Home Camping Adventures From Luxury to Primitive: A Comprehensive Guide to the Types of Camping
From Luxury to Primitive: A Comprehensive Guide to the Types of Camping

5 min

September 9, 2023

Camping: It’s more than just pitching a tent in the wilderness. It’s a lifestyle, an adventure, an exploration of our relationship with nature that can be as simple or as grandiose as we choose. 

From the stripped-down simplicity of survival camping to the luxurious sophistication of glamping, the range is as diverse as the outdoor enthusiasts themselves. 

Whether you’re a casual camper intrigued by the idea of a starlit sleep or an experienced outdoor fanatic looking to try something new, this comprehensive guide covers 25 types of camping that cater to every whim and wilderness wish. 

So, sit back, and get ready to delve into a world where the wild, the comfortable, and the downright eccentric converge! 

Types of Camping: At a Glance 

From luxurious glamping to minimalist bivy sack camping, there’s a style of camping that perfectly suits your adventure appetite. Here’s all types of camping explained: 

  1. Tent Camping
Camping TypeTent camping
Gear Requirements Tent, sleeping bag, camping stove, cooler, basic first aid kit
AboutThe classic style of camping. Pitch a tent and enjoy the great outdoors.
ProsVersatile and straightforwardCan be done in various locations
ConsDependent on weatherSetting up can be time-consuming

Let’s start with the most classic and arguably popular type: tent camping. This is the simplest form of camping where you pitch a tent and enjoy a night under the stars. It’s a versatile camping style, suitable for a variety of landscapes, from forested campsites to high mountain peaks. 

The typical gear requirements include a sturdy, weather-resistant tent, sleeping bags, and cooking equipment. Add in a good book or a deck of cards and you’re set for a serene, fun-filled outdoor experience. 

For many, the allure of tent camping lies in its simplicity and the raw connection it offers with nature. So, why not go ahead and embrace the fundamental delight of sleeping outdoors? 

  1. Hiking Camping
Camping TypeHiking Camping 
Gear Requirements Backpack, lightweight tent or bivvy, portable stove, water purifier, navigation tools
AboutInvolves hiking to your camping spot, often in the wilderness.
ProsGet to experience remote locations and solitude
ConsPhysically demandingNeed to carry all your gear

For those with a restless spirit and sturdy boots, hiking camping is an exhilarating choice. It involves walking during the day and setting up camp wherever you end up by nightfall. 

This type of camping necessitates careful gear selection as you’ll be carrying everything on your back. Lightweight, compact equipment is a must, including a small tent or bivy sack, a light sleeping bag, portable stove, and essential supplies. 

Navigation tools like a map, compass, or GPS are crucial, too. Don’t forget the first aid kit—safety always comes first. The reward? Waking up to an untouched wilderness vista, an intimate sense of solitude, and the satisfaction of self-reliance. 

  1. Car Camping 
Camping TypeCar Camping 
Gear Requirements Tent, sleeping bag, cooler, camping chairs, portable grill
AboutCamping in a location accessible by car. The gear is stored in the vehicle.
ProsConvenience of having a car nearby,You can bring more gear
ConsLimited to locations accessible by vehicle 

If hiking isn’t your style and you prefer to roll right up to your campsite, then car camping is your go-to. Car camping often involves established campgrounds with facilities like restrooms and water sources. 

Your gear is only limited by the size of your vehicle, making this a flexible option for families or less experienced campers. Typical gear includes a larger tent, comfortable sleeping bags or air mattresses, cooler, and camp stove or grill. 

Add in some cozy chairs and you’ve got a relaxing, easygoing camp setup. The beauty of car camping lies in its accessibility and the freedom to bring those extra little luxuries that make camping feel like a home away from home. 

  1. RV/Van Camping
Camping TypeRV Camping 
Gear Requirements RV or Van, portable stove, foldable furniture, basic first aid kit
AboutCamping in an RV or van, often in designated campgrounds
ProsCamping in an RV or van, often in designated campgrounds.Mobility and home comfortsCan travel in any weather
ConsRestricted to places accessible by roads, costs of fuel and vehicle maintenance

For the ultimate in mobile comfort, consider RV or van camping. This style provides the adventure of camping with the conveniences of home. The gear you need largely depends on the type of vehicle you have. 

