Traditional Camping and RV Camping Pros and Cons
Getting back into it after a long hiatus? New in the camping game? Whatever your experience, it can be challenging to muster the gusto to book a trip to the campsite, pack your gears, and venture out, whether for a long journey or a one-nighter —especially if it’s been a while since you’ve gone camping.
Things have been challenging in the last few months due to governments worldwide’ lockdown to curtail the spread of COVID-19 infection. We’re forced to isolate ourselves at home. Now, you’re stuck in bed, beneath the sterile glare of fluorescent, the benefits and joys of basking in the real sun can escape you completely.
What does it feel like to camp outdoors again?
Battle Under the Firs
Traditional tent campers argue that real camping is about enjoying nature with the least intrusions or distractions. At the same time, RVers claim that you don’t have to give up convenience to experience the great outdoors.
The RV camping movement is growing exponentially, with many campgrounds and national parks populated by more RVers than tent campers. Most of these RV campers bring a lot of equipment like TVs, sound systems, and generators, which can bring about squabble with tent campers who prefer to have a quiet camping experience.
Are you more comfortable with a roof over your head while camping, or do you plan to get close to nature by pitching a tent? Before you throw your opinions on either, get to know first about the differences, pros, and cons of RV and tent camping. You’ll have a better judgment on Usual Camping vs RV Camping —which is the real deal?
Portability is also another big reason why many campers prefer the usual tent camping. You can set up a tent nearly anywhere, even in your own backyard. You can also carry a smaller tent in your backpack.
With a small backpacking tent, you can hike into areas that are not accessible by vehicles and take advantage of views, and yes, solitude. Camping at national parks and sites is also easy as you can set up a tent without worrying about taking up too much space!
Some camping facilities even offer tent camping even though they have no RV hookups. However, there are drawbacks. Tents don’t provide much protection from rain or animals and can be blown down in bad weather, which RVs can compensate for.
Additionally, many national parks housed tent camping sites. Some even put in electricity so you can cook on an electric burner, recharge your cell phone, or utilize other extras that may not be available in other locations.
In case you’re still not convinced about tent camping being the best way to enjoy nature, here are more pros and cons to consider:
- Tents are portable and, depending on the tent’s size, allow you to camp just about anywhere (legal, of course).
- Tents can fit the entire family in one space, with a capacity that ranges from one person up to more than 12 people. It’s a cheap way to travel if you are using your own equipment and vehicles.
- Tent campsites in campgrounds are more private/secluded and usually cheaper.
- It has a more traditional camping feel.
- Assembly and breakdown of the tent (especially the big ones) and other equipment can be laborious and time-consuming. The struggle will double if the weather is harsh.
- Equipment needed can get expensive, no matter if you’re buying or renting them.
- Tents don’t offer protection from thunderstorms, from falling tree limbs, critters on the ground or etc. from above. Also, they are not as secure in windy conditions.
- Sleeping on the ground can be uncomfortable, damp, and chilly.
Camping through an RV feels like you’re inside a house on wheels. It can be appealing for those who want to enjoy the outdoors but are a little hesitant about traditional camping.
Being comfortable in your own home in unfamiliar territory. Not having to pack and unpack stuff. Sleeping wherever and whenever. Traveling while working. Ah, the idea of unbridled freedom to go wherever the wind leads is just enticing.
All of these are possible through RV camping.
RV camping is a convenient way to explore the outdoors because they are self-contained. You will have access to the bed, bathroom/shower, and kitchen. You will be sleeping inside your own tiny(ish) home on wheels, comfortable and off the ground.
A typical RV can accommodate a maximum of 5-7 people, allowing everyone to inhabit the same living, sleeping, and driving space.
These perks, however, come with a price: RVs are big and expensive.
If you’re not used to driving a big vehicle regularly, maneuvering a 20-30 foot-long RV in unfamiliar territory can be challenging. Thinking about making your way down to some bumpy dirt roads or up to some winding mountain passes? You may need to think twice if you’re driving a big camping vehicle like RVs.
Also, you will have limited options if you’re in an area with few parking lots. Time refill gas? Hold your wallet tight as a regular RV consumes a 50+ gallon fuel tank.
If you’re still weighing your options, here are some additional pros and cons of RV camping to consider:
- A regular for-rent RV can accommodate more people than a standard van/car, a maximum of 7 people for the biggest unit.
- Food and other perishable items can be kept inside the vehicle instead of being transferred to bear boxes, etc.
- Equipped with a kitchen shower and bathroom.
- Campers can have access to water/electricity.
- Can sleep comfortably.
- Requires RV site at national parks or camping grounds—usually less private/secluded and more expensive, especially with water/power hookups.
- It needs access to a dumping/water station to empty and fill the tanks. You will also need to empty its sewage tank.
- RVs can be difficult to maneuver or park and are mostly not suitable for off-road travels.
- Needs gas, which can be costly.
So, which is better?
Traditional tent camping is an escapist form of camping while camping with RV gives a modern, convenient, and comfortable twist to the activity. Most RV campers started off with the usual tent camping before switching, while some choose to practice both camping styles.
Opting for either of these two camping forms depends on your budget and personal preference. Whatever it’ll be, what’s important is you enjoy your camping trip. That’s all that matters!
Zada Ingar is a content writer and editor by profession and a self-confessed bookworm based in Davao City. She likes to write just about anything related to travel, lifestyle, arts and crafts, and finance. When not busy making ends meet, Zada spends her time lounging at the beach or binge-reading her favorite novels.