Growth and History of Camping

Camping has been part of the American culture for decades. It goes without saying, that it is definitely a culture that will remain with us for a very long time. Camping allows people to break away from the fast-paced world, to a much slower environment.

With today’s technology demands, camping allows one to decompress from the high tech world we live in. Camping can be described as an escape into the outdoors, where one gets to be surrounded by nature. Please note that it can only count as camping if you spend at least one night outdoors.

This recreational activity usually involves fishing, hiking, canoeing and bone- fire stories. When it comes to shelter, individuals are required to bring a tent and a sleeping bag with them. Of course, camping calls for the requirement of other utilities such as a fire wood, cooking items, food, knife, torch and lantern. These utilities and necessities are often referred to as camping gear. They definitely make amazing memories that most individuals don’t mind reliving.

However, how did camping culture begin? Let us take a look.

Two Girls Camping Outdoors Image

A beautiful day camping!

The History of Camping

The inception of camping can be traced back to the 1850s when a young boy travelled across the USA. The boy, Thomas Hiram Holding, accompanied by 300 other individuals, fueled the camping concept. His experiences travelling and camping saw the birth of his first book: The Campers Handbook.

Other than writing a series of books based on his camping experiences, he also founded an Association. In 1901, he pioneered the Association of Cycle Campers. It later merged with other clubs from Great Britain and Ireland. Camping organizations sprouted across Europe and North America.

This henceforth marked the importance of camping among individuals from different countries. Please note that most of the North Americans did not carry out organized camping activities. Youth camping, however; according to historians, was pioneered by Frederick William Gunn and his wife.  With these two individuals, organized camping was born in Washington. In 1861, he and his wife owned a boy’s school. His discovery took place when he took his students to a two- week trip in the wilderness.

During their time in the wilderness, they set up camp and took part in activities such as fishing and hiking. Their success in their camping trip saw the beginning of a love for adventure, travel and camp.

Boy Scouts and Camping

In 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was founded by one of its earliest pioneers, Ernest Thompson Seton. Not too long after, the Girl Guides were formed with the same emphasis on camping. The  Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) followed suit as well.

Boy Scouts Camping Image

The growth and popularity of camping was recognized by the National Park Service across America. Now, they are numerous recreational camping grounds open to travelers and campers worldwide. According to Reserve America, there are over 279,000 camping sites in America. The number includes both federally managed camping sites, as well as campsites found in state parks.

Over time, camping has seen a change and evolution. People now have a choice in terms of shelter and necessities when it comes to camping. Now, individuals can travel and stay in motor homes as a way of enjoying the outdoors. Or just do it the old-fashioned way: camping with a tent.

If you are camping with your dogs, check out our article; “Tips for Camping with Dogs“.