What’s camping without surround-sound?

A major theme in Renting Dirt is the extent to which camping has been neutered, gradually stripped of its basic primal attractions. Instead of being an opportunity to reconnect with nature, “camping” increasingly is all about the “stuff” that makes the experience easier, cushier and less uncomfortable–indeed, more like the home you supposedly left behind.

What brings this most forcefully to mind right now is the subject line of an email I got yesterday from Camper Smarts, a daily RV newsletter of RVLife, which claims 1.4 million members. The subject line of the Sept. 7 post: “Are The Outdoors Too ‘Outdoorsy’?”

Wow. That’s like asking if water is too wet.

The appropriate answer to RVLife’s question is, “If so, just stay home.” But that wouldn’t sell product, which is really what this and most other RV sites are all about–as underscored by the post’s sub-title: “Here’s How to Create The Ultimate RV Entertainment Center!” Because, really, what can be more like camping than a big-screen TV with surround-sound speaker connectivity and video receiver peripherals?

Author: Andy Zipser

A former newspaper reporter who worked at a variety of newspapers, from small community weeklies to The Wall Street Journal, I finished my "normal" work life as the editor of The Guild Reporter, official publication of the union representing newspaper workers. On retiring, I and my wife bought a campground in the Shenandoah Valley and--with the help of our two daughters and their husbands--operated it for eight years, first as a KOA franchisee and then as an independent family-owned RV park. We sold the campground in May, 2021, and live in Staunton, Virginia, a short walk from our grandsons' home.

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