The term “primitive camping” conjures up images of a true wilderness adventure. It implies a movement back to prehistoric ways. Picking wild berries, hunting for meals and being completely at the mercy of the elements. The modern version of “primitive camping” is a little different. Nowadays, it typically means camping in less populated areas that are not fitted with all the amenities. Sometimes you can drive your vehicle up to the campsite. Oftentimes you might need to take a short hike, or in true Texas fashion, ride in on horseback.
In Primitive campsites, you have fewer neighbours and often go without running water, bathroom facilities or electricity. Although how basic the setup will depend a lot on the specific location. Sometimes you might even have to go without cell service, how’s that for primitive?
Of course, a more extreme version of primitive camping still exists. Seasoned campers might go backpacking through the backcountry. This form of camping requires lots of experience and knowledge. Campers who brave the wild in this way might be the first people to pitch their tent in the place they stop. Of the two, for camping in Texas, it is ‘organized primitive camping’ that is most common.
Why Choose Primitive Camping in Texas?
As you consider the type of camping adventure to embark on in Texas, the topic of primitive camping might come up. If you are unconvinced of the merits of primitive camping, here are a few reasons you might enjoy it.
Primitive camping is a true camping experience in itself. You feel more like the cowboys of old Texas. You become more self-sufficient instead of relying on modern luxuries.
Some campsites in Texas can get very busy. Primitive camping usually takes you away from the crowds, bringing extra peace and quiet to your adventure.
Although some primitive campsites might not be too family friendly. They may be a little more extreme and require long hikes to get there. Some primitive campsites can make for a great family experience. There is a lot to be said for a conveniently located campground with no hookups. They help to remove the distractions of the outside world and bring families closer together.
Last but not least, primitive campsites are generally a more low-cost option.
Choosing A Campsite When Primitive Camping Texas
As we have touched on in past posts in this camping in Texas series, there are a huge number of campsites in Texas. The majority come with full hookups (water, electricity, sewage). There are also an array of campsites that provide standard (water, electricity) or even basic hookups (water only). All of these options would be the more traditional route to go as they provide a certain amount of amenities.
Even within the ‘organized primitive camping space’, there is a lot of choice. We want to help you find the camping adventure that is right for you. Below are three different options for primitive camping in Texas along with some of our favourite sites.
Drive-up Campsites With No Hookups
As the name suggests, these campsites have no utilities but may provide other amenities such as picnic tables. As you can drive your vehicle to the site, they are a bit more family friendly. ‘Big Bend Ranch’, ‘Hill Country Natural Area’ and ‘Devils River Natural Area’ provide some of our favourite campsites of this nature.
Walk-in Tent Campsites
With walk-in campsites, you need to carry your gear a short distance to the hikes. Make sure you have some idea of how short or long that hike maybe so you are not caught off guard. Within ‘Dinosaur Valley State Park’, ‘Palo Duro Canyon State Park’ and ‘Guadalupe River State Park’ are some of our favourite walk-in campsites.
To complete our list we wanted to provide something a little different. Again, within ‘Devils River Natural Area’ there are campsites that can only be accessed by canoeing or kayaking down river. This obviously might be ruled out as an option depending on the situation but we think it makes for a great camping adventure.
Best Tents for Primitive Camping
It depend on how many of you are going to sleep together in the one tent and whether you are hiking in, boat in, or driving in.
Insulated tents are great for weather that is hot or cold and for keeping noise damping if you are sleeping in camp sites. If you are driving in and need a bigger tent for your family have a look at our family tents.
A hybrid hammock tent is also great, as long as there are posts or trees to erect the hammock.
Enjoyed learning a bit more about camping in Texas? Check out our field notes for other posts in this series.