Monday, January 17, 2022


Just what is “camping” nowadays?

I’m getting confused, and apparently so are a lot of government officials and media folks in the U.S.

Just what IS “camping” these days?

A week doesn’t go by when I don’t see a news story about some community’s efforts to ban “homeless camping” or “campers” living on the streets full time in ramshackle RVs. These stories pop up right beside those for proposals for the construction of fancy new campground/RV parks and other good tales about the RVing lifestyle.

If you aren’t a camper yourself, it’s easy to see the confusion caused by lumping together a traveler in a $400,000 Tiffin with an unfortunate soul huddled in a cardboard box village under an overpass.

At first glance, you might say, “What’s the big deal?”

Should the daily struggles of the homeless be called “camping”?

Real campers are getting a bad name because these officials see few differences. In the minds of many officials, “campers” – whether in a lean-to with a blanket or a palace on wheels – are often tarred with the same brush and deemed “undesirables.”

The big deal is that misinformed city councils and planning boards all over the country are lumping all “campers” into the same bucket whether they are considering dealing with their homeless problems or debating the approval of multi-million-dollar RV resort developments. Take a look at our recent story about that issue HERE.

The facts are that RV park developments are big business, and they bring a constant flow of fresh dollars into local economies that would not have access to that cash any other way. RVers spend locally, and those dollars roll over several times. To put true campers in the same category as the unfortunate folks living on the streets is a disservice to RVers, RV park developers, local citizens, and even those who are truly homeless.

Homelessness is a national crisis and needs to be addressed at every level. But let’s not confuse it with camping.

The desire to build an RV park and the need to deal with homeless Americans are different issues that require very different solutions. We can’t let local officials dilute either by continually misinterpreting the definition of what camping really is.

Keep your eyes open for instances where the term “camping” is misused and be ready to call the offenders on the carpet. Recreational camping is camping. Homeless encampments are something else entirely.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.



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5 months ago

Campers only use tents ? Not true, most “Campgrounds” include tents and RV’s . That would classify both tent and RV users as “Campers”. But yes I’ve seen and read about the derelict RV’s and tents in Portland Or. In no way are these people campers. These are homeless people, regardless of how they got there they are struggling to survive every day. They are not going to move from the street to the new KOA in the area. It’s a shame we elect people who have no clue about people or life skills.

5 months ago

Homelessness looks like basic survival. I wonder how many are former military? A Sad commentary for the “richest” nation.

5 months ago
Reply to  TomS

Too much of the available money is concentrated in the hands the uber-rich. To solve the homeless problem, our country needs fairer tax laws and money spent on projects, such as infrastructure, that benefit everyone.

5 months ago

Sold our house and are living in a fifth wheel on a monthly basis in a campground.

Is this ‘camping’? No. Not even ‘glamping’.

Although we do cook outside sometimes over a fire and go for hikes/swimming, still can’t really call it camping.

Basically, it’s in the description: “living in a fifth wheel”.

5 months ago

I saw a discussion on the website used in my former neighborhood, opposing a new apartment building because they promote a transient lifestyle. Sheesh.

5 months ago

Camping and RVing are very loosely and confusingly used–even without the homelessness issue.

• Some people go to a site and stay there for the entire weekend, sitting and cooking outside, having a campfire, swimming, etc.
To me this is tent-camping or RV-camping and the uses below aren’t camping.

• Some people use their RV as a portable hotel room; leaving during the day and early evening to sight-see and go to restaurants with little to none of the “camping” activities.
• Some use their RV mostly for tail-gating.
• Some use their RV as their home while working a temporary or seasonal job.
• Some are making a one-night stop while traveling.

Trying to fit these and other uses under just the two terms of “Camping” or “RVing” causes a lot of confusion and misunderstandings.

Michael Galvin
5 months ago
Reply to  Irv

We do more than “park” and don’t really “camp,” so I call what we do “pamping.”

5 months ago

Really? This a truly opinionated non-article. While I do wonder about many of our elected officials, I cannot believe that they need an article like this to distinguish between homeless people and those who are use the RECREATION aspect of RV’s. I cannot believe that there are many local officials who think they have to restrict all RV activity to keep the homeless off their streets. The homeless souls need real help, not just restrictive legislation that takes them even farther away from living a responsible lifestyle.

Thom R
5 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Where do you live, under a rock? Come to Seattle. Tents and derelict RV’s on every street corner. It’s the most crime-riddled city in the country. Officials and news media all call them “campers”. I don’t want to be lumped into that group.
Call me a retiree who’s traveling/sightseeing in an RV.

5 months ago
Reply to  Dan

It seems that there are a lot of articles about small towns opposing new RV developments because of the fear of bringing in ‘undesirables’. So they do get lumped in with recreational RV’rs.

Duane R
5 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Not to be snarky or disrespectful, but I would like to live in your world, where “common sense” exists. I have begun using the term “uncommon sense”, as rationale is gone from what appears to be the majority of people.

If you read the articles in the local newspapers about proposed campgrounds, you will see that many of the locals feel that there will be too many undesirables inhabiting the proposed campground. They don’t seem to understand that campgrounds (in general) don’t allow squatters, so they don’t have the undesirables in their midst.

I will disagree with you that this is an opinionated non-article. If you want to open a campground near/in almost any town, you would find that this article is spot-on. Too many elected officials don’t see the difference between recreational camping/glamping/RVing and squatters.

Last edited 5 months ago by Duane R
Donald N Wright
5 months ago

“That’s not real camping”. There are a lot of differences, on the front of my truck are two bumper stickers, one says Escapees and the other says Philmont. When I talk to a group I ask “how did you get here?” On foot, by bicycle or by car/truck? Are you using canvas tents or a synthetic material tents? I backpacked at Philmont in 2011, “do you know what backpacking is”? Camping is tents, RV’ing is motorized, and covers everything from Teardrops to monster motorhomes. Campers and RV’ers have place to go and places to go home to. We rarely stay longer than a week, but some may stay a month. We have interesting conversations afterwards.

5 months ago

Homeless has always existed. It is an unfortunate fact of life. Driven by drugs, lack of skills, poor life choices. Society has yet to deal with a viable safety net. There is no “Grand one solution.”

5 months ago
Reply to  tom

Amen. A hand up. Not a hand out.