Hike your own hike is the prime directive of hiking and backpacking. Camp your own camp should be the prime directive of camping.
I’ve never heard the sentiment, but I wonder if some thru-hikers look down on section hikers. Thru-hikers certainly have more standing than section hikers or day hikers. It may be a coincidence that most of Grand Prize winners in the myATstory Contest 2017 were thru-hikers. During a speech in March of 2017, Bill Bryson addressed the perceived deference to thru-hikers by declaring it’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy the Appalachian Trail without going on a thru-hike. The public continues to admire thru-hikers. Think about it, thru-hikers live outside 4 to 6 months during a year. No one does that anymore.
I’ve done a lot of car camping, some RV camping, and spent nights in the backyard. I have little interest in any of these modes anymore. I just cannot get excited about pitching my tent next to a stranger’s car.
If I can’t climb a mountain, or hike along a river carrying my backpack, I have little interest in camping. I hope I haven’t become a backpacking snob. Backpacking to a remote site in the backcountry just seems to offer so much more. I just want to tell car and RV campers, there is so much more to camping!
Not all have the mobility and strength to backpack. Campers do what they can. Cub Scouts tend to go car camping because the boys are not ready for strenuous backpacking. Older folks, with plenty of time and resources, may choose the comfort of RV camping. I’m glad there are ways to enjoy the outdoors without the struggle of hauling all camping equipment on one’s back. The many modes of camping, whether perceived as real camping or not, offer people of various means and abilities ways to enjoy the outdoors.
The next time I am hauling my backpack past an air-conditioned RV with a glowing t.v., I promise to celebrate the fact that the campers are doing what they can to enjoy the great outdoors.