You’ve rejected your prep-school community, your trust-fund parents, even the kindly old man who wanted to be your father-figure, and you’re finally ready to forge into the Alaskan badlands and survive on brooding journal entries and berries until you...Wait, nevermind, that’s a movie! You’re no Chris McCandless, but thanks to the 21st-century, there is now a bevy of camping options for every kind of Great Outdoors and Great Outdoors-Person. Hey, Jon Krakauer might never write a book about you, but given his plot lines, that’s a good thing, right?
Lake Powell Resort Houseboat
Remember that one time when you set up your tent on what appeared to be flat land, but it was actually a rock garden, and you didn’t sleep, and your besties didn’t sleep, and everyone woke up sore and cranky and it tore your entire group apart? We’ve got just the solution: camp on water. Ditch the hard ground for a lake-bed (get it?) that will rock you to sleep and strengthen friendships.
Arches National Park
Or you could go against millions of years of human evolution and go outside when every other member of your species goes inside. After all, there’s nothing quite like falling mercury to make a human say Hey, let’s burrow into some snow and ice! So slap on your best animal pelts, channel Jack London, and nestle into your snowflake palace, warmed by the knowledge that you are the only person you know who would survive a snowpocalypse.
Ah, the Great Indoors! Nothing says “wilderness” like maneuvering along precarious roads in a house-sized vehicle with polyester curtains. Besides hot water and mattresses, recreational vehicles have even more advantages over primitive tents, e.g. airbrushed eagles and names drawn from some deep part of the American zeitgeist. If a ground-sleeper paints an elk staring into the middle distance on her tent, she'll have your respect. Until then, you'll look comfortably down on everyone from the captain’s chair in Liberty Warrior.
Aw, baby, we didn’t mean it! Forget what we said about tent campers four seconds ago. You’re obviously the real camper around here. You’d like to see some RV Queen put together a tent in the dark at 30 below using only blood, sweat and pioneer tears… And the carbon implications! But you’re not mad. You’ll just wait, stoking your fire and perfectly browning your hard-earned mallows until disaster strikes and the campground runs out of septic space. Then you’ll nobly comfort the weak and lead the benighted bourgeoisie to the Leave No Trace light.
Yes, children should be seen and not heard, but once they insist on being seen as autonomous, worthwhile mini-humans, your contract negotiations are just a slippery slope away from full vacation benefits. In other words, one day you will have to take them camping, and they will break your canvas chair and hog your new plush sleeping pad and get inexplicably covered in sap (in the sand dunes?!). But you will convert to Americana-tinged Zen Buddhism just in time to sigh and say something lofty about journeys instead of destinations.