Astonishingly Surprising: How Did Camping Begin?

Exploring the History of Camping: How Did it All Begin?

Camping has been around for thousands of years, but do we know exactly where and when this enjoyable practice originated? In this article, we’ll take a journey through history to explore the origins and evolution of camping as we know it today. As an experienced camper and father of three, I’m excited to share the journey with you!

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When looking at the history of camping, it’s important to first note that the activity has its roots in humans’ ancient need to migrate for food and shelter. Before it was a leisure activity, camping was used as a survival strategy for groups of people who would travel from place to place in search of sustainable resources.

Evidence suggests that camping can trace its roots back as far as 40,000 years ago. The tools and strategies used for camping were far from elaborate: food and shelter was found wherever it could be attained, and groups often established temporary camps in various locations.

The First Tents

The modern tent has become one of the most iconic symbols of camping, but when did tents first make an appearance? This is a tricky one to answer, and much of our understanding of the history of tents is still based on speculation and anecdotal evidence.

A group of people camping in the outdoors

Most experts agree that the ancient Egyptians were the first to construct tents, between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago. The primitive tents would’ve been made from animal skins and tree branches, and only used when migrating from one place to another. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that tents started to resemble more modern designs.

Tents in the Middle Ages

The Middle Ages were marked by a dramatic surge in the use of tents, particularly during wars. These tents were more refined than those used in ancient times, and were often made from canvas and wood. Not only were they used as a quick shelter for soldiers, but they could also be disassembled and moved around fairly easily.

Tent designs continued to evolve throughout the Middle Ages, and many of the components we use today, such as tent poles and stakes, first appeared during this period. As wars became more frequent, it also became increasingly common for groups of civilians to use tents for shelter.

Family camping outdoors

Modern Camping Over Time

Modern camping, as we know it today, didn’t begin until the 19th century. With the industrial revolution came an increased emphasis on leisure, and people began looking for ways to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The invention of canvas tents made them much more commonplace, and they were often used as temporary housing for adventurers and sightseers.

Camping also underwent a resurgence in the 20th century. Improved technology allowed for more complex camping gear, making camping more accessible to the general public. Campgrounds were also becoming increasingly popular, and camping began to be seen as a fun, family-oriented activity.

Campers Hiking

Where We’re At Now

Today, camping is a popular form of recreation around the world. From glamping to car camping to backpacking, there is something to suit every type of camper. We’ve come a long way from the days of animal skins and tree branches, and modern camping offers a comfortable and enjoyable experience in the great outdoors.

At its core, camping is about reconnecting with nature–something that we all need now more than ever. So why not make a journey of your own and go camping this season? You can learn more in the video below.

With modern camping equipment, no matter which style you choose, you don’t have to worry about the perils and privation associated with past camping trips. Pack the right gear, do your research, and let your camping journey begin!