Campers span a broad range of age, ability, and ruggedness, and campsites are designed in many ways as well. Many campgrounds have sites with facilities such as fire rings, barbecue grills, utilities, shared bathrooms and laundry, as well as access to nearby recreational facilities, but not all campsites have similar levels of development. Campsites can range from a patch of dirt, to a level, paved pad with sewer and electricity. (For more information on facilities, see the campsite and RV park articles.)
Today’s campers have a range of comforts available to them, whether their shelter is a tent or a recreational vehicle. Those choosing to camp closer to their car (“car camping”) with a tent may have access to potable hot water, tent interior lighting and fans, and other technological changes to camping gear. For those camping in recreational vehicles (RVs), options may include air conditioning, bathrooms, kitchens, showers, and home theater systems. In the United States, Canada and Europe, some campgrounds offer hookups where recreational vehicles are supplied with electricity, water, and sewer services.
Tent camping sites often cost less than campsites with full amenities, and most allow direct access by car. Some “walk-in” sites lie a short walk away from the nearest road, but do not require full backpacking equipment. Those who seek a rugged experience in the outdoors prefer to camp with only tents, or with no shelter at all (“under the stars”).
Although many people see in camping a chance to get out of the daily routine and improve their survival skills, others would rather benefit from the many amenities that campsites are nowadays equipped with. If a few decades ago camping meant a great deal of responsibility and knowledge about wild nature, today any individual who wants to spend a weekend away in the woods may also expect a high level of comfort.
The amenities that can be found in a campsite vary greatly, as do the prices campers must pay to use them. Usually, the most visited places tend to be more comfortable, more sought after, and more expensive. The cheapest option when it comes to camping still remains backpacking or tent camping, although it can lack some of the comforts of other options.
Many companies manufacturing camping accessories produce different types of equipment or gear that is intended to make camping a more comfortable activity. The gear used in camping is crucial and it can be a life saver. The right tent or food storage unit can easily save campers from insects or even bear attacks. The camping community has been known for its proclivity towards leaving unused gear at the trailhead for other hikers to use or swap.