Camping Terms Glossary

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Learn about a wide variety of camping terms -- from backpacking to kindling -- in our camping glossary.

Whether you're new to camping or simply come across the occasional camping phrase you've never heard, here are some of the basic terms every camper should know.

beautiful campsite

A-frame - An older-style tent featuring a mid-support that runs the length of the structure.

Backcountry - The isolated and uninhabited sections of national park, public land or forest

Backpacking - Traveling with all of your belongings, including tents and sleeping bags, carried in a backpack

Bearing - The reading of your compass in the direction you're heading

Bivouac - A tent designed to accommodate only one person.

Chickee - An elevated, sheltered wooden platform built along interior rivers and bays where no dry land exists.

Citronella candles - Popular and natural insect repellent that keeps away mosquitos

Dehydration - Excessive loss of body fluid that could result in headaches, fainting and more severe symptoms

Dome tent - A wind-resistant tent, shaped like a geodesic dome and supported by a system of crisscrossing support poles.

making smores over a camp fire

Draft tube - The tube running the length of the zipper in a sleeping bag that blocks the transfer of cold air through the zipper into the sleeping bag.

Free-standing tent - A type of tent that doesn't require ropes or stakes to keep the tent standing

Frostbite - A medical condition caused by extreme cold that could eventually result in amputation

Gray water - Wastewater that's created from bathing, cooking, laundry and other activities

Heat stroke - When your body temperatures rises significantly from being exposed to the sun

Kindling - Pieces of wood and twigs used to start fires

Lyme Disease - An infectious disease usually spread through ticks

Low-impact camping - An ethic that treats nature with respect by leaving as little trace as possible

Poison Oak/Ivy - A poisonous shrub or plant that causes itchiness and rash when touched

Primitive campground - A place to camp without amenities, including bathrooms, showers and electricity

Private campground - An area to camp that's owned by a business

S'more - Common camping treat made by sandwiching a marshmallow and chocolate bar between two graham crackers

Space blanket - A waterproof emergency blanket that is made with Mylar. Space blankets are waterproof and conserve warmth by reflecting body heat back to the person it covers.

Water-resistant - Hinders the ability of water of enter