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Are these RVers really camping? Majority says no

Last weekend we ran a poll asking, “When staying in a luxury RV in a full hookup RV resort, are you camping?” As you can see in the results below, 66 percent answered “No” and 34 percent “Yes.” Wow! In addition to the 2,390 votes (and counting), there were 142 comments. So, if that’s not “camping”, what is? What is the definition of camping? And what is camping vs. glamping?

Camping vs glamping poll results

Is this RV resort “camping”?

Definition of “camping”

What is “camping”? According to our old friend Webster, the 1913 definition of camping is:  “The act of encamping and living in tents in a camp.” Well, that certainly left out RVing!

How about Wordnet? They say, “Temporary lodgings in the country for travelers or vacationers. Level ground is best for parking and camp area.” Gotta love that they threw in “level ground”!

But the definition from 36 CFR 1.4 Cornell Legal Information Institute encompasses both in a much more formal way: “Camping means the erecting of a tent or shelter of natural or synthetic material, preparing a sleeping bag or other bedding material for use, parking of a motor vehicle, motor home or trailer, or mooring of a vessel for the apparent purpose of overnight occupancy.”

Camping vs. “glamping”

There is, of course, a difference between camping vs. glamping. So what’s “glamping,” then? The Oxford Dictionary states that “glamping” is: “A form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping.” Look at some of these glamping rentals. Wow!

Merriam-Webster goes into even more detail: “Glamping: Outdoor camping with amenities and comforts (such as beds, electricity, and access to indoor plumbing) not usually used when camping.” It even includes a comment from Jennifer Collins, “If the eco-friendly idea of falling asleep under the stars and roasting marshmallows around a campfire appeals to you, but the reality of pitching a tent and sleeping on bumpy ground does not, glamping, the new term being used for upscale—or glamorous—camping, could be your ideal green vacation.”

The online “Urban Dictionary” defines glamping as: “Satisfying your craving for the outdoors and your penchant for a good meal, nice glass of wine, and a comfortable bed.” Another online dictionary describes it as “like a hotel, but where your room opens to a beautiful landscape instead of a lobby.” Interesting… 

Reader comments on camping vs. glamping

Call it whatever you want, camping or glamping!

Joe W. quoted the Wikipedia definition in his response. “‘Camping is an outdoor activity involving overnight stays away from home, either without shelter or using basic shelter such as a tent or a recreational vehicle.’ For me, camping is being outside enjoying nature without the frills. RVing is camping with equipment that makes the experience enjoyable or possible. At my age, I need the comforts afforded by our travel trailer. Those comforts/needs make the experience more enjoyable, but my younger backpacking self would have laughed at it. Circumstances change, as do our needs. I personally have seen sites in upscale RV parks that resemble high-end hotels like the one I stayed at in Hawaii. They are not for me as I would feel separated from the wilderness I came to enjoy. All I would say is: Enjoy your travels in whatever way you feel comfortable, call it whatever you want, and have fun.”

Camping is a state of mind

Ace adds: “I think a person should call it whatever they want. I was infantry in Vietnam and slept on the ground with my rifle and no cover. Later backpacked in the mountains, tent camped with family with and without water/electricity. I am older now and am very happy with my trailer that has water, shower, heat, AC, TV and a real comfy bed. Just being outside, watching little kids playing and laughing, campfires, cooking outside and in general just enjoying my life and the ability to enjoy it. Our trailer gives me and my wife a lot of pleasure and I do not relish returning to sleeping on the ground. If a person doesn’t think I am camping then maybe as you get older your outlook will change. Camping is a state of mind; not what equipment you use or do not use.”

You do you!

Lisa commented, “Camping is whatever one wants it to be, and others’ opinions matter not one bit. You do you.”

We are travelers, not campers

Neal D. travels rather than camps. “We don’t stay in resorts, but we do have a 43′ DP with heated floors, dishwasher, washer and dryer, central vac, etc., so I say that we ‘travel,’ not ‘camp.’ Where we stay doesn’t change our camper, so we’re ‘traveling’ and ‘staying’ at different places, never ‘camping.’ Similarly, I’d say that regardless of the ‘camper,’ those who stay at a luxury RV resort are ‘staying,’ not ‘camping.'”

It’s a condo on wheels

For Ron it is not camping. He says, “Staying in a resort with your mega-sized RV is no different than staying in a condo somewhere. It is NOT camping. Moving about, taking in the sights of this beautiful country, stopping for a few nights in a small town or boondocking in a forest service park w/o hookups is what ‘camping is all about’.”

