Written by Steven Musumeche
Learn about a wide variety of camping terms — from backpacking to kindling — in our camping glossary.

Whether you’re new to camping or simply come across the occasional camping phrase you’ve never heard, here are some of the basic terms every camper should know.

A-frame – An older-style tent featuring a mid-support that runs the length of the structure.

Backcountry – The isolated and uninhabited sections of national park, public land or forest

Backpacking – Traveling with all of your belongings, including tents and sleeping bags, carried in a backpack

Bearing – The reading of your compass in the direction you’re heading

Bivouac – A tent designed to accommodate only one person.

Chickee – An elevated, sheltered wooden platform built along interior rivers and bays where no dry land exists.

Citronella candles – Popular and natural insect repellent that keeps away mosquitos

Dehydration – Excessive loss of body fluid that could result in headaches, fainting and more severe symptoms

Dome tent – A wind-resistant tent, shaped like a geodesic dome and supported by a system of crisscrossing support poles.

Draft tube – The tube running the length of the zipper in a sleeping bag that blocks the transfer of cold air through the zipper into the sleeping bag.

Free-standing tent – A type of tent that doesn’t require ropes or stakes to keep the tent standing

Frostbite – A medical condition caused by extreme cold that could eventually result in amputation

Gray water – Wastewater that’s created from bathing, cooking, laundry and other activities

Heat stroke – When your body temperatures rises significantly from being exposed to the sun

Kindling – Pieces of wood and twigs used to start fires

Lyme Disease – An infectious disease usually spread through ticks

Low-impact camping – An ethic that treats nature with respect by leaving as little trace as possible

Poison Oak/Ivy – A poisonous shrub or plant that causes itchiness and rash when touched

Primitive campground – A place to camp without amenities, including bathrooms, showers and electricity

Private campground – An area to camp that’s owned by a business

S’more – Common camping treat made by sandwiching a marshmallow and chocolate bar between two graham crackers

Space blanket – A waterproof emergency blanket that is made with Mylar. Space blankets are waterproof and conserve warmth by reflecting body heat back to the person it covers.

Water-resistant – Hinders the ability of water of enter