Some RVs and camper vans come fully equipped with kitchen facilities, toilets, showers, and cozy beds. If not, portable alternatives are available. The joy of RV/van camping is the ability to explore different locations without sacrificing comfort or convenience. It’s a perfect way to see the country, wake up to different views, and have the flexibility to change your plans at a moment’s notice. 

As they say, home is where you park it! 

  1. Bicycle Touring Camping 
Camping TypeBicycle Touring 
Gear Requirements Bicycle, lightweight tent or bivvy, portable stove, first aid kit
AboutCamping combined with long-distance cycling
ProsAbility to cover large distancesEnvironmentally friendly
ConsPhysically demanding, limited gear due to space

Combining the thrill of long-distance cycling with the pleasures of camping, bicycle touring camping is an exciting choice for the athletic and adventurous. This mode of camping often involves multi-day trips where you cycle during the day and set up camp wherever dusk finds you. 

Since all your gear needs to fit on your bike, prioritizing lightweight, compact equipment is key. This typically includes a small tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, and bike repair kit. Perhaps the best part of bicycle touring is the pace—it’s fast enough to cover a significant distance, yet slow enough to appreciate the scenery. Plus, the sense of achievement after a long day of pedaling is unbeatable! 

  1. Survival Camping 
Camping TypeSurvival Camping 
Gear Requirements Survival kit, knife, fishing equipment, tarp, fire starter
AboutMinimalist camping with limited resources, often for training purposes.
ProsImproves survival skills, provides a true wilderness experience.
ConsCan be dangerous without proper knowledge, very limited comfort.

Survival camping is for those seeking a real test of their outdoor skills. It’s all about subsisting on minimal supplies and relying on survival techniques. Gear requirements are basic and lean towards practicality: a knife, a fire starter, a compass, a fishing line, and perhaps a compact survival tent or bivy bag. 

The aim is to use natural resources for food, shelter, and fire while navigating in the wilderness. Survival camping can be challenging and isn’t for the faint of heart, but it offers unparalleled satisfaction and a deep connection to nature. If you fancy yourself a modern-day Robinson Crusoe, this could be your camping style of choice. 

  1. Ultralight Camping 
Camping TypeUltralight Camping 
Gear Requirements Lightweight backpack, ultralight tent/bivy, compact cooking equipment 
AboutHiking and camping with extremely light gear.
ProsLess physical strainEnables covering more distance.
ConsPotentially higher costs for ultralight gear, less comfort.

Ultralight camping is for those who love the simplicity and freedom of carrying as little as possible. The main principle is to pack light, with the total weight of your backpack (minus food and water) typically being under 10 pounds. 

Gear requirements include lightweight items such as a compact tent or hammock, a lightweight sleeping bag, a small stove, and a few essential clothing items. This minimalist approach allows you to cover greater distances with less strain and experience the outdoors with fewer barriers. 

Ultralight camping is not just a type of camping—it’s a philosophy, a way of reconnecting with nature, and a testament to the saying, “the less you have, the more you appreciate.” 

  1. Overlanding
Camping TypeOverlanding 
Gear Requirements Four-wheel-drive vehicle, rooftop tent, cooking equipment, water storage
AboutSelf-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations.
ProsGives a sense of adventure, access to unexplored areas.
ConsVehicles can break down in remote areasAn expensive setup.

Overlanding is a fusion of camping and long-distance off-roading, where the journey itself is the primary goal. It’s all about self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. 

The vehicle, which is often a four-wheel-drive, doubles as a mobile home, equipped with sleeping arrangements (often a rooftop tent), cooking gear, and sometimes even a refrigerator. 

Overlanding gear tends to be more rugged to endure varying terrains and climates, including recovery equipment in case of getting stuck. This form of camping encourages slow travel, offering a unique way to connect with the world and the freedom to explore less-traveled paths. 

