One of the best things about camping is that there are so many ways you can do it. Depending on your experience and comfort level, you can come up with a camping plan that is perfect for you and your friends and family who come along. When you first start camping, all of these different types and styles may seem a little overwhelming, and it may be hard to figure what exactly you want to do.
Many parks and campgrounds require you to register and reserve a space first, so if you don’t understand the differences between different types of camping, it might be difficult to decide what type is best for you. Car and interior camping are two very different types of camping. Depending on your own situation, one or the other will be more appropriate for your next camping trip.
What Is Car Camping?
Car camping is just like it sounds. You will use your car as an extension of your camp. It will help you store a lot of your gear, and may also be able to provide some power to your devices. If you want to listen to music or need to a little extra light at night, you’ll be glad you have your car with you. Most campgrounds have areas specifically designated for car camping. This is often a great way to start camping if you’re a beginner.
What Is Interior Camping?
Interior camping is also known as backcountry camping or backpacking. In this type of camping, you will have to reach the campground on foot, and the hike could take you a few hours away from where you parked your car.
It’s known as backpacking because you’ll have to take all of your gear with you in your backpack. This includes your food, tent, clothing, water, and everything else you’ll need. Many parks also have areas set out for interior camping. These campgrounds are usually a bit more rustic than car camping areas. There are several key differences between these two camping styles.
Convenience and Difficulty
Interior camping is simply a lot more difficult and is generally recommended for experienced campers. With car camping, you can drive all of your supplies directly to the campsite, but interior campers have to carry all of their supplies in their backpack. This can be gruelling and exhausting for people who don’t hike often.
When you use a car, you are able to bring a lot of supplies, so you can be sure that you’ll have everything you need. When you backpack, you will have to pack light, so you will have to decide what things are most important. If you realize later that you forgot to pack something or made a mistake, it’ll be too late to get what you need.
Car camping also provides a safe way to stop and leave the wilderness. If there’s an emergency, you can pack up your car and leave. If your tent breaks and tears, you can always sleep in your car. When you are interior camping, you won’t have these same safety nets.
The sites for car camping are usually pretty nice. Some of them may have access to water, showers, and flushing toilets. Interior campsites are much farther into a forest and usually lack these amenities. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find an outhouse, but you shouldn’t expect one. This is one of the reasons why families, especially those with young children, generally decide on car camping. It’s a much easier way to get introduced to camping.
Rules and Regulations
Interior campsites are placed much farther into wilderness areas. Many of these campsites will be only slightly developed, and the surrounding areas will be mostly unspoiled by human activity. Because of this, these areas usually have many more rules and regulations. You generally aren’t allowed to build a fire when you’re interior camping, and instead you’ll have to use a small propane stove. There are also more rules about how to deal with your garbage and food, and you could be significantly fined if you don’t follow them.
Car camping sites are in areas that have been developed to a much higher degree. There are far fewer rules in these areas, and you can normally build a fire. Some areas may have trashcans located around the campground, so disposing of garbage is very easy.
Where You’ll Be
Though interior camping has several more challenges than car camping, many campers still prefer it. When you go interior camping, you’ll be able to go deep into a forest and get views of wildlife that other campers won’t be able to see. You’ll also see large sections of nature that are virtually untouched by humans.
Though your campsite will be much more rustic, you will feel a lot more accomplishment after successfully surviving and thriving in the wilderness. These backcountry campsites will usually have few other people, and it’s not uncommon to go several days without seeing someone who isn’t in your camping group. For inexperienced campers, this can make them a little nervous, but experienced campers love the feeling of being on their own and taking their own self-guided tour through the woods.
When you go car camping, you’ll be in a very different part of the park. You’ll likely be closer to the edge of the forest or nature area, so you’ll be less likely to see wildlife than someone who goes backcountry camping. Because of the convenience, car camping grounds are usually the most popular, so you will probably see a lot of other people in the same general area when you’re camping. This isn’t to say car camping is less rewarding. It’s a great way to enjoy nature, and it’s perfect for families and those who haven’t done much camping before.
With all of the different types of camping available, you’re sure to find a style that suits you best. Some people like to camp in several different ways, and depending on who you’re camping with, one type of camping might be more appropriate.