Do you like being outdoors?
Would you like to fall asleep in the grass, looking up at the stars?
How about a walk in the woods, playing hide-and-seek among the trees, with your friends?
If all of this sounds exciting to you, then there’s a special activity that you’d enjoy: camping.
Camping is an outdoor activity where a group of people spends time with nature, far away from the city.
They may set up a camp, explore the wilderness, gather some logs and warm marshmallows by a bonfire. They may hike up a mountain path, go fishing in the creek or watch birds using their binoculars. At night, they might share ghost stories by the campfire and then fall asleep inside a tent, while the radio plays a soft tune.
Did some of those words sound unfamiliar to you?
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
In this post, I’ll discuss some common camping words, their meanings and how to use them in your own sentences.
Perhaps this is your first camping experience and you’re unsure about the right vocabulary to use. Or, you’ve just returned from a trip and now you’re looking for specific words to talk and write about your adventure. Or, you’re supposed to write a story about camping in the woods and you’re in need of ideas.
Whatever the reason, once you finish reading this post, you’ll be ready to share a camping story or two!
How to Practice English While Camping
I like to believe that anything can be turned into a learning experience. Even a camping trip might provide a great opportunity to learn and practice your English skills. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Tell stories around the campfire. Whether you’re with your friends or family, you can spend the evening sitting in a circle, telling each other ghost stories or funny anecdotes (memories). This will help in developing your speaking and listening skills.
- Play memory games. You can also try playing memory games. A simple version of this is when each player takes turns choosing an item. When it’s your turn, you have to repeat all of the items already said before adding your own item. The person who remembers all of the items without making a mistake wins. It’s a cool way to grow your vocabulary.
- Find out the English names for local trees and animals. Spending time with nature is an excellent way to learn the English names for local plants and animals. This way, you’ll be able to develop both your general knowledge and vocabulary.
- Write about your camping trip in a diary. Finally, you can sharpen your writing skills by writing about your camping trip in a diary. If you’re out camping, spend a few minutes before sleeping to note down the various things you saw or did during the day. Later, you can turn those notes into a story or an essay.
It’s Adventure Time! 40+ Camping Words You Need to Know
For easier reading, I’ve divided this list of English words into three sections.
Firstly, I’ll talk about camping equipment (all the things you need to carry with you before you set out on the trip).
Then, I’ll discuss some words that you can use to describe the scenery (nature) or environment (place) around you.
Finally, I’ll mention some of the popular outdoor activities (things you do outside) which are often an important part of the camping experience.
Backpack Essentials: The Camping Equipment You Need
Below are some of the many items you’ll find inside a camper’s (the person who is camping) backpack.
Meaning: A backpack is a large bag or sack with straps made of sturdy (strong) material that can carry several items. A person can wear it on their back and keep walking. It’s also called a knapsack or a rucksack.
Sentence: Marina filled her backpack with pebbles and small stones that she found on her camping trip. As a result, it was pretty heavy to carry.
Meaning: It’s a handheld device (a piece of equipment) that lets you see far-away objects up close.
Sentence: Using his mother’s binoculars, he spotted a rare bird half-hidden in the top branch.
Meaning: Boots are a type of shoe, usually made of strong material, that covers the whole foot and reaches up to or past the ankle.
Sentence: Laura matched her white dress with a pair of knee-high red boots.
Meaning: Also known as insect repellant, it’s a substance that you usually spray from a can onto your skin or in the environment. It’s used to keep mosquitoes and other insects away.
Sentence: If you’re spending the night outdoors, don’t forget the bug spray!
Meaning: It’s a handheld device that lets you take pictures of your surroundings.
Sentence: She has taken so many pictures on her camera, it’ll take a while to look through them.
Meaning: It’s a handheld device that contains a magnetic needle to point to the directions north, south, east and west.
Sentence: With a compass and map in hand, you’ll never get lost in the woods.
Meaning: Sometimes to preserve a food item or to make it last longer, the water is removed from it. This is called “dried food” and includes dried nuts and berries, powdered milk, instant coffee or soup and snack bars.
Sentence: After we lost the trail, we spent two nights in the forest. Thankfully, we had dried food with us to keep away the hunger.
Meaning: A map represents (shows) a geographic area. A map may be printed on paper or looked at in a cellphone that has a GPS (Global Positioning System).
Sentence: If you’re traveling to an unknown place, always carry a map with you.
Meaning: A marshmallow is a soft, spongy candy usually made of sugar, water, gelatin and corn syrup.
Sentence: I gave the child a packet of marshmallows to chew on while we walked.
Meaning: Matches or matchsticks are the small sticks (made of wood and covered with a material that can catch fire easily) inside the matchbox or tinderbox. You scrape them against the box or a rough surface to light a fire.
Sentence: The wood wasn’t totally dry, so she had to use many matches and a bit of kerosene oil to light the fire.
Meaning: It’s a device that turns radio waves into sound. It can play music and news from a radio station.
Sentence: We didn’t have phone service deep in the woods, but Alex’s radio played pop music.
Meaning: Ropes are strands (strings) of long fibers, cords or wires that you can use to tie something.
Sentence: If we’re going to climb this mountain, we’ll need plenty of strong rope.
Meaning: It’s a long bag, padded or lined with a soft substance, that you can spread on the ground and sleep in. You can easily roll it up to pack it.