  1. Glamping 
Camping TypeGlamping 
Gear Requirements Luxury tent/yurt, comfortable bed, electricity, cooking facilities
AboutLuxurious camping with amenities, often in picturesque locations.
ProsHigh comfort, good for beginners or those who dislike “roughing it”.
ConsLess authentic camping experiencesCan be expensive.

For those who crave the outdoors but don’t want to sacrifice comfort, there’s glamping—a mashup of “glamour” and “camping”. Glamping can take many forms, from luxurious treehouses to elegant yurts and even fully-appointed RVs. 

The gear required for this depends entirely on the glamping setup, but comfort is key. Think plush beds, kitchen facilities, Wi-Fi, and often, a proper bathroom. Some glamping spots even have hot tubs! 

While it may seem a world away from traditional camping, glamping offers the best of both worlds: you can enjoy the great outdoors and retire to a cozy, comfortable setting at the end of the day. So, if your idea of camping involves a soft bed, fine linen, and a glass of wine under the stars, glamping is for you! 

  1. Winter Camping
Camping TypeWinter Camping 
Gear Requirements Four-season tent, sleeping bag rated for cold weather, insulated mat, stove suitable for melting snow
AboutCamping during the winter season, often involving snow sports.
ProsChallenging and rewarding, fewer crowds.
ConsRequires specialized gear, can be dangerous in harsh conditions.

For the truly adventurous souls who aren’t deterred by a little (or a lot of) cold, winter camping offers a unique, serene experience. Winter campers get to enjoy the beauty of snow-covered landscapes, quieter campsites, and the challenge of surviving in colder conditions. 

Gear for winter camping includes a four-season tent, a sleeping bag rated for low temperatures, insulated clothing, and specialized cooking gear. Snowshoes, skis, or crampons may also be required for moving around. Importantly, it’s vital to understand how to manage body temperature and recognize signs of hypothermia or frostbite. 

Despite its challenges, winter camping can be a magical experience—the stillness of a snow-covered forest and the satisfaction of building a snow shelter are unparalleled. 

  1. Hammock Camping 
Camping TypeHammock Camping 
Gear Requirements Hammock, suspension system, tarp for rain and sun protection, sleeping bag, bug net
AboutCamping using a hammock instead of a tent
ProsComfortable sleep, lighter than a tent, quick setup
ConsRequires trees, limited insulation, not suitable for all weather conditions

Hammock camping is an innovative way of embracing the great outdoors. Swapping a traditional tent for a hammock, campers can sleep off the ground and closer to the stars. 

This type of camping requires a hammock, suspension system (straps or ropes), and depending on the weather, a tarp for rain protection and underquilt for insulation.

A bug net can also be a handy addition in mosquito-rich areas. Hammock camping offers a unique and versatile camping experience, allowing campers to set up camp in places where it’s impossible to pitch a tent. Plus, the gentle rocking might just lull you to the best sleep you’ve ever had outdoors! 

  1. Backyard Camping
Camping TypeBackyard Camping 
Gear Requirements Tent, sleeping bags, flashlight, snacks
AboutCamping in your backyard. Perfect for a family adventure or a test run before a big trip.
ProsConvenience of home, safe environment, great for kids
ConsLacks the “getaway” feeling, home

Backyard camping offers an accessible and straightforward way to enjoy camping without leaving the comforts of home. This style of camping is great for families with young children or those new to camping. 

It requires basic camping gear, including a tent, sleeping bags, and maybe a campfire setup (always ensuring safety first). The charm of backyard camping lies in its simplicity. You can enjoy a night under the stars, storytelling around the fire, and the thrill of sleeping outdoors, all with the convenience of your home just steps away. 

It’s also a great way to test out new gear before embarking on a more substantial camping trip. Who said great adventures couldn’t start in your backyard?

