What is Primitive Camping?

If you are an outdoors enthusiast and a nature lover, then primitive camping will certainly interest you.

Primitive camping involves pitching your tent at campgrounds that have the bare minimum of amenities, if any.

A big advantage of it is that you will stay away from big annoying crowds, the hustle and bustle, and all that noise and commotion. With generators, RVs, and rumbling air conditioners, campsites essentially become small towns.

But in primitive camping, it’s just you and nature. Camping purists will also argue that this is how camping really should be done. The purpose of camping should be to connect intimately with nature and break away from modern civilization and lifestyle at least for a few days.

What Is Primitive Camping

But even on our camping trips and outdoor expeditions, we carry so many fancy high-tech gadgets and modern equipment that it almost feels like you never left home. During camping trips, we should ideally disconnect from modern gadgets and get to know nature. But with our penchant for modern technology, sadly, that doesn’t happen for many of us.

What is Primitive Camping?

So if you want a pure and pristine camping adventure where you truly get to experience nature for real and take a break from hectic modern living, then primitive camping is the answer for you.

However, at primitive campgrounds, you should keep your expectations low. There will be no bathrooms, no running water, no faucets, and no infrastructure. Since this is very much a spartan experience, not everyone wants to try it. The upshot of this is that you don’t have to contend with large crowds, the bane of all camping sites.

Since primitive camping is rather austere compared to other trips, you will have to consider the following.

Do Your Research

You should first do your research to find suitable primitive camping spots in your state. Visit the websites of national parks and reserves. Go through all the rules and regulations and make sure that all preparations are complete so that you can comply. In addition to the rules, you will need to list down amenities which will definitely not be many. But if you do find something like firepits, for instance, then that can create some ease for you and require fewer items.

Be Ready With Your Own Water Supply

There will almost certainly be no faucets with running water nearby at primitive camping grounds. You will have to bring your own water along or a filtration system that can work for natural water sources in the area.

Besides drinking, there should be water for brushing, showering, cooking, and so on.

4×4 Vehicle

Go to the primitive camping spot in a 4×4, don’t settle for anything less. Even dry areas can suffer flash floods without warning, and vehicles can get stuck in potholes, mud, and obstructions.

There are no cellphone signals to contact park rangers. So you are on your own if you get stuck.

A capable 4×4 is your best bet for dealing with all of this.

No Bathrooms

Your ancestors survived without bathrooms, and so can you. The thought of not having a bathroom nearby can be disconcerting. But if your ancestors could spend a lifetime without one, then you should be fine for the weekend.

Do remember to bring along toilet paper. Store the toilet paper in a clean bag to keep it safe.

In many primitive camping grounds, you are allowed to bury the waste. Ensure that you have the right type of bag for storing waste and a trowel to dig with.

Dig a hole to dispose of the waste. The hole should be at least 200 yards from water sources, roads, and campsites. The hole should be at least 8 inches deep.

Firestarting Skills

Making a fire was the first major breakthrough for our earliest ancestors. Making a fire is an essential skill for a primitive camping trip.

While certain sites have fire pits, many don’t so be sure to check whether the campsite permits fires in the first place. If permitted, then bring along a pit as well as firewood to make fire.

Keep the fire permit-ready if it is required. In some places prone to forest fires, you will need a permit just for using lanterns and stoves.

You can go wrong with marshmallows, so bring them along too.

For your camping trip, you will also need to bring the following as usual.

Sleeping bag



Camp stove

Primitive Camp Cooking

You may have guessed that you will be cooking simpler meals for primitive camping. That is better since it means bringing along fewer items for a more authentic primitive experience.

You can take with you packaged meals that you can add water to and eat right away.

You can also try cooking something at the campsite using freeze-dried food.

To make your camping trip comfortable, make sure that you bring along extra pairs of warm clothes since it can often get chilly at night, even in desert environments.

You will also want to carry your pillow with you for sleeping well. But if you insist on a truly primitive experience, then instead of sleeping on a pillow, you can wrap up some clothes to keep under your head when you nap. Of course, you will have to sacrifice some comfort if you choose to do this.

Our Final Thoughts

We are addicted to our screens and modern tech. While this is convenient and fascinating, too much of anything is never good. We need to disconnect from tech at times. Primitive camping is your answer for getting close to nature and away from all your tech gadgets. When you come back, not only will you feel rejuvenated, you will also better appreciate the value of tech gadgets that we often take for granted.

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