We’re more than halfway through one of the strangest years to ever have kicked off a decade, and it has us feeling nostalgic about the past and simpler, less complex times. As summer is coming to a bittersweet end, we want to take a look back on camping through the years – how it’s evolved, advanced, and maybe even things we miss.
How it all Began
The founder of modern recreational camping was Thomas Hiram Holding, who wrote the first edition of The Camper’s Handbook in 1908. Traveling by wagon train across the prairie as a boy fostered his idea of camping and he wrote books about his ventures.
From Roughing It to Glamping
Early camping was done out of necessity, as hunters, fishermen, and traders tracked their game and goods. It was not until the late 19th and early 20th centuries that recreational camping became the leisure activity we all love today. From silk tents to aircraft grade aluminum alloy, campers throughout the years have found refuge in several forms of shelter.
Trends and Innovation
Technology has driven the evolution of modern camping, providing everything from camp stoves that charge smart phones to water bottles with advanced filtration technology for safe hydration. What technology can you not live without on your outdoor adventures?
On the flip side, many modern campers find delight in the challenge of a good DIY project, spending their days Googling camping hacks and homemade granola recipes. One of the biggest outdoor leisure trends is vintage camper renovation. Quirky, retro, and outdated recreational vehicles get a facelift from skilled DIY-ers, replacing upholstery with no-sew ease and covering walls with ship-lap or chic peel & stick wallpaper. Glampers can easily get lost down the rabbit-hole of renovation search results – the options and ideas are endless!
Tartan. Buffalo check. Gingham. We can all agree that plaid is a staple when it comes to camping attire. Dating back to the 1920’s, men and women alike could be seen sporting the pattern on their knickers and skirts. Through the years, more functional and fun apparel could be found in campers’ backpacks as they spent their days in rolled denim or showing a little leg with the well-known capri pant introduced in the 1950’s.
Camp tees are now collectors items and a fashion statement for those who haven’t even stepped near a tent or campfire. Vogue even doles out advice on “what to wear camping this summer” featuring everything from swimsuits to $400 sweatshirts. Pinterest boards are growing as “pinners” find inspiration in mixing function with fashion.
FUN FACT: Abercrombie & Fitch got its start in 1892 as a leading outdoor adventure, fishing, and hunting gear supplier. Having sold women’s hiking boots and socks, the store dressed America’s notable visionaries and leaders, like President Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Charles Lindbergh, and Amelia Earhart. It’s only more recently that they’ve been pumping out tunes and woodsy fragrances to lure ripped-denim-coveting teens.
Although the years have brought many changes, we can find comfort and happiness in tradition, including new ones that you and your loved ones create in the great outdoors. One thing (or a few!) remains the same: there’s always s’mores, campfires, friends, and memories to be made while doing this thing called “camping”.