  1. Bivy Sack Camping
Camping TypeBivy Sack Camping 
Gear Requirements Bivy Sack sleeping bag, sleeping pad, stove, headlamp
AboutMinimalist camping with a waterproof, breathable cover for your sleeping bag.
ProsLightweight, allows for high mobility, perfect for solo adventurers
ConsLimited space, can feel claustrophobicNo storage space

This style of camping is about cutting down to the essentials and immersing yourself in the landscape. While it may not offer the same comfort as a tent, the ability to sleep almost anywhere and the incredible stargazing opportunities more than compensate for it. 

Bivy sack camping is a minimalist approach to spending the night outdoors, popular among mountaineers, long-distance cyclists, and ultralight backpackers. 

Bivvy, short for bivouac, is a small, lightweight shelter that slides over your sleeping bag, offering a more compact alternative to a tent. The gear needed for bivy sack camping includes the bivvy sack itself, a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, and a headlamp for some late-night reading. 

  1. Tarp Camping 
Camping TypeTarp Camping 
Gear Requirements Tarp, stakes, guylines, sleeping bag, ground sheet
AboutLightweight camping using a tarp as shelter.
ProsVery light and flexible setup, close to nature
ConsRequires skills to set up, limited protection from elements

Tarp camping is a practice cherished by ultralight backpackers and survival enthusiasts. This style entails using a tarp as a shelter, which can be configured in various ways depending on weather conditions and the landscape. 

When set up properly, a tarp can protect you from rain, wind, and even provide some shade. Essential gear for tarp camping includes a waterproof tarp, guylines, stakes, and a bivy sack or bug net for additional protection. A sleeping pad and bag are also required for warmth and comfort. 

It’s worth noting that tarp camping requires skill to set up effectively and doesn’t offer the same level of protection or privacy as a tent. However, the minimal weight, flexibility, and closeness to nature make it an attractive option for many campers. 

  1. Backcountry Camping 
Camping TypeBackcountry camping 
Gear Requirements Backpack, lightweight tent, portable stove, water purification, map and compass
AboutCamping in remote locations, far from facilities
ProsExperiencing untouched nature, solitude
ConsPhysically demanding, requires good navigation skills, potential danger from wildlife

Backcountry camping is for those yearning for an immersive nature escape away from populated campgrounds. It involves hiking into the wilderness, far from roads and facilities, and setting up camp in a remote area. 

This style of camping requires all necessary gear to be carried in your backpack, including a lightweight tent or bivy, compact cooking equipment, water purification system, and navigation tools. 

Proper food storage is critical in areas with wildlife. Backcountry campers should have good navigation skills and be prepared to practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural environment. This form of camping can be physically demanding, but the tranquility, privacy, and raw connection with nature make it worth the effort. 

  1. Dry Camping 
Camping TypeDry Camping 
Gear Requirements RV or tent, water storage, waste disposal systems, portable power source
AboutCamping without hookups to water, sewer, or electrical facilities.
ProsFreedom to camp in remote locations, promotes conservation
ConsLimited resources, requires careful planning and management

Dry camping, or “boondocking,” refers to camping without the use of utilities, specifically water and electricity hookups. It’s common among RV and van campers who choose to park in places that don’t have facilities, like remote public lands.

Key gear requirements for dry camping include self-contained water and electricity systems, like water tanks and solar panels. Waste management is also a crucial consideration since there won’t be any restroom facilities. Portable toilets or composting toilets are often used. 

Planning and conservation are key to dry camping, as resources must be rationed for the duration of your stay. While it may lack some conveniences, dry camping offers unparalleled freedom to camp in unique, less crowded locations. 

  1. Kayak or Canoe Camping 
Camping TypeKayak Camping
Gear Requirements Kayak or Canoe, PFD, paddle, waterproof bags, compact camping gear
AboutPaddling to your campsite and camping near the water
ProsAccess to remote water-side sites, combines water sports and camping
ConsPhysical effort required, dependent on weather and water conditions

For those who believe life is better on the water, kayak or canoe camping is a splashingly good choice! This camping style involves paddling to your destination and setting up camp by the waterside. 

