The Different Types of Camping

There are many different ways to peel a potato, and many different ways to go camping. Some camping methods are pretty straightforward, but some take a little explaining.

Here’s a list of terms for different types of camping, including the familiar and the not so familiar. Sure, there are even more types of camping even further on the fringe than the ones we’ve included – urban camping and dry camping for example – but these are the ones that most people are likely to come across.

Tent camping

As the name suggests, tent camping pretty much just means camping in a tent. This applies to everything from camping at a music festival, camping in the backcountry, at a drive up site, or camping in your own backyard.

Car camping

8 times out of 10 car camping just means camping at a site where your car is within a short walk from your campsite. The other 20% of the time people mean that they’re literally camping and sleeping in their vehicle.

RV camping

RV camping is basically like wheeling a comfortable little cabin to your campsite. You’ll typically have air conditioning, electricity, a cooking area, indoor plumbing (sort of), and in some cases WiFi or maybe satellite TV. Deluxe.


“Glamping” combines “glamorous” and “camping” into a single term to describe a super plush and comfy camping experience. Some use this term as an insult while others use it in earnest.

There’s no real threshold for glamping, but it typically refers to an exceedingly luxurious campsite.

Weathered traditionalists may call camping with a sleeping pad glamping, others may draw the line at an inflatable queen size mattress, and still others are ready to haul out the boxspring.

Primitive camping

Primitive camping just means that you won’t have any of the facilities or amenities of a maintained campground. There won’t be any electricity, plumbing, and probably no trash pick up. It’s just you and the woods. Dispersed camping and backcountry camping are two types of primitive camping.

Backcountry camping

This refers to camping away well away from designated campgrounds. To be in the backcountry means that you’re in a remote an undeveloped area.

Dispersed camping

Dispersed camping is any camping in the National Forest outside of designated campgrounds.


Backpacking is an activity rather than a type of camping, but the nature of backpacking dictates the type of camping you will be doing. When you’re backpacking, you’re carrying all of your belongings in a pack for an extended period of time. Your camping gear needs to be compact and lightweight.


Touring is similar to backpacking in that you’re self-sustained. You’re carrying all of your belongings for an extended period of time. The main difference is that with touring you have a mode of transportation other than your two feet.

Bikepacking (bicycle) and yakpacking (kayak) are two of the most popular types of touring, but touring can be done by any type of transportation whether it’s a canoe, horse, etc.

As you can see, there’s a lot of overlap with different types of camping. Be sure to stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters for camping equipment and camping supplies in Northwest Arkansas!

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