What’s the Deal With Urban Camping?

urban campingAt Uncle Sam’s, we love to camp. We love being out in nature and experiencing the great outdoors. We know that people go about camping in different ways. Some like to get lost in the woods with nothing but a knife, while others like to pack everything they own and drive right up to a campground with facilities.

However, we recently found out about a new kind of camping that’s gaining popularity, and we’re not quite sure what to think about it.

Urban camping is exactly what it sounds like – camping in a city environment. There are varying levels of urban camping, some being more intense than others. Urban camping can be anything from pitching a tent overnight  in your own backyard, to backpacking from city to city and sleeping under bridges.

Those who champion this camp craze make some interesting points. They claim that it is more sustainable than traditional camping. Instead of driving tens to hundreds of miles into a natural area, you can walk or take the bus to your campsite. Urban camping is also supposed to be a more economical option. You don’t have to pay for gas, park passes, etc.

Some larger cities in the U.S., like NYC, and cities over seas in Europe have designated areas for urban camping.

Urban camping also appeals to travelers who are taking long road trips. Sleeping in a car or camper also fall under the the category of urban camping. The idea is that you can save money on hotels or driving out to campgrounds by sleeping in your vehicle in parking lots.

The arguments for urban camping sound nice. Who doesn’t like saving money and saving the environment? However, there are some arguments against urban camping as well.

Camping in a city is not always legal. There might be certain areas where it’s legal, but without proper research, you won’t necessarily know for sure. Even in areas where it is legal, authorities might not allow it. Unless you’re just camping for the rush of knowing it’s not allowed, this is a big turn off to urban camping.

Urban camping can be dangerous. In bigger cities with higher crime rates, there are all kinds of potential dangers, but urban camping can still be dangerous in smaller towns as well. Urban camping enthusiasts might say that camping out in nature is dangerous as well – you’ve got bears, poisonous snakes, and pointy sticks.

Camping in the backcountry can definitely be dangerous. There are more wild animals, the environment is untamed, and if something goes wrong it can be hard to get help. However, most recreational campers don’t go into the heart of the backcountry. They go to campgrounds, or popular campsites. Even then, camping in the woods is most likely safer than camping in a city environment.

So, we’re a little torn when it comes to urban camping. If you want to set up a tent in your backyard, or if you’ve been driving for ten hours and decide to catch a few winks in your parked car because you don’t have money, that’s one thing. If you’re sleeping under bridges in Baltimore because you think it would make a sweet profile picture, that’s another.

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