RV vs. Tent Camping

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When going camping in Colorado, should you bring a tent or an RV? Either can make for a great Rockies camping vacation, but there are pros and cons to tents vs. RVs.

Pros and Cons of Tent Camping

Camping in a tent is inexpensive and easy to do, so long as you're willing to carry your tent. Since there's a low barrier to entry (all you need is a sleeping bag, pillow, and tent) it's the simplest way to get started.

If you're interested in exploring some of the Colorado backcountry, tent camping is a must. You simply aren't able to drive your RV up to every gorgeous vista. Note, this may mean hiking into the more scenic camping areas. This isn't always accessible for individuals with mobility issues who want to camp.

When tent camping, you don't have the distractions of technology and electricity - which can be a pro or con, depending on your perspective.

Tents are bare-bones in terms of comfort -- no bathrooms or independent water supply -- and they require set up and break down. For these reasons, many long-term campers often upgrade to an RV, so they can enjoy a more comfortable experience.

Pros and Cons of RV Camping

With an RV, you can bring along as much stuff as you can fit inside it. You will sleep more comfortably and have access to a kitchen, not just a campfire. You'll also have your own bathroom, so no more treks to a shared washroom in the middle of the night.

An RV mimics the experience of life at home but allows you to go anywhere. RV's are particularly popular among retired people, who enjoy driving between parks and exploring the outdoors -- and whose days of sleeping on hard ground are over.

If you camp with pets, you might prefer the comfort of a camper. Without an RV, your pets will need to be tied up at the campsite or with you at all times, which can be difficult if, say, you want to go boating and your cat hates the water. With an RV, your pets can hang out inside, in comfort, while you explore all the amenities of the park.

The main disadvantage of an RV is the cost. Not only do you need to buy or rent the RV, you'll have to pay more at campgrounds than tent campers. RVs come with hidden costs, too, such as having to pay for storage when you're not camping or having to pay dump fees to get rid of waste. If you only plan to go camping a couple of times a year, it may not be worth it to invest in an RV.

Lastly, some campers feel detached from the wilderness when they're in an RV.

Whether you decide to explore the Colorado outdoors in a tent or RV, don't forget about safety supplies, like a rescue laser that allows you to signal for help in case of emergency.

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