Nothing illuminates the differences between camping styles like the onset of winter weather. Snowbirds of all types gather their sunscreen, packing up RVs, cars, and trailers for warmer fun in warmer places. Whether they like to hike, canoe, or relax beside trickling streams, they all prefer to do it in shorts and sunglasses. The heat calls them south, and south they stay. RV and trailer campers display great staying power, sometimes extending their camping trips into multi-month adventures. This is due, no doubt, to their unparalleled ability to cook and store anything they could want. Tent campers enjoy their mobility and scope out the most comfortable pitching sites. So long as there are no torrential rains, tent campers are happy to build their homes around their packs and camp stoves.
The shift in weather illustrates another curiosity – the fact that some campers actually go out of their way to find colder weather. It’s true. All over the northern half of the country, brave folks will head farther north, or higher into the mountains, in search of cold. They go looking for early snow, for frozen lakes on which to fish, and for the year’s first taste of winter camping. These are the rugged campers who only enjoy warming up after they’ve been thoroughly chilled to the bone.
Autumn campers whirl off in different directions, all in pursuit of their personal goals. They’re anxious, this bunch. They hoard up sights, sounds, and experiences like squirrels storing up nuts for the winter. Fishers go after that one last fish or head to their ice shacks in quest of the first catch of the ice-fishing season. Hunters too, feel that fall is a time to literally fill the larders for winter, a chance that won’t be had again. Fall brings a sense of urgency, a drive to get out there while the weather’s still mild.
Fall color is a fleeting thing – blink for too long and you’ll miss the whole show. The campers who pursue fall color, those that travel into the forests and mountainsides to watch the red, orange, and yellow display, are a focused bunch. They seek blazing foliage with a time-sensitive intensity, hoping to savor the beauty during its splashy, limited show.
Intrepid birders stand in the cold on blustery shores, wading into wetlands for the perfect glimpse (or maybe photograph) of their favorite migratory birds. Whether they’re looking for that one last species to check off their list or are simply taking in the spectacle, they brave the chill, knowing that this is a singular opportunity. The migration occurs on its own timetable, and if you’re too slow, you’re bound to miss it.
Snowbird or snowbunny, car camper or RV camper, we all share one crucial thing. We love the outdoors, love the smell of wind in the pines, love watching shorebirds by the lake. So whether you prefer to bring all the comforts of home to your campsite, or like to survive on as little as possible, take a moment to enjoy your personal camping style. We’ll look for you at the next campground.