Camping is more than pop-out trailers and blowup mattresses, and now's your chance to prove it. From tent-less nights to river-water drinking, here are seven ways to challenge yourself at the campsite so you can really say you were roughing it.1. Leave the cooler at home
I know, it's harsh—especially for number one—but you wouldn't be reading this if you weren't interested in challenging yourself in the first place. A cooler is full of hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad and cold soda; everything you would eat on a typical Saturday night. But, you're trying to get away from the humdrum of everyday life.
If you really want to rough it, try picking up some dehydrated meals and bring food that doesn't need a cooler; like fruit. Try these dehydrated food recipes for some quick and easy ideas.2. Put your pack on your back
It's nice to have your kitchen, closet, bathroom, and home entertainment along for the ride "just in case something comes up" but you don't actually need much for a camping trip, especially if you're roughing it. Plan your outfits, meals, and entertainment, based solely on what you know you'll need and fit it all one backpack—even if it's a large backpack.3. Leave your cell phone at home
You know that feeling: sitting in a quiet movie theater and a cell phone starts ringing? You think, "Wow, some people can't handle spending two seconds away from their phone!" Now rewind to last camping trip—was your phone there?
Part of roughing it is truly disconnecting while you're in nature so put your phone down for a day or two. One of my favorite camping spots cuts out all cell service the minute you enter the mountains and it's refreshing not worrying about who's texting, calling or writing on your Facebook wall.4. Purify your own water
If you know you'll have access to a river, invest in a water purifier, which will pay for itself within the first 10 camping trips you take—or sooner depending on how much water you bring. Not to mention, you'll never run out of water, as long as there is a source of water nearby and you're eliminating extra weight and waste.5. Catch your meals
Test your outdoor skills by fishing for a trout or two. If you're vegan or vegetarian, study edible plants and bring an identification book with you.6. Get lost in your map
Take it up a notch: grab a forest map and hike to your campground. Nothing makes you feel more at home in the woods than finding a spot and saying, "Yep, this is it." Developed campground camping and backpacking are two completely different types of camping that you can equally love. So if you're roughing it, try the latter.7. Sleep under the stars
If the weather is right, local wildlife is friendly, and you're feeling up to the challenge, ditch your tent and fall asleep under the most beautiful scenery in the world—the stars.