The term “camp” was coined by the late author David Foster Wallace, who wrote the novel “Camp,” in the 1980s.
“It’s not an idea, it’s a practice,” Wallace told Mashable in an interview.
“Camp is the name for the kind of thing that you do at home or when you’re out on the trail or on the bus.”
A couple of years ago, the phrase was adopted by a growing number of travelers, including those seeking to spend a few days away from the daily grind of the trail.
And, the popularity of “camping” has increased as more and more people see the benefits of a break from the drudgery of the average week-long trek.
“For me, it feels like a vacation,” said Emily Gaudet, who moved to Oregon from New York in 2013.
“I feel like I’m getting a break, not a trip.”
“I just like the idea of being able to be in a quiet place,” she said.
“A place where you can just go outside and just enjoy the sun.”
The process of becoming a campground “campers” can be difficult to find, because the term doesn’t really refer to a specific location.
There are dozens of different campsites in the state, with the most popular sites serving up to 30 people.
The campsites that cater to campers range from the sprawling campsites of the Northwest, like Camp Redwood in Oregon, and the sparsely-populated campgrounds of the Southwest, like the campsites at the Woodlands, where the National Park Service has an entire campground dedicated to camping.
“There’s a huge difference between a camp site and a campfire,” said Steve Anderson, a former national park ranger and author of “Camping Guide to the American West,” which was a finalist for the 2014 National Geographic Traveler of the Year.
“Some of them have campsites, but you have to make sure they have water, and they have garbage cans,” he added.
“So, they have to have that kind of infrastructure.”
Campsites are often set up for a short period of time, but can easily become overcrowded.
If the campground isn’t staffed, people will often leave the camp and head for the nearest town, Anderson said.
That’s because the lack of a staff and an abundance of camping equipment mean there are fewer options for camping, which is a big draw for those looking to make the most of the weekend.
Anderson, who runs a website called Camping Guide, also points out that the campsite system isn’t necessarily the best for campers.
“If you’re a tent or a tent pad, you’ll have to leave them in the tent because you can’t fit them on top of each other,” he said.
When the weather warms, some campsites have been converted into open-air living areas.
“These are the kind where you have a tent with a bed on top and some windows and some fire,” Anderson said, referring to the outdoor areas of a camp.
“And they’ll let you sleep there.”
Anderson said there are campsites for anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors, from the tiny campground at the edge of the Sequoia National Park in California, to the huge campgrounds and lakes in the Great Lakes region.
But, he cautioned that there are plenty of people who want to take advantage of the camps to escape the rigors of the daily commute, especially if the area is popular.
“They’ll go to the mountains, and some people want to spend time there, but they’re not necessarily going to camp there,” he explained.
“People are not necessarily thinking about camping there.”
Campers are a growing market for some businesses in the Portland area, as well.
Some businesses in downtown Portland, like The Coffee Shop, have a large number of campers, and The Coffee shop’s manager, Jessica, said that a number of customers from around the state came to the store for coffee this past summer.
“We saw a lot of people in the city that would come to us for coffee,” she explained.
She said that the coffee shop’s owner, John, has also seen a significant increase in business this past year, due to the popularity and availability of campgrounds.
“Everyone is kind of gravitating toward campgrounds,” he noted.
“Not everyone has the money to pay for a place to camp, but everyone is looking for places to go.”