Tom shares the same sentiment: “Not camping but condoing!”

It’s RVing, not camping

Henry B. says, “We don’t call it camping anymore. We call it RVing. We are retired and have as much time as we want to travel. So, we want to travel in comfort.”

CeeCee agrees: “I agree, in fact, we never say we’re camping these days. It’s RVing when you are traveling away from home with most of the comforts of home. We love staying at state parks in the northwest, which is different from glamping at a snazzy resort.”

Lyle L. is definitely not camping! “In ANY RV, we are NOT camping. Rather, we are RVing. If you’re not coming into intimate contact with ‘nature,’ you are NOT camping. I have been in RV parks where someone drives in their big Class A and hooks up, turns on the A/C and the TV, and they are never seen again until they ‘break camp’. Camping? NOT!!!”

Camping vs. glamping: “We’re glampers!”

Ozzie says, “We’re glampers and we’re proud!”

Freedom to move in any style

Gordy B sums it up well. “It doesn’t matter what you call it: camping, RVing, glamping, etc… They all have one thing in common. It’s people enjoying the FREEDOM to move around in the style or manner they choose. The choices they make are often dictated by health, age, monetary cost, geographical location of home base, lack of home base… The thing is we all face the same problem at the end of the day, where are we going to spend the night? Your personal finances and preferences will dictate that. No one is wrong or right over anyone else. Individual choice and freedom is what matters. GOD BLESS AMERICA AND HAPPY TRAILS!”

As for me, I will forever be camping in my motorhome. Resort, state park or boondocking, I am excited to be unmoored, traveling and enjoying the adventure of something new. My husband draws the line, though, when I call our 40′ Class A motorhome “the camper”…

##RVT 1041

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Drue
7 months ago

RVing is not camping. It is an expensive way to travel. Huge depreciation for your RV, super low gas mileage, expensive RV park rates and hard to get park reservations. Most RVs are poorly constructed, repairs are expensive and take weeks, sometimes months to get finished. And where to park the thing when you are not on the road? Thanks, but no thanks.

Ruben
7 months ago

DOES IT REALLY MATTER???
Why does this discuss/debate continue?
We do what we want and or can, when we want or can, where we want or can.
Glamping…
Camping…
Boondocking…
Tenting…
RVing…
Life is full of choices.
Make the choice, no matter what it is.
The memories and joys are what’s important.

Oscar Thomson
7 months ago

Who really cares? I full timed for 6 years after a divorce out of necessity. Work took me all over the country where I met a lot of guys doing the same, rather than apartments or hotels. I could care less about is it camping, glamping, or whatever. Just enjoy what you’re doing regardless of what others think.

Allen Schott
7 months ago

What I saw in the picture reminded me of the mobile home parks around here. They have more space than the RV resorts. I prefer not to be able and “touch” my neighbor from my window. The state parks have more space per unit and don’t require a recreation center including swimming pools, and game centers. Hotels and Motels have those creature needs.

Brad
7 months ago

As defined here, camping would be limited to only having the bare necessities such as a tent, sleeping bag, maybe a cot to keep one off the ground while sleeping, an ice chest, wood fires, our own toilet maybe. Would camp stoves be included? I understand those thinking that being in a 5’er or motorhome don’t see this as being true camping but we spend the majority of our time outdoors, visiting with friends, preparing meals, sitting out by a campfire many nights enjoying the stars & the moon. For these reasons I think it’s fair to call what we do camping also.

Jim Prideaux
7 months ago
Reply to  Brad

Tent? Sleeping Bag? Ice Chest? For the hard core those are luxuries. I guess you will also be wanting matches to light that fire and camp stove?

Paul Cecil
7 months ago

My response to this… who cares!
Honestly, just get out and enjoy yourself. And why are we worried about definitions? Lets just enjoy the experience however you want to do it.

Kimberly
7 months ago

We have a 19 ft. travel trailer that has propane, electricity, and water. It has a 2-burner stovetop, refrigerator, water heater, lights, electrical outlets, a convection/microwave oven, and air conditioner. It also has a kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower, and toilet. There is also a city water connection, fresh water, gray and black water holding tanks. It is very different from tent camping, but it is far from glamorous so I don’t use the term “glamping”. This set-up allows us to choose from a variety of camping experiences with a broad range of pricing. Therefore, I call RVing or RV traveling. Whatever term one might choose to use for it, I hope your experiences are filled with discovery, fun, and peace.

