RVing? Camping? What’s the difference?

RVing? Camping? What’s the difference?

By Chuck Woodbury
I believe I am finally able to define the lifestyle called RVing, which some people criticize because it’s not really “camping.” What they don’t understand is that RVing and camping are not the same, although sometimes they overlap.

rv-cw-736Only one segment of RVers are exclusively “campers” — those who “camp” for a week or two a year. These people generally camp in the summer, often on family vacations. They typically spend their days sightseeing or hiking and their evenings by the campfire. Their RVs, if they have one, are pretty basic and are often rented.

After Labor Day and before Memorial Day, the RVers you see on the road are more often “travelers” than “campers,” using their RVs for both transportation and lodging. Their rigs are larger and better equipped than the vacation campers — sort of “homes away from home.”

Sometimes, however, these well-equipped RVers end up in the same national park or national forest campgrounds as more traditional campers and this is where their lifestyles get misinterpreted.

These avid RVers, in their bigger rigs, are simply living in a portable way. They are essentially living in self-contained, mobile condos rather than in fixed-based houses.

Many of these RVers have simplified their lives. I’m especially referring to the hundreds of thousands of retirees who have sold their homes and moved into a trailer or motorhome. At some point, they had to get rid of a lifetime of possessions. They retained what they considered important — fishing rods, a sewing machine, favorite books, a TV, pictures of the kids and grandkids, and nowadays, a computer.

These full-timers and serious part-timers would never be traveling America in the first place if RVs didn’t exist. They would not set off in their cars month after month, staying in a different Holiday Inn each night. To do so would be too much trouble and even exhausting. They might fly off to Europe on occasion, but by and large, they would spend their lives at home.

After climbing on Wyoming’s Independence Rock for more than an hour and doing battle with a blustery wind, it was a wonderful feeling to return to my comfy porta-house. When I closed the door behind me, I felt truly at home, even though my street address is a thousand miles away.

I understand the concept of the portable house. It’s not the same as camping.

photo: R&T De Maris

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