Yearly more than 42 million Americans head to the outdoors seeking escape, however temporary, from the stress of everyday life.

They go camping.

Fortunately, not all at the same time.

Remember camping was once where we lived, not what we did for fun, as we hunted and gathered moving from place to place exploring new lands, we camped. This is separate from the practice of camping for the pure sport of it, such as it is today.



Camping is now a long-standing American tradition!

Camping became quite popular in the U.S. in the late 19th century, it was initially taken up by people who wanted to share their passion for this specific way of travel and living, and their advocacy boosted the popularity greatly. It was particularly seen as a good pastime for children, allowing them to experience adventure within the benign confines of an organized nature expedition. We now know that this is true for all humans, there is no substitute for time in nature.

Lets go over a quick history of two of the most important pieces of gear you will need on your trip…a tent and a sleeping bag.


The Tent

Eons before becoming Americas favorite pastime, camping was, literally, a way of life. And perhaps the most important piece of iconic equipment is the tent. Tents have been around forever in various forms, this is a modern day history.

1855 - The real ancestor to today's familiar shelter is designed by a U.S. Army officer. He modeled his "bell tent" after Native American teepees, using canvas instead of buffalo hides.

1911 - The first Boy Scout Handbook is published and shows 10 different types of tents.

1945 - WWII is over, and the post-war economic boom sends Americans to camping retailers and war surplus stores where they purchase thousands of tents of all types before heading off the great outdoors.

1959 - Long-time tentmaker Eureka! Introduces the first fast-to-set-up freestanding tent.

1960s - Lightweight metal poles begin to replace wooden frames.

1970s - Eureka! Again steals the show with a backpack-storable tent that sells 1 million units in just 10 years.

1990 - The first "truck-tent" appears, to be pitched in the bed of a pickup truck.

2011 - Despite technological innovations that offer a more glamorous experience, 3.2 million Americans still make tent camping trips—a million more times than RV excursions.


The Sleeping Bag

A must-have!

Sleeping bags have also been around since we slept outside, in different forms and fashions. Wrap up in a hide and you have a sleeping bag.

1800s - Various European designs were combinations of sheepskins lined with wool, a sewn-over blanket with rubber bottom, or bags made of reindeer fur.

1942 - The U.S. Army issues purpose-designed slumber bags. Heavy and bulky, these are eventually replaced with down-filled bags—the precursor to today's modern synthetic-filled sleeping bags.


Thank you for stopping by Tent and Hike, please take your time and have a look around.