camping in Iceland

Not Roughing It: Camping with the Creature Comforts

Leaving the hassle of everyday life seems to be a universal benefit of going on a camping trip. I know I really enjoy the “getaway” aspect of camping. When I’m among the trees, setting up my tent and tending the campfire, I prefer to be “unplugged” from much of my technology at home…or at least nearly unplugged. I still bring my cellphone along for safety reasons (and I might even read the occasional email).

Today’s campsites feature all sorts of activities and amenities to help keep campers active and entertained (if they want that). The funny thing is, many campers say that there are some things they just can’t leave at home. And it’s not just the basics, like your favorite people and pets, toilet paper, a good book and some campfire cooking essentials. Oh no, it goes a lot further than that. We’ve identified four main categories of this new breed of campers.

Java Junkies

Photo courtesy of grey-foto via Flickr

According to our Facebook fans, the No. 1 “can’t live without” item is best summed up by Alyce Wonder: “Coffee baby, coffee!” For some, it’s just the pot and their favorite grind; for others, like Karen McNamara, who carries her single-cup coffee maker with her wherever she camps, the right gear is absolutely essential. “(I) don’t care what it weighs. I carry it back and forth every time.” And, Jeanne Rock Qualkinbush understands that devotion. She carries her Bialetti espresso pot and an electric frother stick so she can “always have a latte, even at camp.”



air mattress
Photo courtesy of I_am_tommythompson via Flickr

Another “gotta have it” for many campers is a bit of pillowy, soft comfort among the dusty, crunchy nature — at least at nighttime:  “I cannot sleep comfortably on the ground, so an air mattress is a MUST,” says Robert Barry. Steve Roach, who has a 2-foot-tall air mattress, couldn’t agree more, noting, “Bad backs need some comfort when it comes to tent camping!”





Gadget Gang

Photo courtesy of Matt Apps via Flickr

These days, not surprisingly, more and more campers need their gadgets. Facebook friend Betty Wilcox says that camping has to come complete with a DVD player and video games for her son. “Sorry to the purists out there,” she says. “I need to buy an RV!” Eric Early agrees, saying that he has to have access to a TV, even if it might seem to be the opposite of camping. “At some point you’re going to want to sit down and be entertained,” he said.



truck camper
Photo courtesy of TheDIYWorld via Flickr

Finally, there are those for whom “necessity” takes on a whole new meaning. Deb Roberts loves having a solid roof over her head—with all the amenities of home. “We upgraded to a truck camper several years ago, “ she says. “The added plus is that now we don’t have to pack anything but our clothes and food before heading out. We already have the kitchen sink!”

These types of campers are perfectly fine with trading the cost of lowered mpg for the benefits and comfort of an RV. Camper Rebecca Lamey is also proud to travel in comfort, which includes air conditioning, a fridge, a microwave, a shower and more. “I don’t camp,” she says, “I just drive around in a house on wheels.” Michelle Lewis, who recently purchased a travel trailer, agrees. “Spoiled, I guess — I like all the conveniences of home.”



Camping photo courtesy of Móri via Flickr

Coffee photo courtesy of grey-foto via Flickr

Air mattress photo courtesy of I_am_tommythompson via Flickr

Gadgets photo courtesy of Matt Apps via Flickr

Truck camper photo courtesy of TheDIYWorld via Flickr

Mike Gast
Guest blogger Mike Gast is Vice President of Communications at Kampgrounds of America, the largest system of family-friendly campgrounds with 485 campsite and RV park camping locations throughout North America.