All you need to know about primitive camping.
Generally speaking, primitive camping refers to remote sites that lack basic creature comforts like electricity, cellphone reception, flushable toilets and running water.
But primitive doesn't necessarily have to mean off the grid. In addition to the remote campsites that typically define the genre, many full-service campgrounds also offer more remote hike-in/primitive/tent-only sites.
Primitive camping is a great way to enjoy a little more peace and quiet – to really relax into nature with fewer distractions, like nearby campers, big RVs with generators, and the general commotion that often goes on at more established, crowded campgrounds.
“If you feel more comfortable with the creature comforts of an RV, then do that. "“There are lots of different ways to camp and no one style is better than the other. But disconnecting from the many screens that so many of us are glued to all day will do wonders for your mental and physical health. You stare at a screen for most of your (work) week. When you're able to get outside over the weekend and put your phone away, you come back feeling refreshed, well-rested and happier.”
Primitive camping may be a bare-bones, refreshing proposition but doing it comfortably – and safely – requires some forethought and planning.
"Researching your campground ahead of time is important, both for your safety and to ensure minimal impact on the place in which you're camping."
After deciding on a destination, it's critically important to consider what the surroundings will – and will not – provide.
First, it's really important to know what facilities will be available and which will not."
  • Will there be a bathroom? If not, you'll need to be prepared to follow “Leave No Trace”guidelines for burying human waste or carrying it out.

  • Will there be a water source? Many – but not all – primitive or basic campsites do provide a water source. However, that could be a faucet or a creek, so be specific when checking with the campsite. If yours doesn't provide a faucet, you'll need to carry enough with you and/or bring a water filter.

  • Regardless of how pristine they may appear, do not drink water from a spring, creek or any other natural source without treatment.
Your basic primitive camp supplies, should include a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, headlamp, potable water or a water filtration system if needed, a small camp stove and “a good book.”
  • Tents come in a wide range of prices, sizes and quality, but when you're bringing all your own gear, weight matters.
  • A headlamp is one of the most efficient and useful tools in camp.
  • An extra layer of clothing is also a must.
  • “A headlamp is important but trying to sleep when the temperatures drop at night and you don't have warm enough clothing is no fun at all.”
  • If you value a good night's sleep, consider bringing a real pillow, too.
  • “Many primitive campers choose to not bring a pillow. ""You can add up some clothes to use as a pillow, but you find that you enjoy a much better night's sleep if you have a real pillow or a camping pillow.