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 Trip Plot, Vacation Episode, Beach Episode. A common way to set up a Macho Disaster Expedition or Lots of Luggage (the latter of which usually shows up in Fancy Camping).
Has nothing to do with "Camp" (the exaggerated theatrical style) but you can have a campy camping episode.
- 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.
- Episode 22 of Sonic X (Summer Vacation Chao Observation Diary or if you go by the 4Kids version Little Chao Lost) Involves the main cast of the show (Bar Sonic who thought Camp didn't sound exciting to him) going on a camping trip to watch wildlife in which they end up discovering a Chao Garden that also catches Dr Eggman's interest.
- Episode 5 in Charlotte "The Sound Once Heard" when Yuu and the others camp out to find the flying kid.
- 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.
- The whole movie My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree is a camping episode for the Equestria Girls series, as it is almost entirely set in a summer camp, Camp Everfree, and features plenty activities typical of such a place.
- 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. Intoxication and hilarity ensued.
- The Brady Bunch:
- The Bradys' camp out in the season 1 episode "A Camping We Will Go'", where the girls have little camping experience, and the boys essentially spend the whole time mocking them.
- When camping in the Grand Canyon in season 3, Bobby and Cindy get lost in the canyon; they're found by a resident Native American boy they befriended.
- In season 5's "Out of This World", Bobby and Cindy camp out in the backyard hoping to see an alien.
- Season 1 Hannah Montana episode, "Ooh, Ooh, Itchy Woman". Miley, Lilly and Oliver go on a school camping trip. Miley and Lilly have to share a tent with Amber and Ashley, while Oliver has to share a tent with mean boys.
- 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 and 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.
- This is the plot of the Small Wonder first-season episode "Babes in the Woods". The episode's Working Title was "Camping Trip".
- In the aptly-titled Are You Being Served? episode "Camping In", a transport strike forced the staff to stay overnight in the store using tents from the camping department.
- Shining Time Station has the episode, "Schemer Goes Camping". Stacy, Kara, Becky, and Mr. Conductor set up a tent in the station to spend the night. At the same time, Schemer takes Schemee and Dan on a scout camping trip in the woods, with disastrous results.
- In the Family Matters episode "A-Camping We Will Go" Urkel tags along with Carl, Eddie, and Waldo on a camping trip and Carl refuses the whole way to take his advice, sure enough regretting it by the end.
- In a first season episode of Barney & Friends, the group went on a camping trip in the woods, complete with scary stores and snacks by the campfire.
- Murdoch Mysteries:
- "Murdoch of the Klondike" begins this way. Murdoch has left Toronto after releasing murder Ava Moon from jail having given up his urban police career to pan for gold. His appearance and even speech patterns are more those of a scruffy cowboy than an articulate urban man. He camps near his claim and goes to town with the other miners, where he learns of the arrest of a hotel owner for murder.
- The investigation in "All That Glitters" leads to one of these, with Murdoch easily returning to his lumberjack and miner garb (to Crabtree's astonishment), while Crabtree is the urban Fish out of Water, bringing his own pillow from home and overreacting to the sounds of wildlife in the night.
- That's So Raven has one in season 2 called "Skunk'd".
- LazyTown: in the episode "Cry Dinosaur" Stephanie and her friends have a camp-out where they talk about their fears. Ziggy remarks that he is scared of dinosaurs but has to overcome his fear after he sees one appear in town.
- Father Ted has "Hell", where the camping holiday slowly turns truly crappy.
- 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 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.
- It was initially going to be named "Squid Gets Mauled" but was changed due to the title's violent nature.
- 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 Goes to Camp": When Arthur goes to a summer camp, it is boys against girls, until they must band together when it becomes camp against camp.
- 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.
- In "Cast Away" D.W. is forced to tag along on Arthur and his dad's camping & fishing trip.
- In "Fernfern & the Secret of Moose Mountain" Fern and Francine disobey the orders of their scout master on a camping trip and try to find a legendary mountain in the woods all by themselves.
- In a later episode, Buster does not want to attend summer camp when none of his friends are going.
- 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 roughing 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 such 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.
- The Little Rascals has "Grin and Bear It", in which the Rascals go camping, without adult supervision, and Porky is abducted by the fearsome Phantom Lumberjack.
- The Dr. Dimensionpants episode "Dr. Dimensionpants Camp" has Kyle and his dad going on a father-son camping trip, where they run into Kyle's enemy Glass Skull (who is also on a camping trip, with his daughter).
- Atomic Puppet has "Survival of the Feltest", in which Joey and his dad go out on a father-son weekend outdoor experience, leaving AP at the cabin to do his own thing. Despite no villains appearing, Joey and AP still have to turn into Atomic Puppet when a pack of wolves attempts to eat Mr. Felt.
- The Mickey Mouse (2013) short "Roughin' It" has Mickey trying to rough it out in nature, while Donald and Goofy prefer satisfy their creature comforts in Donald's large RV.
- The Fairly Oddparents have had a few camping episodes revolving around Timmy and his Squirelly Scouts Troop. In "Squirrely Puffs" Timmy's Dad takes him and his friends camping while Mom takes the girls and the whole episode is an attempt by the groups to outdo each other. In "Dinklescouts" Timmy wishes that Mr. Dinkleberg was the group's scout master instead of his dad. In "Dimmsdale Tales" Timmy and the group must tell scary stories to pass the time as Dad has to find camping supplies. In "Girly Squirrelly" Chloe takes over the duty of improving the Squirelly Scouts by becoming the first girl member.
- In a Jimmy Neutron episode Hugh decides to take Jimmy and the boys camping on a trip that it totally devoid of technology, that is until Jimmy sets up a high-tech camp with all the comforts of home. After destroying the camp the group is forced to use natural instincts to find their way home.
- In the animated TV version of Clifford the Big Red Dog Emily Elizabeth's dad takes her and her friends camping and Jetta brings along all the comforts of home, like a tent that looks like her house, and a lot of electronics. Emily and her friends need to encourage Jetta that there is plenty of fun to have on a camping trip and she does not need homely possessions.
- Kaeloo: "Let's Play Treasure Hunt", where the main four go on a camping trip and play a game of treasure hunt. The trip is disastrous; Stumpy unpacked all their supplies before they left so he would have room for all his comic books, and Mr. Cat ruins the treasure hunt.
- In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Earth Camping", Mr. Peterson and Mitchell go camping with Carrot and Jet. Hilarity Ensues.
- Les Sisters: "Les Sisters L'Ermite", where Wendy and Marine, fearing punishment from their parents for breaking a vase which the parents actually hated and were glad to be rid of, decide to camp out in the forest until their parents calm down.
- Transformers Animated Season 1 episode, "Nature Calls", where the nature-loving Prowl is annoyed with humanity's lack of regard for nature and how nature is beautiful, with Bumblebee and Sari being obsessed with using their tech gadgets instead. Something strange happens in the woods, causing Prowl and Bumblebee to investigate, with Sari going along with them to teach them about camping. Naturally, since Sari has no idea how to camp and Bumblebee has been spoiled by technology while Prowl enjoys the wilderness (not to mention that it's winter time), they're miserable. Things take a turn for the worse when it turns out the problem-of-the-week is mutated space barnacles.