Necessary gear includes a kayak or canoe, paddling equipment, a compact tent, and waterproof bags for keeping your gear dry—unless you want your sleeping bag to double as a sponge, of course. You’ll also need a hearty sense of adventure as you navigate waterways and possibly some sunblock to prevent turning into a lobster. 

With kayak or canoe camping, you can access remote areas not reachable by other means, and there’s nothing like the lullaby of gently lapping waves to send you off to sleep. Just remember, in the battle of Man vs. Waves, the waves always win. So stay safe! 

  1. Truck Camping 
Camping TypeTruck Camping 
Gear Requirements Truck, truck bed tent or mattress, cooking gear
AboutCamping in the bed of a pickup truck.
ProsMobility, off-ground sleeping, utilizes existing vehicle Limited space
ConsDependent on truck access

Truck camping is the camping equivalent of the mullet hairstyle—business in the front, party in the back! It involves outfitting the bed of your truck with a sleeping area, either using a specially designed truck bed tent or a custom-built setup. 

The gear needed largely depends on how luxurious you want your “truck suite” to be. A simple setup could include a sleeping pad and bag, while more elaborate arrangements could involve a fitted mattress, lighting, and even cooking facilities. 

This type of camping allows more mobility and comfort than traditional tent camping and can handle rough terrains. Plus, there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing you’re sleeping in a vehicle that could win a tug of war with a small elephant. 

  1. Boondocking
Camping TypeBoondocking 
Gear Requirements RV or van, solar panels, water storage, waste management systems
AboutCamping for free in remote locations without amenities.Beach Camping
ProsAccess to secluded spots, saves money on camping fees
ConsNo facilities, needs self-sufficiency, can be lonely

Boondocking, also known as “wild camping”, is like being that person who avoids the crowds at parties and prefers to hang out with the dog. It’s all about camping for free in remote areas, often without any amenities like water, electricity, or toilets. 

Common among RV and van campers, it requires self-sufficiency in terms of power and water supplies, waste management, and usually a hefty dose of adventure spirit. Key gear includes solar panels for electricity, water storage tanks, and a portable toilet. 

While you might sacrifice a few comforts, boondocking offers unparalleled freedom to explore and camp in less-traveled areas. You might not have Wi-Fi, but we guarantee you’ll have a better connection… with nature, that is! 

  1. Beach Camping
Camping TypeBeach camping 
Gear Requirements Tent, sleeping bag, cooler, sun protection, beach chairs
AboutSetting up camp on the beach typically involves activities like swimming or fishing.
ProsBeautiful scenery, fun activities, Fall asleep to the sound of waves
ConsSand can get everywhereWeather can change quicklyTides

Beach camping is for those who believe life’s a beach and love the idea of falling asleep to the rhythm of the waves. Imagine pitching your tent on the sands, grilling up a fresh catch, and indulging in some stargazing—sounds idyllic, right? However, beach camping comes with its own set of challenges. 

Gear requirements include a robust tent for wind protection, sleeping bags, coolers for food and drinks, and a first aid kit for any rogue jellyfish encounters. Sand stakes might be needed for securing your tent on the beach. 

And let’s not forget sunblock unless you want to compete with lobsters for the most vibrant shade of red. The best part of beach camping? You can finally figure out if a message in a bottle really works! 

  1. Rooftop Camping 
Camping TypeRooftop camping 
Gear Requirements Rooftop tent, vehicle, camping stove, cooler
AboutCamping on the roof of your vehicle, often in designated campgrounds.
ProsGreat viewsOff the groundQuick setup and breakdown
ConsCost of rooftop tentNeed suitable vehicleLimited to vehicle accessible locations

Rooftop camping, aka the penthouse suite of the camping world, involves a tent mounted on the roof of your vehicle. This elevates your camping experience (literally and figuratively), keeping you off the ground and away from any curious critters. 

Key gear for this type of camping is a rooftop tent, which typically comes with a built-in mattress for added comfort. These tents fold out from the top of your vehicle and can be set up in minutes. You’ll also need the standard camping fare such as cooking equipment and outdoor gear, just don’t forget the step ladder or it might be a longer night than planned! 

