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What Type of Camper Are You? From Backpacker to Car Camper

Where do you fit in on the camping scale? Find out what type of camper you are and embrace it.

Ask any camper to describe their style, and you’ll hear as many answers as you have responders. There’s no simple way to lump everyone into one single camping enthusiast group, because there are so many different ways to go about it.

Maybe you’ve got a family of four and like to relax, but maintain some comforts of home. Maybe you’re far more hardcore, and go it alone in the backcountry.

Whichever way you enjoy camping, we’re not here to judge, and you shouldn’t take your camping personality as a bad thing in any way. You’re getting outdoors, sleeping under the stars (or at least in a tent or RV), and you’re doing what millions of people do every year: camping your heart out.

Here are, by our assumptions, the four categories of campers, none of which are any better than others. But hey, if you know which category you align with, maybe it will help when it comes time to prepare for a trip and stock up on camping gear.

The RVer

Often the folks who can’t easily transfer the luxuries (and sometimes necessities) of home life, but still want to travel, camp, and experience the great outdoors, go with a mobile recreational vehicle. These are often large families, perhaps with small children, making a camper a far easier and smoother method of going about things.

Travel Trailer Camping. RV Trip Theme. Evening in RV . Vintage Color Grading.

Small kitchens, refrigeration, electricity, and bathrooms aren’t always what comes to mind when people say “Let’s go camping,” but it still gives RVers a way to visit wild, natural places without sacrificing a hot shower, a bottle of baby formula, or a legitimate roof over their heads.

That’s not to say RVers aren’t adventurous or capable, they just choose to do it a different way. And when you think about it, can you really blame them?

The Car Camper

One step away from the RVer is the Car Camper, an equally practical and passionate camper but slightly more rugged. There’s a certain level of security permitted to Car Campers, as they’re always close enough to their own means of transportation, and should an emergency arise, they’re more covered than other camping styles.

Car Campers typically use their vehicles as the home base for their campsite, and trucks or SUVs with a large cargo areas are common. Tents are the usual sleeping means of choice, but they’re often steps away from the car, on a pre-developed campground.

This is the key to car camping; just as the name implies, if you can take your car to the spot you’re camping, you can’t exactly consider yourself in the vast wilderness. Nonetheless, Car Campers know that without much planning ahead of time, they can still maintain their camping experiences, even though they pull their coolers and s’mores ingredients from their trunk.

The Primitive Camper

Girl in a red T-shirt sitting with cup while camping near the bonfire close to tent is heated and drink hot tea

Though the name might imply a little more intensity than intended, a Primitive Camper is one who takes things up a notch, and hikes into a larger area, often without developed campsites, to get their preferred method. Many of the common luxuries any general campsite (and Car Camper or RVer) would expect are not found, and often not needed, for Primitive Campers.

Being in slightly better shape, and able to take on strenuous hikes carrying all the gear (both in and out) they will need, Primitive Campers are getting closer and closer to the true sense of wilderness. Still, a trip for a Primitive Camper might last a few days, but often can’t stretch too far due to lack of available resources. Small, packable camp stoves, dehydrated food, and emergency survival kits are typically found in a Primitive Camper’s pack, but they also need room for tents, clothes, sleeping bags, water, and navigational tools.

The Primitive Campers are typically more experienced, seasoned, and accustomed to a more serious type of camping, and can find solace in the fact that they really are far, far away from it all.

The Hardcore Backpacker

By the time you’ve reached Hardcore Backpacker (and again, this isn’t a “level up” situation; if you’re a Car Camper and remain one, more power to you), you’ve turned camping into more than just an outing. It lasts longer, gets harder, and isn’t exactly for everyone.

Backpack outdoor Lifestyle hiking camping equipment forest nature on background

But, a Hardcore Backpacker embodies the essence of what wilderness means, and begins to blur the line between “camper” and “survivalist.” Extended stays, foraged and hunted food, found sources of water and serious solitude mark the common characteristics of a Hardcore Backpacker’s camping experience.

That’s not to say Hardcore Backpackers deliberately put themselves in danger, but the risks are there and they know it. You’ll rarely find someone younger than their teens or older than 65 devoting themselves to the backcountry camping lifestyle.

With some ambition and a penchant for being in the wild, anyone can enjoy camping in the great outdoors. And though there are plenty of ways to do it, whatever style you fit into should be commended.

With so much camping to experience in the world’s natural places, how can it not?

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What Type of Camper Are You? From Backpacker to Car Camper