RV Camping vs. Tent Camping: It’s Time to Take Sides

It's time to sound off and decide once and for all: RV camping vs. tent camping.

RV camping vs. tent camping shouldn't be an issue, because when it comes right down to it, we want to get outside. Doing it in any fashion is as good as it gets.

For those of us who like to spend good parts of the summer "off the grid" by getting into a campground or a RV park, it's imperative to be comfortable and relax. We all want to leave the modern day life behind and get back to nature, and this is the way we've chosen.

For some, a camping trip in a motorhome is the best way to get away and still have all the comforts of home. Others see this as a good way to escape from home while keeping everything you desire and require right where you need it. Tent campers argue that an RV is too much, and not real camping. Really, the camping experience is one made by those who choose to try it and not those who merely talk about it.

It really doesn't matter if you're a RVer or using a pop up tent, a travel trailer or a canvas wall tent, getting outdoors and filling your lungs with fresh air is the point.

Since we have fun arguing over this kind of stuff anyway, it stands to reason that we may as well discuss what type of camping is better. Here goes.

Tent Camping

You'll need a campsite, sleeping bag, and a rain fly. That will just about do it, right? Not so fast camping friends!

Traditional camping comes with many more variables these days. Enough to make even the hardiest of outdoor lovers make a list and stick to it. In fact, by the time you put it all together, it's easy to pile up the stuff you need to be safe and comfortable.

Maybe so, but just because we like to have an air mattress and a sleeping bag doesn't mean that tent camping isn't the best way to experience the outdoors. You can certainly still have an electrical hookup, a restroom, and a shower nearby for convenience, or you can choose to go primitive camping and find your own way to do these things.

We can't really compare primitive camping, or camping well off the beaten path, to RV camping. RVs can't really go as far off the grid (or off the road), so if you're in a national park or other expansive setting, a text gets you much farther away.

With all the weather-fighting technology at work, tent campers can still manage a rainstorm in the middle of the night as well as anyone in motorhome. There are a couple of exceptions, namely lightning and wind, but within reason you can expect to be safe and secure in most quality tents.

A true tent camping experience is for the folks who want to feel a little closer to nature while sacrificing some of the creature comforts that they are used to. 

Obviously it's more than just making some s'mores around the campfire ring, it's the camaraderie, woodsmanship, and life skills needed to survive without the things that were are used to that make all the difference in creating young people that can fend for themselves.

No, we're not talking about survival of the fittest, just that tent camping can be about learning to live without a nightlight, hearing the forest come alive at night and still knowing that you are safe, and a simple appreciation of the things that make our lives so comfortable, something that the animals of the world have to struggle for each and every day.

Tent camping is like that.

RV Camping

Not everyone wants to share a community shower and restroom, lay a tarp on the ground to avoid getting wet, or leave the air conditioning behind once the driveway is out of sight. For them, "glamping" is not some new age camping word, it is the first word in getting away and remaining comfortable.

And there isn't anything wrong with that.

The RV lifestyle is less about leaving the camping gear behind and more about relieving the hassle that comes with it. While tent campers may use a rain fly, RV users have a hard top and an awning to fold out their own table underneath. RV campers might know more about a class C hitch than a class in woodsmanship, but that doesn't mean they can't take care of themselves in the outdoors.

It must be said that RV camping can involve a level of towing that some may not be used to. It can also be said that RVing takes a higher level of experience before it can be deemed a safe adventure for you and your family. After all, you don't have to drive a large tent down the road and watch for low bridges, or make the same wide turns that a big motorhome needs.

An RVing road trip can involve the same level and happiness of planning that goes with tenting, and sometimes can use the same tent sites as well. And if you don't own a RV, there are RV rentals that can be had to create that trip to remember that you've been looking for all these years.

RV Camping vs. Tent Camping

Let's review: tent camping is a more "primitive" way of living for a short time while you and your family are away from home, whereas RV camping affords a much more comfortable form of having a getaway without the loss of the creature comforts that we are all used to.

RVing needs an experienced driver, usually a RV-friendly park, and hookups to electrical and a sewer (in some cases septic) system.

Either form of camping can use a generator, but in situations like a park campground it may be quite intrusive to other campers. RVs can take up a lot of space where a tent, or even multiple tents, have a smaller footprint and can be set on one site.

RV camping is probably a safer way to enjoy the outdoors, as they have a hard top and are generally grounded from lightning storms, whereas a tent is not and needs to be vacated in an electrical storm situation.

RV camping is most certainly the more expensive of the two. Tent campers need a lot of gear. Some say RVing isn't really camping. Others say tents are for kids.

As a bottom line. whatever your choice is, we are behind you all the way! It's not so much about what method you use or how comfortable you wish to be, but about locking up the house, letting your family know where you are going, and getting out in the wide open spaces for a little R&R.

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