What is Primitive Camping? Giving New Meaning to “Roughing It”

primitive camping tents

One of your friends suggested getting wild this weekend and trying out primitive camping. You're here to find out "What is primitive camping?" and we have your answers.

Pack your gear, it'll be fun.

Yeah, we know. You've heard that line before as you sit there with your eyebrow arched.

What is Primitive Camping?

Down and dirty, answering the question "What is primitive camping?" is pretty brass tacks simple.

Primitive camping is camping in a remote location with no amenities and only what you packed in with you. If you can carry it on your back, you can have it while primitive camping.

Are you having visions of bug- and critter-infested wilderness, hiding your food from the bears, and sleeping in a tree? You can probably stop right there. It isn't near that horrid.

Stay tuned if you're trying to figure out how an RV with all the perks can still be primitive camping.

Glamping, Camping, and Peeing in the Woods

3 brown tents beside green leaf trees

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You can go primitive camping in a fully-outfitted RV. It's true. Or you can go primitive camping and build a lean-to out of fallen branches. Or you can settle on a happy medium somewhere in between all the different options.

"What is primitive camping?" is a question with many answers.

Glamping has its place

Camping is for families

Don't forget the flashlights

Seriously? You Want to Camp There?

Camping tents placed beside the green leaf trees

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Selecting the perfect location for a primitive camping adventure is going to depend on the type of camping you prefer.

If you are a backpacker, hiking to the tippy-top of a mountain range is not out of the question. But if you are a family just looking for some alone time, your options are a little less wide-open. If you have a fully decked-out RV, you can only park it on firm ground, which limits you further.

For a backpacker, there are many options. Your overall footprint is small, you have all your gear in one pack, and you don't mind hiking. So load up and go. Just make sure you are in areas that allow overnight camping. Private property squatting isn't cool.

For the family, you probably want somewhere close enough to parking that you aren't making 18 trips back and forth from the car with all your gear. If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, your options increase over a sedan family.

Having an RV means you may have to settle for a campground that offers primitive camping. There are some opportunities on federal lands and other remote locations, though.

Ready to find out more about primitive camping locations?

Boondocking on federal land

The Walmart parking lot

There are bears out there, you know

Packing the Right Gear

Camping tents are placed at the middle of the sun heat

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When discussing the question of "What is primitive camping?" you will undoubtedly get varied opinions. So far we have learned that it is more about the location than the gear.

So what gear should you pack for your primitive camping adventure?

All the basics (not a complete list):

  • Tent, hammock, or other sleeping gear
  • Sleeping bag or appropriate bedding
  • Food (of course you need food -- more on that soon)
  • Flashlight or lantern
  • Bear spray (if you really think you need it)
  • Trash bag to carry your trash out in
  • Toilet paper
  • Small shovel or trowel
  • Dry socks (seriously, pack them in a zippered baggie)
  • Cooler or food storage containers

Obviously, we can't pack for you. We don't know where you're going or what kind of gear you'll be using. So we have only provided a very basic list to get you started.

Make your own list and include everything you think you might need. Remember that you will be in a remote location without a store on every corner. What you need has to be packed in with you.

Your location and the type of camping (tent vs. RV) will determine what will need to be included on your list.

Don't forget the food

Everyone needs food and water to survive, so don't forget to include this on your list. If you are backpacking, you won't have a cooler full of lunchmeat so you won't have to worry about squishing the bread.

So, again, the question of what to bring depends on how you intend to camp.

For backpacking, beef jerky, trail mix, and fruit snacks can go a long way. You will need to pack a source of clean water, which can be as simple as a Lifestraw or a water filtration system.

For tent and RV camping weight isn't such an issue.

Getting Your Mountain Man On

We hope that you have a clearer understanding of "What is primitive camping?" now. While it would be easy to say it is specifically this or that, we would be doing you an injustice if we answered that way.

Primitive camping is simply camping in a remote location with no provided amenities. If you can take with you, you can live in the lap of luxury while also enjoying the freedom of Mother Nature's bounties.

The next time you think "What is primitive camping?" you can answer easily. Primitive camping is whatever you want it to be.

Go enjoy nature.

Featured Image by Photos from Pixabay


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