Do you want to try camping but are unsure of which type of camping would suit you or even unsure of which types of camping there is? Read on and find out more about the various types of camping there are and find one suited to you.
Now, there are many types of camping and what type you choose will entirely depend on your own or family’s preferences. Many people enjoy more than one type of camping throughout the year. I would suggest if this is going to be your first time camping to maybe stick with camping on a proper campsite at first. There are several reasons for this –
- Other, more experienced people around should you need help setting up or some advice. Please note that most campers are happy to help if asked, especially if you explain it is your first time camping.
- You will have an allocated pitch (on most sites)
- Onsite facilities such as toilets, showers, electric charging points, or EHU on some sites.
- Other facilities that may include playparks, bars, shops, hire of equipment.
- Access to other recreational activities.
If you are going to be camping with children for the first time this is always a good way to introduce them to it. A common question from those with young children wanting to try camping is what is the best age to start taking them and the simple answer is any age. There is no age restriction on camping and children can learn and gain so much from these types of holidays. If you have children and want to take them camping then you may wish to read the following posts.
For most people who like to go on camping holidays, say for a week or so the choice would be to go to a campsite. At campsites, you will have a pitch where you will be set up for the duration of your holiday. Most campsites have toilet and shower facilities along with some other useful options such as Electric Hook Up (EHU) where you can have electricity in your tent with the correct mains hook up cable. See Camping Electric Hook Up Review and Guidance for more on this and how to choose a safe mains set. Washing stations, for washing up your dishes, drinking water taps, chemical waste disposal if you choose to use a chemical waste toilet inside your tent (useful for during the night or if you have young children who always need the toilet at unsuitable times, i.e. when you are cooking), charging points if you do not wish to have EHU inside your tent and sometimes an onsite shop.
Camping on a campsite allows you to take a much larger tent than you would take on any of the below camping trips and this in itself can make your first camping experience more enjoyable. Many people think of camping and think of those small dome-like tents that you have to bend down to get in and out of, the ones with just a square inside area for all uses. That is simply not the case with a variety of large and luxury tents on the market these days.
You can purchase a tent that gives you that home from home feel with separate sleeping areas for you and the kids, no kids, no problem, use the extra space for a toilet and changing room as we do. you will also have a separate living area and sometimes extra outdoor but undercover areas such as porches and awnings, these are great for using to cook as you should never cook inside your tent, especially with gas.
Some campsites may even be used if you wish to pair your camping with an activity or activity-based holiday. See activity-based camping below.
Car Camping/Camping Roadtrip
While you may hear some people referring to car camping as you sleeping in your car and using it as a shelter, in this article we refer to it as a way of transporting all your gear around while you move from place to place setting up camp where you choose to stay the night.
This is commonly done in Scotland where the law still allows you to wild camp (camp outwith designated campsites) and has become increasingly popular with people wishing to experience the North Coast 500 route or simply driving out to a stunning loch and camping for a night or two. Car camping is a fantastic way to explore areas of interest and you can always stop off at places of interest during your trip.
Car camping allows you to pack all your camping gear into your car and head off to explore different areas, it is worthwhile planning where you are going to camp as much as reasonably possible when planning to wild camping as you should not just be setting up your little campsite at the side of a road. You should plan where you want to stop each night and scope out the area of possible camping areas. Aim to get away from main roads and villages to set up. If there are villages or houses nearby you should aim to be as discreet and respectful as possible and remember that you need the landowner’s permission to camp on their grounds. With this in mind make sure you are not on someone’s land especially in less populated areas where open land could belong to a farmer or crofter. If you are in doubt try asking a local and if it does belong to someone simply ask permission. Many people will allow this for a night as long as livestock is not at risk and you don’t have fires. And, with all camping, leave no trace. Take all your rubbish out, leave nothing behind.
A group car camping near a loch for the night.
Car camping gives you much more flexibility when it comes to equipment and gear you take with you as you are not going to have to physically carry or cycle with it as you would with the next 2 types of camping below. With this in mind, you will be able to take a slightly larger tent, although I wouldn’t recommend taking a big 6 man tent if there are only 2 of you. Remember that you will have to be pitching the tent each night and taking it down each morning so bear this in mind when choosing a tent to take. You will also have room for a few home comforts too, so if you want to take your pillow from home, you can, as long as there is room for it.
You can also carry more food or more weighty food really. This means all your meals won’t have to be rehydrated meals as you can take a coolbox, a 12v that will plug into your car is great for this type of camping. Just remember that if you leave it plugged in while your engine is not running it may drain your battery. Another benefit is you can carry extra water or drinks on board (you might want a little refreshment if you’ve had a busy day between driving and exploring) and you shouldn’t need to unpack everything each night. You may wish to leave things like your coolbox, clothing, and some other gear not needed during the night in your car.
