For most of my life, I've been a backpacker or a car camper. I don't do it much anymore because a spinal surgery (and advancing years) has left me with a problem sleeping outdoors on the hard ground with only a stuff sack for neck support.
But I identify with backpacking still. Which made my experience with river rafters enlightening.
I've decided that river rafters are like pre-Lutheran Catholics and backpackers are Calvinists.
River rafters tend to travel heavy with a great deal of creature comfort. If you are willing to pay the indulgence in sweat and calloused hands, you can experience the sinful delights of constant beers on the water and gin and tonics in the campsite. Your good works among the group is your salvation come camp time. Also, most of the important rituals are conducted in a language that the laity cannot understand. River rafting is ritual heavy and opaque to the masses.
Backpackers tend to be austere and plain. Faith in your abilities and your faith in your abilities alone is what will preserve you. You labor and sweat through the day with a reward of Ramen noodles and maybe some powdered Kool Aid as your only reward. There are no cots, no air beds. That is a sinful luxury. Needless to say there is no beer. You are but a lonely pilgrim with your sustenance on your back and your back alone. If it rains, you will be soaked; if it is hot, you will be panting and coated in sweat. This has all been predestined.
I feel like there was more, but it's been a few days...