Suru
7 months ago

So you have to pitch a tent to be a true camper? That makes you better and tougher? Give me a break! When we tent camped it was easy. We had 2 bins of camping equipment and an ice chest that we threw in the car and off we went. The tent was pitched in 5 minutes and we were set. Our trailer is a lot more work to get ready and set up. Try backing into a tight site with trees on each side & all the other campers watching. Things can break and ruin your trip. Dumping the tanks is not for the faint of heart. Towing the trailer in the wind or up a mountain can be nail-biting! Let’s face it, you’ve got to be tough to be an RVer!

Debbie
7 months ago

When I finally convinced my husband to get a 5th wheel and we’d gone on a few trips, he said it wasn’t camping, it was better!!

Will (DirectionWideOpen.com)
7 months ago

It *is* an interesting concept: “are you camping?”. For us, the fulltime RV life was more about riding motorcycles in other places than our home city, but still being able to “go home” without doubling the travel time. In addition, we are use to small spaces (we’ve always preferred small condos, etc.) Selling our house to get into an RV just meant taking the office elsewhere, as we both spend most of our days working, on the computer.

The way I view it: We’ve gotten to see so much more than we ever would have being stuck in a single location.

Bob p
7 months ago

I camped from 1962-1969 in the Marines, I RV in my various RVs since 1978, a huge difference. The RV industry misnamed it by calling them campers, they were never campers, not even the pop ups. Once you get off the ground you are RVing.

Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

When Marines go camping there are no full hookups.

Cat
7 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

Thank you for your service, Bob.

Jim Prideaux
7 months ago

Five levels of ‘camping’ –  ‘Campers’ think those in next higher level are not really ‘camping’

Level 1: Location: wilderness; Transport: walking;  Fire pit: stone circle;  Outside Table: your lap;  Gear: what fits in back pack; Sleep: simple bed roll under the stars;  Food: what you can gather hunt or fish (hard core not allowed to carry in bait);  Water: canteen; Cooking: in fire pit (hard core not allowed to pack matches) Heat: fire; Cool: hope for breeze; Wash up: creek or pond; Loo: where the bears do it

Steve
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Prideaux

Level 0: Mountain man, full-timer 🙂

Jim Prideaux
7 months ago

Level 2: Location: wilderness; Transport: horse or mule; Fire pit: stone circle; Outside Table: a small one that you brought; Gear: what the horse can carry; Sleep: comfy bedroll in tent; food: Unrefrigerated; water: what horse will carry; Cooking: in fire pit; Heat: fire; Cool: wish for breeze; Wash up: in collapsible sink with water brought up from creek or pond; Loo: where the bears do it

Jim Prideaux
7 months ago

Level 3: Location: primitive campground; Transport: car/truck; Fire pit: steel ring (maybe); Outside Table: a bigger one that you brought;  Gear: more usable stuff; Sleep: comfy bedding on cot in bigger tent; Food:  refrigerated with cooler; Water: some for washing; Cooking: propane stove; Heat: fire; Cool: fan; Wash up: campground facilities;  Loo: campground facilities 

Jim Prideaux
7 months ago

Level 4: Location: full hook-up campground; Transport: car/truck w trailer, or Class A/B; Fire pit: steel ring; Outside Table: a big green one, provided; Gear: stuff you don’t need; Sleep: mattress on bed; Food: frozen and refrigerated; Water: enough for drinking, washing and flushing; Cooking: propane stove/ oven and microwave; Heat: propane heat and electric fireplace; Cool: electric fan and AC; Wash-up: private sink/tub/shower with hot water; Loo: private toilet

Jim Prideaux
7 months ago

Level 5: Location: resort campground; Transport: monster truck  w trailer that’s way too long, or monster Class A/B; Fire pit: none, open fire banned, watch burning log video on 50” flat screen; Outside Table: what for, you eat inside; Gear: more stuff you don’t need; Sleep: mattress on bed; Food: frozen and refrigerated but less as you eat out more, Water: why bother; Cooking: propane stove/ oven and microwave, but again less important as you eat out more;  Heat: propane heat and electric fireplace;  Cool: electric fan and AC; Wash-up: private sink/tub/shower with hot water; Loo: private toilet

Mike Whelan
7 months ago

Hmm, Very interesting, never really thought about it.

G13
7 months ago

Does it really matter and it’s not anyone’s business what you, yourself, want to call it? We all do things differently so who cares, I don’t.

Carol
7 months ago
Reply to  G13

Totally agree! Besides they did make the investment in an rv, or a van or a tent and all the accessories that go with it.

Will (DirectionWideOpen.com)
7 months ago
Reply to  G13

It’s fun to discuss, though. Learning what others think of a concept broadens our horizons!

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