Bike camping is much like car camping although you carry all your equipment on your bike or use a trailer if you are wanting to wild camp along your route. You may choose to mountain bike and camp or use your road or touring bike it really is up to you and where you want to go. That is the beauty of camping with the right equipment you can carry your accommodation on your back or any other mode of transport.
Bike campers may also book into campsites for the evening if it is on or within a reasonable distance of their chosen route. You may even like to mix it up and have some wild camping nights and some on campsites. This is great so you can grab a shower and freshen up, maybe wash a few items or make use of charging points on the site.
As you will be having to cycle your route instead of driving the biggest consideration is weight and pack size. You will be carrying everything on your bike (or trailer so the lighter the better), this will also include food and water.
Hiking/Walking Trail Camping
Hiking or trail walking and camping is where you will spend your days walking or hiking, often on a set trail, such as Hadrians Wall or The West Highland Way, and camp at night. This means that just like bike packing you need to be conscious of what you will be carrying as all equipment needs to be carried on your back while walking ALL day. Of course, if there are any pubs or restaurants along the way it is nice to pay them a visit for a refreshment or some food and take the weight off for a while.
Combining hiking and camping gives you the chance to really get away from it all for a few days. Most good hikes will take in several types of terrain and give you the chance to experience views that you just don’t get from the road.
This tends to be for the more experienced camper as carrying your kit is no easy task. Many discover this type of camping because they want to hike or walk a particular trail and camping at the end of each day is the easiest way to do this without adding on more miles. Otherwise, you would need to walk into towns or to a nearby campsite to find somewhere to sleep the night each day after hiking.
Activity-based camping is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle and take in an activity of your choice. Some activity centres have areas where you can camp or stay or you could look into yourself and find a good campsite near where you would like to partake in your chosen activity.
There are many activities that people pair with their camping holidays and simply take their own equipment along and plan their own itinerary. These types of camping holidays are great when you want to spend time in the company of others who share your enthusiasm for such activities, such as friends or relatives.
Some common activities that people enjoy while camping are fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, hillwalking, cycling, geocaching, photography, wildlife tours, and videography/drone videography. These are only a few and I’m sure that many people can think of a way to incorporate their own activity with camping in some way. Often activity-based camping can also allow you to set up camp in a different location each night. This is especially true with kayaking.
The one thing you must remember when planning for activity-based camping holidays is the space or transportation of everything you need and how to keep your equipment safe. If you are camping on a site the safety of your tent is going to be a little better than if you are wild camping and leaving your tent unattended for the day. You will also want to ensure that the equipment you use for your chosen activity will be safe when you are not using them and some thought needs to be put into this in advance.
If you are taking expensive photography or videography equipment with you you will want to make sure you have a way to keep it safe when not in use. The same is true with larger pieces of equipment such as kayaks or paddleboards. If you can it may be worth strapping them to your car rather than leaving them next to your tent as it is not only the risk of theft but also damage that you want o to protect your equipment from.
Hammock camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and especially wild camping. I’m sure you have seen the pictures of people hanging in their hammocks looking ever so chilled. This for me is true, I love my hammock although I haven’t done much hammock camping I do like to chill out in the garden with mine.
Many people think hammock camping is simply taking a hammock and strapping it between two trees and your set. In the UK this would rarely happen as our climate is too cold (even in the summer) for this. Equipment you would need is a hammock (of course) with good strong straps, your sleeping bag, an under quilt, and tarp at the bare minimum. Oh, and a couple of trees or other such structures to hang from.
You can read more about hammock camping by clicking on the following link http://campmehappy.com/hammock-camping-for-first-timers
For a more in-depth guide to hammock camping, http://hammockcamping.uk/ is a great site to find out more.
Maybe you are just not ready or willing to go so basic while on holiday. Not to worry as there are now many ready camps available for people to book.
Ready camps have everything you will want or need on a camping trip. Tents are set up for you and come fully furnished and normally with electrics too. All you have to do is bring yourself, food, and at times bedding.
Ready camp tents are normally pre-erected canvas tents set up on decking. These are large tents, sometimes with several rooms to accommodate you and your camping family or buddies. Ready camp accommodation is normally set within a larger holiday resort that may have several other types of accommodations or be a part of a campsite that provides both ready camp experiences, as well as camping pitches for those wishing to, use their own camping equipment.
The Caravan and Camping Club have a list of ready camp locations in the UK if this is something you would like to research further by clicking the following link https://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/readycamp/locations/
So When is Your Next Camping Trip?
We hope that having read through the different types of camping above gives you something to think about.
Whether you are already a camper that has only ever don’t one type of camping and would like to try something new or are looking to experience camping for the first time there is most definitely a camping type to suit everyone, all you have to do is find one or more that suits you and meets all your needs for what you look for in getting away from it all whether for a night or an extended holiday.
Some people like to experience several types of camping each year while others stick to one type. Whatever you choose the more you do it and the more experienced you become in camping the more benefits it can provide you with.