Tent Camping vs. RV Camping
There are plenty of great ways to enjoy the great outdoors, and several different ways to set up your campsite. You can opt for a more traditional method by pitching a tent and being as close to nature as possible or you can bring a camper or RV and have a relaxing, cozy retreat away from the world. These are by far the two most popular ways to go camping. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so the question is, which one is truly the best? Let’s have a look and you can decide for yourself!
Let us start by looking at all the great things about tent camping. The most obvious pro with tent camping is that you get to be outside and in the fresh air, much closer to nature. If you are sick of being cooped up inside your house, tent camping is the best way to enjoy the great outdoors during the day and the night. Tent camping is also much cheaper than RV camping. Not only are tents much less expensive than RVs, but tent campsites are also much cheaper than RV ones. RV campsites are bigger and often have water and electricity hookups that require you to pay a lot more money. Tent campsites are usually less than $20 if they aren’t free. Another nice thing about tent camping is that you can just have the tent in the back of your car, no need to worry about driving your pickup truck around pulling a camper or driving around a large RV. If you want to be able to make quick stops during your journey or if you have places you need to drive to throughout the day, it is much easier to simply drive your car around and set up your tent whenever you get to the campsite. If you want to get away from the world and “rough it” in your camping, you would get more out of tent camping than you would out of a camper.
One of the drawbacks of tent camping is that it can be tough to keep your dishes clean. There often isn’t a place for you to do this with convenience, and you usually can’t use typical dish soap with a campsite spigot. You can try to use camp soap, but it doesn’t do too great when it comes to washing off grease. Many tent campers end up eating out simply because they don’t have a way to clean their dishes.
Another con to tent camping, especially during the summer, is that you often can’t find a shady enough place to set up. This can lead to your tent and your campsite getting hot and uncomfortable during the day, so to relax in the shade for a while you may need to hike away from camp.
Moving on to campers, let’s take a look at what makes RV camping such a great option. One advantage is that wherever you go, you will have shade. If your campsite doesn’t have any trees close by, you can count on the awning attached to the camper to help you better enjoy a summer afternoon in nature, or if it gets really hot, you can stay inside for a little bit and cool down with the air conditioning (assuming you have electric hookups at your campsite).
Another great thing about RVs is the built-in amenities. Late-night bathroom trips can often be a nightmare, but with an RV you will have a bathroom right there inside to use at your convenience. You will need to clean the bathroom from time to time unlike you would need to with campsite bathrooms, but you may find that it’s well worth the small sacrifice.
In an RV you have a lot more freedom as far as what you can take with you. You can bring more clothes without having to pack them up in a box or a bag, and the same goes for food! Since a camper has a refrigerator and cabinets inside, you can have a much wider variety of food to take with you on your getaway. Since you have a kitchen sink inside you will also have a much easier time cleaning your dishes, making meals much easier and nicer. You can also refrigerate leftovers, and you won’t need to buy ice for the cooler. Overall, RVs offer significantly more storage than tents do.
One more great pro to RV camping is that you can stay much more comfortable when it starts raining. You can either sit under the awning or stay dry inside and since you have a stove inside, you won’t have to miss a meal just because of some rain! If you go camping often enough that you think you will come across a lot of rain, an RV may be quite worth it. You won’t find anything to protect you from cold, weather, and animals like a camper. If you want to take pets with you on your camping trip, an RV is certainly a more attractive option. If you take your pet tent camping, you will probably have to tie them up or at least be with them all the time.
There are some disadvantages to consider when it comes to RV camping, though. The biggest con is its price. If you are camping on a tight budget, you may not want to get an RV. While a tent may cost several hundred dollars for something sturdy and high quality, an RV or camper may cost you a few thousand or more, especially if you want a nice and luxurious one. To use your camper comfortably there are a lot of other things you need to buy to outfit it with. This can add quite a bit more to the price. RV campsites are a lot more expensive than tent campsites, especially when you will be hooking it up to sewer and water amenities as well as paying for cable hookups. You also need to consider gas expenses. An RV will use a lot more gas than a car will, so that will factor into the cost increase as well.
An RV does some significant driving disadvantages to account for. You won’t be able to drive as fast, and the drive will be more stressful as there are more things you need to pay attention to. It also makes parking and stopping for food or gas much more difficult, as not all parking lots will be able to accommodate an RV. Truck stops will become your best friend when you are taking your RV on the road. You may not get to make all the stops that you would like to when RV camping because there aren’t as many parking options. You don’t have the luxury of pulling over whenever there is something in nature that you want to take a look at.
Something to keep in mind when RV camping is that setup and takedown will take much longer. Tents are designed to be set up quickly and conveniently, but there is a lot more that goes into setting up camp in an RV. Some parts of takedown that can be quite time consuming include dumping sewage tanks and checking the slide for acorns and pine needles. At many campsites, you will need to add support under the camper to keep everything level and stable as well. This whole process makes taking down a camper take an hour or more, while with a tent you can get packed up and moving in 20-30 minutes.
If you have considered getting a camper van rather than an RV, you’ll find that it is a much simpler option than a full-blown RV, but without a lot of the amenities. It may be a nice upgrade from a tent if you don’t want to go all out on an RV. One nice aspect is that takedown is much quicker and easier. Just pack your things inside, make the bed, and start driving! It is certainly easier to drive from place to place than an RV. The biggest disadvantage with a camper van is that it is much smaller inside, making things like changing clothes and cooking rather uncomfortable. Another con is that there is a second engine to take care of, resulting in more maintenance.
Both tent camping and RV camping have things that make them fantastic. If you want an escape from the world or want to spend more time enjoying nature, you will prefer to rough it in a tent. If you are more into a luxurious and relaxing getaway when you go camping, an RV may be the best choice for you. If you are looking for an upgrade from a tent but don’t want to commit all that money to an RV, you might want to consider a camper van. Each has pros and cons, so the choice is ultimately up to you! Whatever option you end up going with, have an amazing adventure in the great outdoors!