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For other uses, see camping (disambiguation)

Camping is most commonly defined as an outdoor recreational activity involving the spending of one or more nights in a tent or recreational vehicle at a campsite with the purpose of getting away from civilization and enjoying nature. Camping describes a whole range of activity, from survivalist campers who set off with little more than their boots to those who arrive in large recreational vehicles equipped with their own electricity, heat, and patio furniture. Camping may be referred to colloquially as roughing it.

The term camping may also be used for those who live outdoors out of necessity (as in the case of homeless people) or for people waiting in very long lines (queues). It does not, however, apply to the lifestyle of societies whose technology does not include sophisticated dwellings.

Camping as a recreational activity did not become popular until the early 20th century. It was (and is) a response to the increasing urbanization and isolation of Western society. Camping is often associated with a sense of nostalgia or of romanticism for 'the times of our fathers'. It simultaneously evokes images of 'oneness with nature' and 'man against nature' - independence and self-sufficiency.

Camping may be an end unto itself, but often it is in conjunction with other activities, such as hiking, swimming or fishing. (It may be combined with hiking either as backpacking or as a series of day hikes from a central location.)

National parks and other natural areas of interest are popular venues for camping. Most campers prefer to use campsites with special facilities such as fire rings, bathrooms and utilities. (For more on facilities, see the campsite article.) Indeed, camping is often restricted by law to designated sites in order to prevent campers from damaging the environment, but not all campsite offer similar levels of development.

Some campers may prepare food by cooking on a campfire, sometimes using such equipment as a Dutch oven.

Common tent camping equipment includes: