Ever pull up next to someone at a campground and notice they brought way more stuff than you did? Or get to a campsite after hiking nine or ten miles and look over to see your friend pulling all kinds of superfluous crap out of his/her backpack?

I mean, camping is roughing it, right? It’s supposed to be uncomfortable. It’s perfectly natural to feel a little self-righteous when you notice someone has brought what you estimate to be too many creature comforts along: Come on, man, is that an Aeropress in your pack? Who brought the ice cream maker car camping? Whoa whoa whoa, is that a pillow?

Like the food chain, everyone who “goes camping” has a place on the spectrum of roughing it. Above you are the people who take fewer comfort items with them, and below you are all those weenies who apparently can’t make it a single night without their down booties/extra-thick camping pad/butane-powered curling iron/stuffed animal collection.


This is the Hierarchy of Camping. If you sleep outdoors, you are on it. And you look up to someone, unless you are a bear, because you are at the top. Or John Muir or Kennewick Man, because you have been dead for 100 or thousands of years, respectively. Your attitude toward those beneath you on the hierarchy is up to you, of course.

Brendan Leonard is Semi-Rad.

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Brendan Leonard is a contributing editor to Adventure Journal. Follow him at his blog, Semi-Rad.