Camping in the Modern Age

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Camping in the 20th century may have had a fairly mixed reception, but it has enjoyed a huge surge in popularity in recent years.

With the likes of festival camping, ‘glamping’ and even cliff camping for the more adventurous types, it has taken on a new identity whilst remaining one of the very best ways to get the kids out of the house and engaging with nature.


Unsurprisingly, the most conventional form is campsite camping. A popular choice, due in part to the sheer number of resorts around the world dedicated to it. This generally consists of paying for a pitch, which is your own space surrounded by other holidaymakers.

There are different rules to these sites, including guidelines for tent sizes and if you’re going to a family site, some will not allow single-sex groups – so always read up on your intended site’s requirements beforehand. However, most campsites typically come with facilities like washrooms, showers and toilets – a definite positive!


If you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious, then ‘glamping’ is definitely for you. A debatable practice – purists perceive anyone who brings electronic devices with them as a ‘glamper’ – popular opinion sides more with it being just a lavish form of camping. This is for those seeking an outdoor experience, but staying comfortable whilst doing it. ‘Glamping’ can involve various approaches, such as using Tepees or Yurts instead of tents and above all, rejects the principle of ‘roughing it’ the way traditional camping supports.

And ‘moor

Wild camping is without the doubt the most extreme of the options available. The idea is to head out only taking the bare essentials and whatever you can carry in your rucksack to a non-sanctioned campsite.

A popular form of this right now is cliff camping, which essentially consists of hanging off a cliff and setting up tent. Whilst there are less intense versions, when doing so in the UK, it’s only legal in Scotland and certain parts of Dartmoor National Park. If you do want to go somewhere else, you will need the permission of the landowner before doing so.

Last but not least, is the option that will have you reminiscing about your carefree teenage days, festival camping. Despite festival season now being over it’s always best to be prepared for next year’s escapades. Arguably the grubbiest form of camping, this is a lot more chaotic and you’ll find yourself alongside plenty of other campers dragging all your gear from a car park to a site that’s usually a few miles down the road.

Most people tend to go for cheaper alternatives when heading to festivals, but if you’re going with a large group, see whether a bigger tent is worth splitting the cost. Similar to campsite camping, festival sites have their own rules so it’s wise to do your research ahead of the trip.

Survival gear

There are plenty of essential things to take when you head off camping. A tent is obviously necessary but choosing the right one can make all the difference. If you want to guarantee comfort and have enough space, always add a person to the tent size; so if there’s two of you, pick a three-man tent. Sleeping bags are also a must, but to create that extra bit of comfort, make sure you bring a sleeping mat. An easy to use fold-out device, this will help insulate you from the ground, which ensures you stay warm.

If you’re heading off to more desolate areas, then there’s a few extra things you might want to consider taking. A headlamp or torch will be useful for trying to get around in the dark and as visibility really can be terrible in the wilderness, a lantern can be helpful to reinforce the light from the campfire.

A first-aid kit is also advised, especially if you’re heading off camping with the kids. Finally, bug spray and lots of it. You can never have enough and you’ll definitely regret it if you don’t bring any.

Camping is a growing trend that has gone from a traditional mode of holidaymaking to one of the most interesting and diverse options out there, and it’s also really good for you. One week of camping is enough to reset the biological clock that governs your sleep patterns, as your body adapts to the sunrises and sunsets. Whether you take the kids or not, it is a perfect way to unwind and escape the madness of city life.