This post refers to people who camp for pleasure, not out of necessity. It might also include a little exaggeration.

I’ve noticed there are 4 different types of campers.

I’ll call group 1 the clueless campers. They have either never been camping before or not since they were a little kid and their troop leader told them what to bring.

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The clueless camper either has a brand new tent or a borrowed tent. They have not bothered to practice putting up the tent or of it’s a borrowed tent to make sure it has all it’s pieces. It typically takes them an hour to assemble a tent. If you go over and offer to help them they assure you they don’t need your help.

The clueless camper will have an immense amount of gear but will be missing essentials. They’ll have six bundles of wood but no way to light that wood on fire. They will have pots, pans, etc but their food will be hot dogs and potato chips. (Either things that you can cook on a stick or don’t need cooking) They will have a full first aid kit but no mosquito repellant in the peak of mosquito season.

The second type is the comfort camper. They definitely have everything they need. Plus everything else to turn a campsite into their home. It typically takes them two hours to set up and break down their camp. They bring several tables. They have at least two propane grills. They have a nifty net tent to keep nature at bay while they eat.

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They surround their campsite with tiki torches. Their food is neatly sorted into several milk crates. Everything must be civilized. A lovely table cloth is spread out over their table for dining.

The third type is the minimalist camper. I’ll freely admit I’m biased toward this type. It’s what I am. It takes me 5 minutes to throw my gear in the car and be out the door. I do bring a few extras that aren’t purely minimalist. Like an air mattress. I can’t handle sleeping on the ground or even a mat anymore. I do also bring a small cooler. I like bacon for breakfast when I camp and am not fond of food poisoning.

It takes ten minutes for me to set up camp; fifteen to break it down. Everything I need fits into my cooler or one of those blue ikea bags. I do have the advantage of some nice (expensive) high tech gear that I’ve collected over the years from REI. We’ve invested in one or two things a year. One year it was our little half dome 2 tent. Another it was tiny light weight camping chairs. (That bitty little chair is amazing!)

My point is that I get to spend most of my camping trip relaxing and enjoying the experience rather than setting up or breaking down.

The fourth type is the survivalist. They pack a tarp (maybe), a blanket, flint fire starter, some water purification tablets, an empty jug and a knife. Mad props to them but not my thing. Yet.

I have gone through all of the first three stages. I've discovered the less gear I bring with me the more I enjoy the experience and the less I have to worry about.