Rooftop camping offers an unparalleled view, a unique camping experience, and an excellent vantage point for wildlife viewing. It’s like having your own portable treehouse! 

  1. Reenactment Camping 
Camping TypeReenactment camping 
Gear Requirements Historic tent, period clothing, period cooking utensils
AboutCamping while recreating a specific historical period or event.
ProsFun way to learn history, meet like-minded people, unique experience
ConsRequires research and preparationMay need to make or source period-specific gear

Reenactment camping isn’t just camping—it’s camping with a time machine! This style is popular among history buffs and involves recreating the camping styles of specific historical periods (like Medieval times or the American frontier era). Necessary gear can vary widely depending on the period you’re emulating, but authenticity is key. 

This might include canvas tents, period-appropriate cooking utensils, and even historically accurate clothing. This type of camping is often seen at reenactment events, where individuals or groups gather to recreate historical scenarios. It’s not just about camping; it’s about diving headfirst into a living history lesson. So, whether you’ve always wanted to sleep in a Viking tent or brew coffee cowboy-style over an open fire, reenactment camping lets you do it in style. 

  1. Cowboy Camping 
Camping TypeCowboy Camping 
Gear Requirements Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tarp or bivy sack for weather protection
AboutCamping under the stars without a tent, just like cowboys on the trail.
ProsSimple and minimalistGreat views of the night sky
ConsNo protection from bugs or weatherNo privacy

Howdy, partner! Fancy a night under the stars? Cowboy camping is where it’s at. It’s the simplest and most bare-bones form of camping there is—no tent, no hammock, just you, your sleeping bag, and the open sky. 

Your gear might include a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad for comfort and insulation, and maybe a bivy sack or tarp in case the weather decides to go wild-west on you. It’s an ideal style for stargazers and those who want to feel truly immersed in nature. However, be prepared to face bugs and critters, and remember that without a tent, there’s no privacy. It’s as authentic as it gets—just like the cowboys did back in the day. 

  1. Festival Camping 
Camping TypeFestival Camping 
Gear Requirements Tent, sleeping bag, portable chair, cooler, earplugs
AboutCamping at a multi-day music or arts festival.
ProsPart of the festival experience, meet new people,Fun atmosphere
ConsCan be crowded and noisySecurity risks, limited facilities

Festival camping is for those who know that the party doesn’t end when the music does. This camping style is centered around music and art festivals, which often run for several days. You’ll need a tent, sleeping bag, portable chair, cooler for food and beverages, and perhaps some funky decorations to stand out from the crowd! 

Festival camping is as much about community and shared experiences as it is about seeing your favorite artists. It’s a chance to meet people from all walks of life, united by a shared love of music. Remember, though: festivals can be loud and crowded, so earplugs and patience are key. And don’t forget a portable charger—how else will you capture those unforgettable performances? 

  1. Cabin Camping 
Camping TypeCabin Camping 
Gear Requirements Personal belongings, food, possibly bedding and towels
AboutRenting a cabin in a natural setting, offers more amenities than traditional camping.
ProsComfort and convenience, good for families or beginners
ConsLess of a ‘nature’ experience, can be more expensive than other camping types

For those who think “roughing it” sounds a bit too rough, there’s cabin camping—the comforting middle ground between a hotel room and a tent. Cabin camping involves renting a cabin in a natural setting, combining the creature comforts of home with the beauty of the outdoors.

The necessary gear is minimal—bedding, toiletries, food, and personal items are usually sufficient, as most cabins come equipped with beds, kitchen facilities, and often a bathroom. 

While it may not be as immersive as other types of camping, cabin camping is a great way to enjoy nature at your own pace, especially for families or those new to camping. It’s also perfect for those who believe that a good camping experience starts with a good night’s sleep—in a real bed!

Summing Up 

There you have it—the world of camping in all its vast diversity! Each style provides a unique lens through which to appreciate the wonder of the outdoors, and each comes with its own set of thrills and challenges. Whether you’re a luxury-loving glamper or a hardcore survival camper, there’s a corner of the wilderness just waiting for you. 

Happy camping!

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