“RVing” versus “camping”

“RVing” versus “camping”

By Chuck Woodbury
editor, RVtravel.com

Many years ago, I wrote about how the terms RVing and camping differ.

RVing, I suggested, is a good term to describe traveling with a comfortable recreational vehicle with most, if not all, the comforts of home. RVs for “RVing” would include big fifth wheel trailers and travel trailers, and most class A motorhomes. The Monaco Monarch motorcoach pictured here, for example, would be used for RVing but not camping. People who travel in a luxury RV like this do not “camp.”

Camping, on the other hand, is practiced with smaller RVs that are meant for weekend outings and family vacations. RVs are typically small travel trailers, pop ups (like in the photo), truck campers and modest-sized motorhomes, say, 25 feet or less. Of course, camping doesn’t require an RV — a tent or a sleeping bag will do. Some tent campers would argue that anyone who travels with an RV is not camping.

By my definition, campers prefer to stay in national forests, state parks or no-frills RV parks, especially those that offer many family activities. They spend a lot of time outdoors — by the campfire, fishing, hiking, swimming, dining at a picnic table. RVers, on the other hand, prefer cushier places — usually with full hookups, often staying in one place for weeks or even months at a time. Those in the largest RVs — the bus types, for example, often opt for posh RV resorts, which are like country clubs. These people “live” in their RVs not “camp” with them.

The readers of RVtravel.com are both campers and RVers. I think their common denominator is a love of traveling, whether around the country or simply down the road for a weekend getaway. No matter what size RV they travel with, they enjoy the freedom of going where they want, when they want — away from things familiar. Those with young families enjoy the time camping affords them to be together. Kids love camping; I sure did when I was a little guy.

I am more of a camper than a RVer, but like many of you, I can be an RVer one day, a camper the next. I can’t imagine myself in a big RV. My favorite campsites are in national forests and state parks. I enjoy utility hookups when available, but I’m usually fine without them. I think of my RV as a rolling cabin. I bet RVers with large RVs consider their rigs more like rolling condos.

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