If you stepped back 50 years, and visited a family that was preparing for a camping trip, you would discover that things have really changed since then. You would see Mom folding tons of scratchy wool blanket sleeping bags, and the little boys carrying them to the large Ford Galaxy in eager anticipation of what was to come. You would see Dad and the older boys wrestling with the substantial canvas tent cramming it into the over-sized trunk.
You would also see the older girls trying to fit everything into the enormous leather backpacks knowing they will leak like a sieve if it rains. Finally, the everyone piles lots of fat food into a big blue ice chest and crams the remaining space with ice. They know that despite the fact that they love to hike they cannot get too far from the ice chest that contains all their food. Good things cars were big back then because they sure had to take a lot of bulky gear.
Fast forward, 50 years and meet the family that is going on a camping trip today. They throw everything in a rugged nylon backpack that easily holds all their supplies for the hike. They even have extra room for the delicious dehydrated food that they will enjoy on their multi-day hiking trip.
Attached to the bottom of the backpack is a very lightweight tent that will protect them regardless of the weather. On the outside of the backpack is a convenient hydration system providing more than enough water for the hike. Everyone ties their super lightweight sleeping bag to the bottom of the pack and sets off on the family’s hike across the country. They can go for multiple days being totally self-sufficient with absolutely no boundaries.
On the way out the door, Mom glances at a picture of her first camping experience 50 years ago, and laughs as she sees all the gear that they had to tote along.
As they hike along, they meet people that are recalling how good the “good old days” were, but they have to disagree. Thanks to the progression in camping, they are able to enjoy their backpacking trip.
The best news of all, instead of having to rely on Dad to read the compass, a skill he never quite accomplished, they could rely on the spoken words of the family’s GPS unit. When they chose, they could also stay in touch using their cellphone with people who did not choose to go backpacking with them. The progression of camping simply amazes everyone.