Not to belabor the obvious, but I will anyway: before you go camping, you should decide how long you would be gone for. This will affect every aspect of planning your camping trip, from how much food you should take, to how much fuel for your stove, and other gear as well. The difference between what you’d pack for long-term camping and what you’d pack for short-term camping is substantial.
Short term camping typically involves an overnight trip or maybe a long weekend. You would, for example, arrive Friday after work and stay overnight through Saturday, and be home in time for dinner. A short campout is the best way to test the waters if you are new to the hobby, or have only been camping a few times. You can see if you like it, and work out any kinks in your planning and your routines.
The next level, so to speak, is long-term camping. This typically lasts several days–five, six, even seven days, or longer. It is great to have an extended period of time if you’re in particularly beautiful location, such as a national park, or if you are somewhere you can enjoy a favorite hobby, like hunting or fishing. Beach campouts are ideal for long-term campouts.
For the more dedicated, hardcore campers, survival camping is the way to go. Be careful to plan so you won’t put yourself in danger by wandering further from civilization than you are ready for. Survival campouts involve setting off into the wilderness with very little aside from hiking boots. At the other end of the spectrum, recreational vehicles allow you to basically travel inside a mobile hotel room. These recreational vehicles (RVs) come with just about every possible amenity: their own electricity, heat, and patio furniture, and in some cases, satellite TV.
If you are inexperienced, but want to camp long-term, consider going to a permanent campsite. Many people vacation in permanent camps, with facilities such as toilets, water and electricity hookups, and even swimming pools. Others live off the land, more or less and camp in the wilderness. People who take this approach have a moral responsibility to leave their campsite better than they found it and generally have a significant obligation to engage in environmentally sound behavior.
Campers can be all ages, abilities, and degrees of ruggedness. There are campsites designed to accommodate all levels of camper. Some have all the amenities and comforts available, including fire rings and/or barbecue grills, utilities, shared bathrooms, laundry, access to recreational facilities and even swimming pools, but not all campsites offer similar levels of luxury. The campsite itself can range from a patch of dirt to a level, paved parking spot with full sewer and electrical facilities. No matter whether you are in an RV or a tent, there are a variety of facilities available to you. The bottom line is that if you are truly interested in camping, you must find the level of the pastime that suits you best.