I’ve repeatedly noticed something during my time on various adventures and excursions pretending to be a rugged outdoorsman, and I think it’s time I finally commit this observation to (digital) paper: campers are, and I state this categorically without reservation, the friendliest people on the planet.

You are immediately welcomed into their community simply by being in or otherwise geographically adjacent to a campsite. Whether you’re staying in a motorhome, a tent, or the trunk of a rusted-out Camry, merely being there and being a part of the experience grants you full privilege to the community.

As people walk along by your campsite, they all invariably smile at you, wave, and maybe even give you a “how ya’ doin’?” On early morning walks you almost always get some comments about the weather by the people you pass. “Geez, it’s a bit chilly this morning, huh?” “Well I was camping over in Colorado three weeks ago, you just think it is chilly this morning! I froze my balls off!”

If you have a question, you can literally walk over to anyone’s campsite and just ask it. They’ll answer you, offer you something to eat, and part ways with you by extending a greeting like “happy camping!” Yes, it’s a dorky thing to say, but God help me I love it when people tell me “happy camping.”

My most recent campsite

And it’s not just friendliness, it’s also pure, unquestioned trust and belief in your fellow person. I have about a thousand bucks worth of stuff in my tent on any given camping trip. Power converters, air mattresses and pumps, cooking accessories, laptops, you name it. Do I lock it? No, of course not — it’s made out of cloth! Any bozo wanting to rob me blind need only use a knife or scissors. What good would a lock do?

But even if the tent were an inpetetrable fortress of solitude, a lock would still be entirely unnecessary. People leave other peoples’ stuff alone. They don’t mess with things that aren’t theirs. It just ain’t right — so they don’t do it. No other reason or explanation is needed.

Plus, people who camp are willing to share. Need some matches? Here, take mine. Need some more charcoal? Hell, I can’t use all of this! More firewood? Here are a few pieces I can’t burn, go nuts.

One of the things I like so much about the open source community is how well the people who actually work on it get along, and how easily newcomers are accepted. But campers? It’s a whole ‘nother thing. I’m not sure a happier, more laid-back, welcoming group of people exists on the planet. If they do, I sure would like to meet them.