Glossary of Terms

Camping Terminology

  • 3-Season Tent

    A tent intended to be used primarily in the spring, summer, and fall.

  • 4-Season Tent

    A tent built to withstand the rigors of winter.

  • A

  • A-Frame Tent

    A style of tent that has a pole supporting the middle of the tent while the tent walls drape over the pole in an A shape.

  • ACE

    The Army Corps of Engineers operates over 2,500 recreation areas in the U.S.

  • Adventure Camp

    A summer camp where kids learn about the outdoors and partake in adventures like backpacking, camping, canoeing, hiking, kayaking, sailing, and skiing.

  • B

  • Backcountry

    Remote uninhabited areas of public lands, national parks, and forests.

  • Backpacking

    Hiking into the backcountry with all of your gear on your back.

  • Bathtub Floor

    A one-piece (seamless) tent floor where the edges come a few inches up the sides before connecting with the tent walls.

  • Billy Can

    A coffee can (any clean food can with the lid removed) used to boil water or cook food over a campfire.

  • Biodegradable Soap

    A soap that decomposes naturally and is not harmful to the environment.

  • C

  • Camping Lantern

    A portable light with one or two mantels that are fueled by propane or some other fuel.

  • CCC

    The Civilian Conservation Corps hired young men from 1933 to 1942 to revitalize America's forests.

  • Charcoal Chimney

    A tool used outdoors to start charcoal for the grill.

  • Checkin/Checkout Procedures

    What to expect when you arrive at the campground, and what to do before you leave.

  • Clips

    A way to attach a tent to the poles.

  • D

  • Day Camp

    A place for kids to enjoy outdoor events and recreation with other kids under parental supervision.

  • Dehydration

    Excessive loss of water from the body.

  • Ditty Bag

    A drawstring bag used to carry items.

  • Dome Tent

    A round or oval tent with flexible poles that connect from side to side through the apex of the tent.

  • Double-Wall Tent

    A double wall tent uses a rainfly over the tent, whereas a single wall tent does not.

  • Dutch Oven

    A cast-iron cooking pot (with lid) that you cook with outdoors over charcoals.

  • F

  • Factory Taped Seams

    Many quality tents come from the factory with taped seams that have a waterproof material placed between overlapped seams, which are then double stitched.

  • Fire Rings

    An iron ring with a grate used to contain campfires.

  • Foil Dinner

    A meal that is wrapped in foil and cooked or reheated on a grill or next to a campfire.

  • Footprint

    A custom sized ground cloth for your tent.

  • Free Standing Tent

    A tent that requires no ropes or stakes to support the tent.

  • Frostbite

    Skin that is damaged by exposure to freezing temperatures.

  • G

  • Gear Loft

    A gear loft is a piece of mesh cloth or net that ties to loops suspended from the top of a tent and serves as a small storage area for lightweight items.

  • Gore-Tex

    A water-repellant, breathable material that allows body vapor to pass through while keeping rain out.

  • GPS

    An electronic device known as a global positioning unit that uses satellite triangulation to detemine your longitude and latitude.

  • Gray Water

    Water that has been used in the sink, shower, or laundry.

  • Grill Brush

    A wire brush used to scrape and clean grills.

  • Grommet

    A reinforced metal eyelet used to secure the ends of tent poles.

  • Guy-Out Loops

    These are used to attach guy-lines for securing your tent.

  • H

  • Heat Stroke

    A severe form of heat illness caused by excessive heat and dehydration.

  • Hypothermia

    A condition where your body loses more heat than it produces.

  • I

  • Iron Ranger

    A fee collection box used at campgrounds that do not have full time attendants.

  • L

  • Leave No Trace

    It simply means that you should clean up your campsite before you leave.

  • M

  • Mummy Bag

    A sleeping bag that is tapered at the ends to reduce air space and to conserve heat.

  • N

  • Noseeum Netting

    Normal mosquito netting has 200 holes per inch, whereas noseeum netting has 625 holes per inch.

  • Noseeums

    Little bugs typically found near the ocean and around rivers, lakes, and swamps.

  • NPS

    The National Park Service preserves the natural resources of the US for the enjoyment and education of current and future generations.

  • P

  • Poison Oak/Ivy

    Obnoxious plants that can cause a nasty skin rash.

  • Polyurethane Coating

    Durable material coating used to waterproof a tent floor and rainfly.

  • Poncho

    A hooded water-repelling garment used for a raincoat.

  • Post and Grommet

    A hooded water-repelling garment used for a raincoat.

  • Primitive Campground

    A campground without any amenities like bathrooms, electric, and water.

  • Private Campground

    A campground that is a privately owned business.

  • Propane Canister

    A portable container that holds about one pound of pressurized propane, which is used to fuel campstoves and lanterns.

  • Put up Shade

    Erect a screen room or tarp so that you can get out of the hot sun.

  • R

  • Ripstop Nylon

    A fray-proof material used in tent walls.

  • S

  • Screen Room

    An outdoor structure made of tent material and noseeum screening that provides shade relief from the sun and refuge from bugs.

  • Shock-Corded Poles

    Tent poles that come in sections and are held together by an elastic cord that runs the length of the pole.

  • Single-Wall Tent

    A tent without a fly and walls made of non-breathable materials.

  • Sleeping Bag

    A roll-up bed used for camping that is made of various insulating materials.

  • Sleeping Pad

    An insulating cushion used beneath a sleeping bag.

  • Stake Puller

    A tool used to remove tent stakes from the ground.

  • Stuff Sack

    A cloth or nylon bag used to carry a tent or other piece of camping gear.

  • Summer Camp

    A place where kids go to enjoy supervised recreation.

  • T

  • Tent

    A tent that is large enough to accommodate your entire family.

  • Tent Poles

    Aluminum or fiberglass poles that are used to erect tents.

  • Tub Floor

    A tent floor made from one piece of material, which continues up the walls about six inches before being sewn to the walls.

  • V

  • Ventilation

    A means of removing body moisture to prevent condensation buildup inside your tent.

  • Vestibule

    A covered area outside a tent door. Vestibules are usually found on backpacking tents and are used to store wet clothes or extra gear.

  • W

  • Water Resistant:

    The ability to resist, but not completely repel, water.