Every camper is different, as campgrounds are booked, backpacks loaded down, meals planned, buddies carefully selected. What kind of camper are you? See if you can spot yourself among these outdoor personalities.
For the Vagabond, camping is just a place to sleep, because the destination is the journey. Found in the remote corners of backcountry and high in the mountains, all the Vagabond needs is a small flat spot close to some dramatic place: a peak, a deep canyon, or a trail along a knife-edge ridge. They may or may not have a tent: hammocks or high-lightweight tarps with trekking poles may do the trick.
You’re one if: You usually pitch your tent after dark and are gone early in the morning.
While the vagabond moves light and fast, the Architect uses ingenuity to create a bombproof lair and hub of operations in the wilderness. They’ll use a combination of tarps and sailor-quality knots, carefully move rocks and logs, make driftwood structures, and soon they’ve got a full-on fortress complete with elaborate camp kitchen. Their thoroughness in construction is matched only by their skill at deconstruction: they take Leave No Trace seriously.
You’re one if: You don’t go camping without three tarps and an axe.
For the 5-Star, camping doesn’t mean the comforts of home have to stay home. Wall tents, cots, lanterns, camp showers, and Bluetooth speakers are among the ten essentials. More suited to front-country camping or raft-supported river trips, the 5-Stars also tend to make up for the comfort of home in camp with high-octane rugged adventures that burn a lot of calories during the day.
You’re one if: You own a camping cot but not an ultralight stove.
The Paul Prudhomme
What the 5-Star is to accommodations, the Paul Prudhomme is to food. Camping is about elaborate meals; the joy of food with friends in the outdoors. Early morning hiking departures are second to a delicious breakfast. If you’re camping with a Paul Prudhomme, expect impressive culinary one-upmanship and competition on multi-day trips. Anyone who shows up with freeze-dried food will be mocked…and then fed real food. Expect to gain weight.
You’re one if: A two-burner stove and pots and pans from your kitchen go camping with you.
The Visual Connoisseur
Camping is all about stunning scenery. Craving an escape from roads, people and the mundane, the Visual Connoisseur will invariably pick camp spots for the views, photographic opportunities, or the wildlife that’s likely to wander by. Then they’ll orient the tent carefully to have the most dramatic peak in their tent door. If the stars are out, they’ll skip the tent entirely. The good news is that you’ll camp in the most beautiful spot around. The bad news is that the Visual Connoisseur won’t notice if they’re windy, exposed, buggy or far from water.
You’re one if: You sleep facing the sunrise with a camera next to you.
The socialite makes camping an opportunity to meet interesting people. While the Vagabond will often slip out of camp while others are still waking up, the Socialite will have already met the neighbors in the next campsite and invited them over for coffee. Their wilderness diplomacy makes them a source of good relations with neighbors and inside info from locals. The price is that they’ll keep you up late chatting around the fire.
You’re one if: Your whiskey ration includes enough for those you meet along the way.
An iconoclastic and thrifty subspecies of the Vagabond, the Guerilla looks for places other people don’t camp, often because they’re not allowed to. For the Guerilla, this is a challenge as well as a convenience. The Guerilla avoids anything that involves registration and fees. Look for them driving down remote roads on public lands. They have their secret spots, but they’ll never, ever share them.
You’re one if: You chose your tent’s color to blend in to the landscape.