Hiking, Backpacking, Camping or Glamping
I personally prefer to go camping instead of glamping, but we do own a 22″ Hybrid RV. My son and I have extensive camping experience with Cub and Boy Scouts, and then preparing for our Philmont expedition and then at least one annual Dad/Son trip since (minus the past 3 years, thank you COVID).
My son and I go two types of tent camping. We go backpacking and we go what we call “drop and flop”, which is where we select a campsite at a campground and then park there, pitch the tent, sleep there and take the car, park, and go hiking. We often will go what we call “spoke” camping, which is where we try to go on trails that are around the campsite, high for 3-4 hours, and then turn around or take a looping trail.
For those that have never done either or both, there are totally different equipment lists that you will need for each. For backpacking, everything needs to be ultra-light because an ounce in the morning weighs a pound at night, meaning, the pack always seems lighter in the morning and every ounce seems to weigh a pound at the end of the day.
When you go backpacking, you take everything with you, you need to bring your tent system and your sleeping system, along with your kitchen system and food. This means that you need to bring a tent, with poles, pegs, ground cloth, and rain fly along with your sleeping mat and sleeping bag. For a pillow, you often use the bag your sleeping bag packs in, stuffed with your clothing. For your kitchen, we have a small camping pot, pan, and plate set for two people, along with our spices and stove fuel and stove. We use a simple white kitchen trash bag as our cooking surface. I put that down on the ground and then put all the rest on top of it. When I’m done, I can simply wipe it off using a rewet-dried bleach wipe and roll it up.
You need to remember to bring your own eating utensils or you can be like my son on one trip, who had to use his pocket knife to eat with.
When we go “drop and flop”, we get to have more of the comforts of home, than backpacking. We get a nice campsite, with a fire ring (you can’t have fires when backpacking in most areas), and water with restrooms nearby (most have showers too). It has its advantages and disadvantages, just like backpacking does.
We have a completely different packing list for this type of camping. We bring the canopy, the foam matt for the bottom of the tent, and a multi-person tent instead of the single-person one we each have when we go backpacking.
The menu is often much more robust when we go drop and flop. When we go backpacking, it is usually PBJ for lunch or a snack bar of some sort, and for dinner, it is often a pasta or rice meal with some type of canned meat, On most trips, we start off with chicken and rice. We eat well for dinner when we backpack. The menu for drop and flop is usually steak and potatoes, or burgers and fries (yep, fries cooked over the fire) and the desserts are fun too like cookies or brownies in the Dutch oven or maybe a pie. Like I said we eat well when we go drop and flop camping, it’s our thing.
When we go backpacking, obviously our feet are our transportation. So if we want to see a waterfall, we need to hike the 8-10 miles to it. For drop-and-flop camping, it is usually, to drive to the parking area, put on our day packs, and hike the mile or two to the waterfall. We obviously see more sights when we go drop and flop. But getting there when hiking is part of the adventure and you often get some really amazing sights.
I personally would love to be able to thru-hike the AT (Appalachian Trail), where you start off in Springer Mountain, Georgia, and hike the 2,000-plus miles to Mount Katahdin, Maine. It is one of the things that is on my personal bucket list, but I know that my current health condition will not allow that.
Due to my medical issues, we have been doing more drop and flop lately and just short day hikes, which I guess I’m fine with, I just need to accept that this is the new me and learn to love and embrace it. It’s the next best thing. I love seeing the sites, and seeing the local area, and enjoy the food.
As I have alluded to earlier, we also have a 22″ Hybrid RV, which sadly has been sitting for a little while unused, due to several personal issues, but nothing is wrong with the RV, Now this is basically a hotel on wheels, complete with a refrigerator, stove, microwave, oven and a double-sided sink. The bathroom has all the bells and whistles as well. It has two queen beds and one oversized twin, plus the table and couch fold out into beds. It even has a television, so using it is really Glamping and not true camping. But the wife prefers using this over sleeping on the ground in a tent. And I’m good with it, it gets me outdoors and away from people and computers.
So which camping style do you prefer?