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Camping With or Without a Remote
Remote Campsites
historic pueblo ruins in New Mexico. Sound of other noisy campers echoes incredibly well.

Camping with or without a TV Remote

While on a recent camping trip, I was outside my tent looking up at the brilliant stars in the night sky. The sound of hummingbirds had faded with the last light of the sun and was replaced with crickets cheering wind blown pine needles racing across the dirt to a final resting place. In the past, my evening's entertainment in the wild included a gathering of rabbits, a deer or two, maybe even a coyote howling in the distance, but now I had additional choices of entertainment. I could watch TVs glowing from RV windows. I could listen to a hard rock band blaring from someone's stereo. Or even try to play name that tune with the rhythm and hum of a generator behind me in spot number seventy-two.

"Should we be heading towards map icons and directories that separate "developed" properties versus ones that bring you back to nature in a "primitive" way?" asks Jonathan Stocker, of alternative lodging at "We hear from many people who would like to plan a trip around quiet tent camping and avoid the more crowded, neighborhood-like atmospheres of some parks out there. And that's difficult to do using most of the websites, books and maps today. You really need to call ahead and check the current status of the park. We provide direct website links and phone numbers but sometimes it has to be to a service field office and they may not know the exact location of a remote campground."

How did camping change for so many of us over the years? It has become a different world in the wild and getting harder to determine what type of campground you are headed to until you have your stakes in the ground. RV's are popular, and are changing the landscape of the wilderness. Whether you are a snowbird, a retiree or just a wanderer, they are great. They provide a home away from home and are still cheaper than motels. You may pay more in gas, but less in lodging and you are in the great outdoors along with your television, stereo, shower and other accessories.

Camping Without an RV
Austin, NV is a wonderful forest service campground.

Years ago, campgrounds had more tent sites and a minority number of RV sites here and there. The scale is shifting and it's becoming more common to have a locale with 80 RV sites and 10 tent-only sites. More and more places don't allow tents at all. On a recent trip, Stocker found tent sites that were overgrown with weeds while the RV sites were getting ruts from all the wheels rolling heavy loads over their spaces.

One beautiful newly built state campground had closed down in less than a year because the water at the boat launch was too low. Brand new bathrooms, solar panels and picnic tables sat unused except by spiders. They were gated and blocked off in a paradise to the solace seeker instead of charging less money for a different kind of camper? One without a boat or Jet Ski.

When researching online for campgrounds, the lines of distinction are blurred if not lost. You may find RV Parks and hope they have a couple of tent sites. You may find a cheap or even free campground at the end of a washboard road and hope that it can accommodate your wheelbase. But many times you are in for a surprise as the sun goes down and you are a road coffee shy of alternatives. No matter the extent of research, things are different when you get in the wild. Forest and Park services suffer from budget cuts and their condition knowledge and maintenance is not always up to date. You may find varying classes of fees whether you have an RV, use hookups or just pound stakes. Many parks charge full price whether or not you need hookups and water.

Many state and national parks are cramming more spaces into smaller areas and charging more for them, some near $30 in 2004. You may pay a fee closer to a cheap motel and get less space to yourself. It may not be all wide-open spaces. In an RV, you can close the windows. Out in your sleeping bag, you may feel like the person snoring in the space next door has rolled into your tent.

If you love camping, you need to keep getting out there in whatever way you may choose. It's just getting harder to get away from it all., based in Arizona (US), lists all kinds of lodging, from primitive campgrounds and RV Parks to luxury hotels and spa resorts. AllStays also links directly to official websites to make sure you have the real scoop on the latest and most accurate information. Research, Browse, and book online to stay anywhere on Earth

Photos by Adam Longfellow