It gives people the opportunity of spending their free time in nature or in the wilderness. Camping may start by spending the night in a tent in your own back yard and end up by going on a trip that may last for several weeks.
Some campers stay in one place for days, a week or even longer. From there they visit tourist attractions, go fishing or hunting, play games and do active sports like mountain biking or just simply relax. Others prefer to tour areas and spend every night in a different place. They travel by car or motor homes.
Each year millions of people go camping. They can explore new surroundings and be close to nature at the same time.
Types of camping
Most people drive to a campsite and set up a tent there. This is easy because you can take everything you need for your camping holiday in your car with you. In most cases you will choose a campsite that is near the road.
Travelling in recreational vehicles (RV) is more comfortable but also much more expensive. These RVs range from small trailers to large mobile homes. They have all the luxuries that you would also have at home, like refrigerators, showers sinks or toilets.
Boat campers travel with a canoe, kayak or even a small houseboat. They spend days on lakes or rivers and usually camp on the water’s edge nearly every night.
In Western Europe, especially Holland, Belgium or Ireland you can rent a boat and travel on one of the hundreds of canals and smaller rivers that crisscross these countries.
Backpackers are hikers who carry their belongings on their backs. They usually go to places that you cannot reach by car. Special equipment is usually extremely light and can be carried on longer trips.
Campers who travel by bike usually can stay at normal campsites. On one side cyclists can get to places that you can't get to by car and on the other side they travel longer distances than hikers do. They pack their things in waterproof saddlebags which they strap to the frame of the bike.
Organized camping holidays usually take place during the summer and are attended by girls and boys. They combine outdoor activities with other kinds of training or with learning. Boy and girl scouts are groups of children who go on special camping trips.
If you go camping and want to spend the night in a tent you will need certain items.
Today's tents are normally made of nylon, canvas or other light material. They are not so expensive and easy to fold together and carry around with you, especially if you are backpacking. The material has to be waterproof and is easy to put up.
If you want to sleep in a tent you will need a sleeping bag. It protects you from the outside cold and is warmer than a blanket. Sleeping bags come in different sizes, colours and shapes.
Sleeping on the ground however is not always very comfortable. Some campers have foam pads or air mattresses which they lie on.
Clothing is an important aspect when you go on a camping holiday. Be sure to take clothes with you that will protect you from the sun, rain and insects. Take along some lightweight trousers, comfortable shoes and warm shirts or a jacket for cold evenings. Always carry a raincoat or poncho with you. Hiking boots are good if you walk a lot.
You will also need other everyday items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap. Take along sunglasses, maps, and a compass or maybe even a GPS device.
Campers should also have waterproof matches, extra batteries, a knife and a lantern or torch with them.
Choosing the right place to set up a tent is not always an easy task. First choose a dry place. The open side of the tent should face away from windy and stormy directions. Remove stones and sticks from the ground. Sometimes it is necessary to dig a ditch around the tent so that water from rainfall can flow away.
If you camp in your RV make sure you have the necessary facilities you need. Many campgrounds supply you with energy and water connections. Sometimes, however, campsites require you to reserve a place in advance.
Organized campgrounds are areas that are mostly enclosed by a fence. They often provide picnic tables, grills and parking space for cars and offer extra activities for their guests.
There are some safety precautions you must take when camping outdoors.
A campfire is one of the many enjoyable parts of a camping experience, but you should do it right. Never leave your fire unattended Always have water nearby so that you can put out the fire if it gets out of control.
Safe drinking water is also something important. Public campgrounds usually provide good water but if you camp in the wilderness make sure you have fresh and clean water supplies with you. You can also buy tablets that purify water.
If you go hiking on your camping trip be aware of other dangers. Don't touch poisonous plants like poison oak or poison ivy. If you get caught in a thunderstorm look for shelter. If you can’t find a house or another building sit under trees in a forest. Avoid tall trees that stand alone in open areas. Get out of the water if you are swimming.
Before you leave home tell someone where you are going and when you will probably be back. If you have never been to a place before don’t go there alone. Stay calm and remain in one place in case you get lost and wait until help arrives. Carry matches with you to light a fire and keep warm. Do not rely on cell phones to call someone. Chances are that you won’t have a good reception if you are in a remote area.
Clean up your campsite when you leave. Fill all the holes that you have dug. Save your waste until you can put it in waste bins.