Camping is considered as one of the oldest hobbies of Americans. It started in the 1800s when people had makeshift homes in the forests and live with nature. Back then it was their way of living, but today, we do it as a recreational activity.
It is already a given that camping techniques, as well as tools and equipment have changed over the span of centuries. As we become more dependent on technology, more efficient equipment are used in camping.
The pioneers of camping are the Native American Indians who also introduced the art of 'woodcraft' which are skills needed to survive in the wild. These woodcraft skills include building shelter and how to catch fish among other things. It is basically a survival course.
The most drastic change when it comes to modern day techniques is concerned with the equipment being used in camping. The Native Americans started out with homemade camping equipment, and possibly created and designed their own tools to help them survive in the wild. Compared to this, the modern day backpacker has a wide array of equipment to choose from the local sporting goods store. Modern equipment is usually complex and highly specialized.
If we compare the camping equipment used from the old to the new, there are two key differences. One, the material used in making the equipment. Back then materials used are leather, cotton and silk. Now, camping equipment uses synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester. Second, there is a difference in the design. Now, we have complex designs for our camping equipment, which can probably have more than ten features. While back then, the design was more simple and easy to use.
Despite of these changes, one thing remained constant. The main reason why people camp outdoors still have not changed over the years. People have the need to be one with nature, to go back to the basics and try to survive with nature's elements and to experience closer human companionship with family members or friends.
But what has changed about this is the way people do it.
Now, we rely on equipment that can be very useful and ease the trouble of camping. We rely on modern day technology to do this. We have inflatable mattresses, sleeping bags and tents which can endure any season or weather condition. Having a stovetop spares us the trouble in building a fire from scratch to keep us warm and cook dinner.
If we compare this to the old times, people relied so much on their knowledge and personal skills to survive in the wild because there is a lack of available equipment to do it for them. Perhaps the most important contribution that modern backpackers imparted to other campers is the 'Leave No Trace' policy. People now are more aware of the importance of nature and are doing something to counter the damage brought about by previous and present generations.
The 'Leave No Trace' policy states that you should clean up after yourself whenever you're out there camping. Bring garbage bags and never leave trash and leftover food lying around. Basically, when you leave a camp site it should be the same as you first stepped foot on it.