Sentence: I fell asleep in my sleeping bag while my sister was telling a ghost story.
Meaning: It’s a small, temporary shelter (a place to stay) made of fabric or cloth (like nylon or canvas). It’s held up by poles, and three or four people can sit or sleep in it.
Sentence: It was Ron’s first camping trip, and it took a while for him and his friends to set up the tent.
Meaning: It’s a portable device that, when switched on, emits (shines) a strong light in order to see in the dark. It’s also called a flashlight.
Sentence: Rose woke up in the middle of the night to a strange noise. She took a torch and went outside to see what was happening.
Meaning: It’s a container used for carrying water.
Sentence: Mother gave us extra water bottles for the trip.
Words for Describing the Scenery
Below are some words that’ll help you describe the environment around you when you’re on a camping trip.
Meaning: A short clump (mass) of plants (usually a single plant) is called a bush. Clumps of prickly shrubs (small plants) are called brambles.
Sentence: Zoya tore her dress while trying to clear a path through the bushes.
Meaning: A fire that’s built outdoors, preferably near a camp, is a campfire. Similarly, a large fire built using wood and logs is called a bonfire.
Sentence: We had roast chicken, cooked over a campfire.
Meaning: The place or ground where one is camping is called a campsite.
Sentence: Reya left the map at the campsite and ran back to get it.
Meaning: A canopy usually refers to a covering made of cloth that’s hung over a bed (like a roof). Similarly, the leaves and branches in a forest form a roof that lets some sunlight enter the forest floor, forming a canopy.
Sentence: Although it was afternoon, the canopy was so thick and the forest so deep that we could barely see through the darkness.
Meaning: This word refers to rural areas (places far away from the city) filled with trees and greenery.
Sentence: She took some wildflowers from the countryside and put them in her hair.
Meaning: A forest is a fairly large area that has a thick growth of trees. It’s also called a jungle or the woods.
Sentence: It isn’t safe to spend a night alone in the forest, especially if there are wild animals around.
Meaning: As the word suggests, greenery refers to green plants.
Sentence: Her grandmother’s garden was filled with greenery.
Meaning: Often in the countryside or in the woods, you’ll find certain buildings or lodgings where one can stay for the night. A one-story building, usually made from wood, is called a cabin.
Sentence: The couple found lodging in a cabin in the mountains.
Meaning: Mushrooms refer to the fungus (a group of organisms that produce spores) that grows on decaying wood. While some are edible, most are poisonous and aren’t to be eaten.
Sentence: The children were excited by the different types of wild mushrooms they saw in the forest.
Meaning: This is another word for a piece of geographic land.
Sentence: We were very tired after a two-hour walk over mountainous terrain.
Meaning: Similar to bushes, a thicket is a dense (thick) growth of short trees or shrubs.
Sentence: The kid was chasing a rabbit who disappeared into the thicket.
Meaning: It refers to the lowest part of the forest floor (beneath the thicket and bushes) that’s filled with saplings (young trees), moss, grass, herbs and small plants.
Sentence: Rey found a worm in the undergrowth.
Meaning: Wildlife refers to the animals, birds and fish that are found in their natural habitats (homes). These animals are undomesticated (not pets).
Sentence: The local wildlife in this forest includes bears, foxes and wolves.
Fun Camping Activities
Below are some of the many interesting activities one can take part in as a camper.
Meaning: An adventure is an experience that’s filled with excitement, and sometimes even danger.
Sentence: Spending a night lost in the woods was a very memorable adventure.
Meaning: Also called birding, this is an activity where one spends time outside watching birds, often with the help of binoculars.
Sentence: Birdwatching over the weekend taught us a lot about the feeding and mating life of birds.
Meaning: Exploring often involves traveling to a new place and paying close attention to one’s surroundings.
Sentence: In the morning, Ben went out to explore and found an old tent deep in the bushes.
Meaning: This word refers to the activity of catching fish.
Sentence: Dad reminded us to bring the bait as he went fishing in the creek (a small stream).
Meaning: Geocaching is a fun outdoor game where one looks for containers or “caches” using a set of geographical coordinates (a set of numbers or letters) on their phone or a GPS device.
Sentence: My friend told me that if I liked treasure hunts, I’d enjoy geocaching.
Meaning: A hike is a long, usually up-hill walk. Similarly, a long, tiring journey made on foot in mountainous terrain is called a trek.
Sentence: The energetic tourists hiked up the mountain path.
Meaning: This is a sports activity where one climbs rocky walls, usually with the help of ropes.
Sentence: He joined the university’s Mountaineering Club so he could practice rock climbing.
Meaning: Scouting means searching and exploring an area to find certain information.
Sentence: She went scouting for wild nuts and berries.
Meaning: This is the act of looking up at the night sky and being able to observe the stars and identify different constellations (specific patterns of stars) and planets. You can use a telescope (a device that makes distant objects look closer to you).
Sentence: As a child, I’d often fall asleep outside, stargazing.
By now, you know several camping words and have enough ideas to plan a trip. You may be familiar with some of the words already, so focus on the new ones and write them down. Read through your list once or twice to memorize it.
And, when you’re sharing your camping adventures with your family or friends, be sure to use these new words!
Archita Mittra is a freelance writer, journalist, editor, and educator. Feel free to check out her blog or contact her for freelancing/educational inquiries.