Primitive Camping

(This is not meant to be a tutorial on camping. If you're looking for some basics on how to camp, click here.)

True primitive camping is one of the best ways there is to get away and recharge. But different people can mean different things when they say primitive camping. I'm a little more picky than most people. When I say primitive camping, I basically mean the following:

1)You can't drive right to your campsite (or at least John Q Public can't)
2) It needs to be a natural location. (Tenting in your back yard or the local fairgrounds is not primitive camping)
3) There is no electricity or running water provided.
4) There are no 'designated campsites'. (Designated camp area is okay.)

A true primitive campsite is basically an out-of-the-way natural location where you set up your camp and enjoy nature undisturbed.

In true primitive camping, your campsite is what you make it. No modern conveniences are there waiting for you. Your campsite may be a simple bedroll, or you could set up a deluxe tent, but it's what you bring.

Also, true primitive camping is low impact. Once you leave, it should look like you were never there.

Driving up to a picnic table with water and electricity, 20 yards from a restroom/showerhouse is NOT primitive camping.

In order to truly enjoy the benefits of primitive camping, your campsite needs to be off the beaten path. Here's a good rule of thumb to determine whether a campsite is secluded enough:

While standing out in the open in the middle of your campsite, if it genuinely doesn't matter if you are buck naked, then your campsite is secluded enough.

So is it still possible nowadays to do real primitive camping? You betcha! Of course, I'm not going to jinx all my favorite primitive campsites by listing them here. But in general, you can find primitive camping on private land (with permission), and in State Forests and National Forests. I did not mention State Parks and National Parks for a good reason. The parks are almost always more restrictive than the forests. They generally require you to use campsites comparable to commercial campgrounds. In many parks, you can be fined for primitive camping.

Even in a State or National Forest, you need to get away from the high traffic areas, including foot traffic. How are you going to enjoy the solitude of Nature when folks are hiking past every few minutes?

In my first primitive camping requirement above, I mentioned not being able to drive to your campsite. The idea there is that if you can drive there, so can anyone else. The exception here is of course private property. The owner determines who can access the site and when.

I have a 20 acre piece of property in Central Florida that's my own piece of the Real Florida (the way it was before Ponce de Leon 'discovered' it).

When I don't feel like hiking, canoeing, etc to a campsite, I can drive to this place and still really camp!

My mention of being naked in camp was not hypothetical. I actually spend most of my primitive camping time naked unless it's too cold. Below are some trip reports of some of my favorite camping areas.

Naturist (nudist) Camping Trip Reports