Spending time outdoors, walking, breathing fresh air, making food on a portable stove, sleeping under the sky—all in order to relax or have fun. Camping is interpreted widely here. Sleeping outdoors definitely counts, even in a garden, but a full-day hike also qualifies, especially if one prepares food and cooks outdoors. Tents aren't required either, boats can also qualify, or going to austere cabins.
In fiction, it can be used to provide an easy change of tempo or environment, and it also gives a strong backdrop for interpersonal dynamics, as the characters have to work together more closely in an often unfamiliar way. The goal of the characters to have fun or relax also makes it easy to set up and knock down expectations.
A Camping Episode is used to keep the story and the characters fresh by changing the circumstances for the characters, and having an excuse for them to grow. Other types of isolated stories within a work like single issues in a comic or a movie sequel that has the characters leave their usual setting to go camping would also be Camping Episodes. Because of the nature of this trope, you'll generally only see a work use a Camping Episode once or twice.
If just about everything goes wrong, it is a Horrible Camping Trip
. See also Road Movie
, Road Trip Episode
, Vacation Episode
. A common way to set up a Macho Disaster Expedition
or Lots of Luggage
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Anime and Manga
- This was the focus of Episode 4 of the Little Lulu anime, where Lulu and Tubby and the rest of their friends are on a camping trip, where they are to take part in an endurance test.
- Calvin and Hobbes usually had Calvin's family go on a camping trip every summer. Calvin never cared for these trips, though his father thought they were a great way to "build character." In the early years of the comic, Calvin would occasionally go on camping trips with a boy scout troop. Bill Watterson discontinued those (and replaced them with the family camping trip storylines) when he realized that Calvin would never willingly join the scouts.
- An episode of Project Runway had the contestants go "glamping" in the woods (in other words, the prissy clothing designer version of camping).
- The B Plot of an episode of The Big Bang Theory had Howard, Leonard, and Raj camping out with the intent of seeing a meteor shower. Howard and Raj also had the intent on scoring women. The women they find were older, ex-hippies that gave them cookies which had a certain illegal substance baked into them unbeknownst to the guys. hilarity (and the munchies causing them to eat all of their food supplies) ensued.
- The Brady Bunch:
- The Bradys camp out in S1E8—A Camping We Will Go where the girls had little camping experience, and the boys essentially made fun of them.
- When camping in the Grand Canyon in Season 3, Bobby and Cindy got lost in the canyon; they were found by a resident Native American boy they befriended.
- Bobby & Cindy camp out in the backyard hoping to see an alien.
- The Season Five finale of Sanford and Son has Fred and Lamont camping up in the mountains, which Lamont hopes will bond him and Fred before he gets married and leaves home.
- An episode of Eureka has the men all go on a camping trip. This being Eureka, there are tents with AIs, gadgets to start fires, and they wind up being chased by a robotic spider. All in all, an average day in Eureka.
- Silver Spoons: Ricky and his father & grandfather all go hunting (which is essentially "camping but with guns") as a bonding experience. Ricky enjoys it until he has to shoot a deer. Even after that, he says that he liked all the rest of it and that is what he'll remember. It is the first time we see the father & grandfather get along and enjoy each other's company.
- In That '70s Show, the gang all decide to go camping before graduation. Their hijinks during the trip causes them to actually miss graduation.
- The ''Garfield Special "Garfield In The Rough" had Garfield, Jon, and Odie go on a camping trip, only to be attacked by a panther that had escaped from a zoo.
- Mr. Bogus:
- The episode "Bogus In Wilderland" had Bogus and Brattus accompany Tommy Anybody and his parents on a camping trip in the wilderness.
- The episode "Kung Fu Campout" had Bogus and Brattus out in the wilderness again, this time, as part of a karate theme.
- The Spongebob Squarepants episode "The Camping Episode" had Spongebob, Patrick, and Squidward camping out in the backyard, and Squidward winds up getting attacked by a sea bear.
- In the Rugrats episode, "The Legend of Satchmo", Grandpa Lou and the children camp out in the Pickles' backyard. Stu, who had a bad camping experience as a kid, worries about them the entire time.
- An episode of X-Men: Evolution had the main characters going on a survival weekend camping trip where they competed against The Brotherhood. The X-Men had the option of staying home and doing survival training with Wolverine, and gleefully jumped at the (inevitably less painful) camping option.
- Arthur and Buster camp out for one night in Arthur's backyard. Buster hopes to see an alien.
- In "D.W.'s Deer Friend", D.W. suggests the family go camping for the weekend, after D.W. has gotten hooked on the Great Outdoors Channel (GO), and wanted to see wild animals up close.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Sleepless In Ponyville, wherein they tell scary camp stories that keep Scootaloo up at night, partly because she's afraid to admit they scared her.
- Hey Arnold!: In the episode Roughin it Arnold's Grandpa takes Arnold and Gerald on a weekend camping trip, to bond and to teach basic survival. At the site they find Helga, Pheobe and Helga's dad, who are also roughin it in a high-tech RV. When everyone goes hiking on a mountain trail they get lost in the woods, and Arnold and Gerald have to use the survival skills Arnold's Grandpa taught them to help everyone else find their way back to camp.
- Beverly Hills Teens has two episodes. The first time, Bianca brings Lots of Luggage, the second time... she gets to the camp site on a helicopter and brings in tents with air conditioning as well.