The Hierarchy of Camping
I was reading the Semi-Rad Blog and saw a really great post on camping.
When Mr. Fisher and I were packing for our recent trip to S.C.A.R.R. 2014 I had genuine concerns about how much gear we were packing. In my humble opinion we had a lot of camping gear. All of it was designed to make our trip comfortable. For me this smacks of glamping but before you throw us under the Range Rover let me explain.
So if you look below at the graphic from Semi-Rad.com you can see the Direction of Scoff. It proceeds from Bears down to the Glamper.
I’ve done four of the twelve levels at one time or other.
Glamping: I’ve never glamped. I’d like to try it but I don’t think I have the budget for it. Think Henry Ford and his Vagabonds.
RVing with hookups: Mrs. Okierover and I did this last year. Our friends, the Coopers, invited us and we slept in popups with hook-ups for electricity. It snowed three inches the first night. I called it “RVing”, not camping. The Mrs. and I have talked about doing this more in the future but we are not there yet.
RVing without hookups: I wanted to setup up a rig that let me do this. I’m still deciding if it’s worth the money or effort considering the needs of Mrs. Okierover.
Car Camping with a tent you can stand up in: This was our experience at S.C.A.R.R. 2014. Mrs. Okierover bought me the tent and we used it.
Car Camping with a tent you can’t stand up in: Boy Scouts. I took my Webelos out a few times and this is a good description of our camping.
Backpacking: Think U.S. Marine Corps. A good old fashioned two or three day “hump”. Good for the soul, not so much for the spine or feet or knees.
Ultra-light Backpacking: This is a recent development. You sacrifice comfort for lighter weight so you can go farther back in the woods.
This is where my experience ends. The upper levels become more “hardcore”.
AT/PCT/CDT Thru-Hiking: In my opinion the AT/PCT/CDT level is for devotees or people seeking a spiritual connection. I would love to hike the Appalachian Trail. It takes on average 6 months to complete. So I don’t believe I’ll ever attempt it. I’ve never worked anywhere that I could ask for six months off and expect to have a job when I got back, well maybe Three Feathers Associates, but that was it. I have a dear friend who wants to hike from the north rim to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I think that is a three day trip so nothing close to Thru-Hiking.
Bear Grylls: Yeah, I’d like to believe that I was as “hard” as Bear Grylls back in my prime. I never had any desire to try the very limited survival training the Marine Corps gave us. One time…tropical island…maybe I’d try that. A survival trip in the Canadian out back in January…no thank you.
John Muir: I had to look up who this was. John Co-founded The Sierra Club. Über-outdoorsman just barely describes this man. My life lead me on a course away from this kind of living early on so I don’t think that level is possible for me.
Kennewick Man: Imagine no civilization as we know it. Imagine living in the wild 365/24/7 for your entire life. Imagine all your belongings, clothes, weapons, shoes, pack, utensils, everything made from what is found in nature. A hut with a fire is a luxury.
Bears: Imagine no civilization. Imagine no tools. We are humans so we can never achieve the pinnacle of camping, being a bear.
So where do we draw the line?
Each of us has to decide what’s best for them. I like to think I am Bear Grylls-esque. My ideal camp is in the back of my Range Rover Classic. No tent necessary. Nothing but the bare essentials for food which will be cooked on an open fire.
When I camp with my living history friends we cook our food on an open fire and use utensils only found in the early 19th century. So modern camping with a Coleman Stove seems a bit luxurious maybe even glampy. We went all out this year and ate with the Army Survey team seated at a table! 19th Century fine dining to be sure!
Sleeping in a modern sleeping bag with a sleeping pad takes the guess work out of how many wool blankets you might need not to shiver all night long while you lay on the cold wet ground. I actually slept on a cot while I attended S.C.A.R.R. 2014, scandalous.
The take away.
Do what makes you feel the most comfortable. Sure you can scoff at the “lesser” campers on the chart, but why? You are doing your thing, they are doing theirs. Having a good time out in the wild (near wild or national or state park ) is what it is all about. Putting down the cell phone and listening to the trees and birds is where it’s at. Watching a white-tailed deer step out of the fog and sip from a mountain stream or watching two feral pigs
get after it consummate their love in a mud pit on the South Canadian River is magical experience. Letting your soul connect if even for a brief moment with nature will charge your batteries for another few months of living in our modern complex society.
So there you have it, that’s it, now I have to answer this call, check my Facebook page, check on my village in Clash of Clans, and I think it’s my turn to play a word in my four Scrabble games. See you out in the woods.
Thanks for reading and Happy Camping and Happy Rovering.