Enjoying nature can come in many different forms, and many different vehicles, when it comes to the national parks. Camping is a pursuit that many people want to do, but everyone has different needs or different wants when it comes to their personal camping experience. Luckily, there are options for everyone.
There’s everything from the ultra-rugged backcountry trips (where it’s just you and a bag) to having a half-million dollar luxury vehicle at your disposal and everything in-between.
Let’s explore the three most common types of camping in the National Parks.
Backpacking – For the true outdoorsman/outdoorswoman.
Also known as backcountry camping, backpacking is the most fundamental type of camping there is. Just you, your travel crew, and a backpack full of supplies.
Nothing beats this, if you have the time, energy and love taking a little risk. There’s just something about eating dehydrated food, sleeping on a paper-thin mat, and hauling out your own poo, that makes you feel like you’re in nature! The lack of distractions in the form of additional baggage or the typical comforts of home truly gives you the opportunity to connect with the landscape of the natural parks on a different level.
While backpacking can be limited in the National Parks, there are certain areas that are designated for backcountry camping. Do your research before you set off.
If you decide to backpack, make sure to have all the necessary supplies. The last thing you want is to be out in the wilderness and realize that you’ve forgotten something important! Check out our page for a good backpacking supply checklist.
Car Camping – A classic family favorite!
When we car camp, we are very much like goldfish – we take up as much room as our environment will allow.
Meaning, you will fill your car up with as much shit as you possibly can.
You can pack everything from a comfy air mattress, chairs, to enough food to feed an army (or your family). If you are someone who is prone to feeling forgetful, or worrying that you have forgotten something, car camping could be a good option for you! You can pack so much that there’s no possibility that you’ve forgotten anything.
This is the most family-friendly option when it comes to visiting a National Park. It’s very inexpensive, allows you to bring more than you need, and creates a bonding experience your kids will never forget!
Reservations can be extremely difficult to secure, so make sure to book in advance! Make reservations at the NPS Site Recration.gov
RV’ing – The mac daddy of them all!
If you have the budget, this can be the gourmet version of National Park hopping. And the more you camp, the more you notice the different types of people that are RV folk.
There are usually three types of people who are into RV’ing:
1. I love camping, but I hate camping. We all know these people. Maybe you are one of these people. They love the outdoors, the beautiful scenery, hiking, and everything else about the National Parks, but they hate being uncomfortable and roughing it for a few days.
It’s all good! We love our boujee campers 🙂 The RV is a perfect solution for anyone who can relate to this idea, as it allows you to experience the outdoors during the day, and then retire to a more comfortable location for the night. The best of both worlds!
2. We paid our dues. Been there, done that!
These are the people who have earned their stripes and spent the good ol’ days camping in tents and backpacking throughout the wilderness. They’ve done their fair share of roughing it, and have countless stories of sleeping in a leaking tent, or forgetting crucial supplies at the last minute. None of this has dampened their love for the outdoors- they simply want to experience them in style.
They now desire a more pampered life and decided to make the investment in comfort (I can’t wait to join them!). Who can blame them? As we’ve said before, the RV is the best of both worlds, so why not enjoy a little comfort after years of roughing it.
3. This is a lifestyle – what house?
These are the people who lead a different life. One not made for the common person. These people not only vacation in RV’s- they live in them. This is a life for a person with a wanderlust, a love of travel and a wandering mind.
Slab City comes to mind. Home of the free folk. Those that take the road less traveled. They hop from place to place in their home and decide where to drop anchor for the day. Watch Into The Wild if you don’t know what I’m talking about!
What a life!
Camping in a National Park is a unique and incredible experience that you and your family will never forget, and there are many different ways to experience this adventure. You can always find one to fit your needs! No matter what type of camper you are, you can enjoy the 84 million acres of National Park! This land is our land.