Why do people like camping? Well, during this particular moment, it may seem obvious. Camping is a socially distant activity where you don’t have to be in crowded areas and you can avoid frequently-touched surfaces. Sounds pretty good for 2020, right?
There’s much more to it than that though. Camping gets you outside and breaks up your routine. You’re thrown into the great outdoors and (hopefully) surrounded by beautiful views. A lot of the over-stimulating factors of modern life have been removed and it’s up to you to find ways to have fun.
This article is going to start off by briefly putting you into the shoes of a camper. Then we’ll go through our list of 5 reasons why people like to go camping.
A Day in the Life of a Camper
Your eyelids peel back to reveal a foreign world. The white ceiling that rests above your bed at home is absent, replaced by a sphere of brightly-colored fabric. The morning sun ignites the outside of your tent and the neon colors glow.
With a deep breath in, your nostrils perk up and crisp morning air fills your lungs. It feels unbelievably refreshing. With a quick unzip, your tent door opens to a dew-filled world and you step outside to greet the day.
Water evaporates off of the ground, filling the air with morning fog. You quietly scuttle around camp trying not to break the peaceful energy, grabbing a book and firing up the stove for a warm cup of coffee. After taking a seat, you soak in the morning tranquility.
Eventually the sun rises higher in the sky, the air warms up a bit, and a hot breakfast sits in front of you. Instead of hanging out next to the firepit, you move your chair to a beautiful lookout point and enjoy your meal in front of the mountains.
All of the sounds heard throughout the darkness of night now come flooding back in your memory; while you might not be able to spot any wildlife immediately, you know you are not alone.
Maybe you have a lazy day. Go for a short hike, take an afternoon dip in the river to cool off, and spend the afternoon cuddled up with a book in your hammock.
Or maybe you have an adventure-packed day. Summit a 14,000 foot (about 4,300 m) mountain, cut up loads of firewood, then hop on your paddle board for a loop around the lake.
As the sun begins to lower in the sky, dinner becomes priority.
Spark up a fire, warm the coals, and heat up your campfire meal. The sky is layered with orange, red, and purple as the sun sets. The smell of charred wood and burnt marshmallows fills the air deep into the night, until the fire smolders out and you climb into bed, ready to repeat the cycle the next day.
5 Reasons Why People Like Camping
Trade Modern Luxuries for Simple Living
What you get out of camping depends on how you approach it. You can be an adrenaline junkie looking for the next fix, or a couch potato who just needs a change in scenery. You can go backpacking with nothing but a 20-pound pack or you can drive up in a 35 foot RV.
Almost everyone, however, gives up some of the comforts of home and simplifies things while camping.
On its surface, camping can be interpreted as a fairly silly pastime. People ditch their houses, indoor plumbing, refrigerators, and solid roofs in exchange for a tent, sleeping bag, and portable stove.
If you discuss camping with someone from a developing country that struggles with life’s essentials, they’ll think you are insane. After all, why would you CHOOSE to live without modern luxuries if you can have them?
But there’s something irreplaceable that comes with camping.
By giving up your nice bed at home, you get a chance to sleep under the stars. And since you’re likely away from large cities, light pollution will be lower and the stars will be more vibrant.
By forgoing your 4-burner induction stove top, you discover a fire-cooked meal that somehow tastes better than anything you’ve had recently. There’s something special about cooking over an open flame, especially if you’ve put some work into creating the fire.
By going away from your giant fridge/freezer combination, you stick to the planned meals you packed in your cooler.
At the end of the day, camping for a lot of people is simply about being away from the usual. Enjoy nature and live simply. By removing a lot of the modern conveniences, your life becomes simplified.
Nature’s Cure: Forest Bathing
The Japanese have a long history of living in harmony with nature, and they have a practice known as forest bathing (shinrin-yoku). The idea is very simple: by allowing yourself to reconnect with nature through all of your senses, you will receive many benefits to the health of your body and mind.
Simply go to a natural environment for a relaxing walk. Use all of your senses to dive deep into the natural world: see the trees, smell the pollen, and touch the leaves. Perhaps sit down for a moment, let your thoughts slow, and simply absorb the beautiful things in your vicinity by using all of your senses.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most campers don’t know what shinrin-yoku is. And they don’t go camping because of some Japanese practice. But I’ll also be extremely confident saying that the vast majority of campers practice this idea and feel the benefits of it regularly.
Many of us don’t get the chance to reconnect with nature on a daily basis. Concrete jungles, offices, traffic, and the reality of metropolitan life can sweep you away and disconnect you from the beautiful world that existed long before man. Suburban walkways and small parks are good for a quick refresh, but they don’t change your mind like a backcountry hike will.
At the heart of most outdoor activities is one very simple idea: nature. We hike to see the view from the summit. We go kayaking to glide on water and to see what’s in there. We go camping to be outside.
Trade the Saturday afternoons at home watching movies for time outside. Reconnecting with nature is not something you have to strive for while camping. It will come organically and it will keep bringing you back to the outdoor scene. And it’s another major reason why you should go camping.
Disconnect from the Connected World
Do you imagine a world where you turn off Netflix, ignore Facebook, and dive head-first into something new? Have you ever told yourself to put your phone down or turn your TV off, but then fail miserably? Or that you’ll be active this weekend, then waste it by sitting on the couch all day?
In the world of camping, willpower is not needed to avoid your phone and TV. Quite often, the best campsites don’t have internet nor cell service. For all intents and purposes, social media doesn’t exist and the 24-hour news cycle dies.
This doesn’t hold true for everyone. And if you are someone who can’t miss a weekend football game or needs to be in touch for work, then you can make that work too with the proper equipment. (You might want to start off with some camping solar panels.)
Many people, however, drop the screen time and replace it with other hobbies that are quite often better for your health. Instead of binging on a Netflix series, you explore the area around your campsite for hours, or pull out that book you’ve been meaning to read for the last three years.
Open Your Eyes
When I travel anywhere, I love one specific experience. It usually happens in the middle of the night or perhaps first thing in the morning.
As I open my eyes, I am lost. For a brief moment, I completely forget where I am and wonder if I am safe. My heart jumps into my throat, just before realizing I’m on an exciting adventure.
Then a smile fills my face. I know my day is going to be full of new memories and exciting adventures.
Camping is even more special. There’s nothing like opening the tent door to a new view and immediately becoming fully immersed in nature. Breathing fresh air. Enjoy the local flora and fauna all around you.
Camping activities can take you into a new world each day. Hiking trails you’ve never explored. Waterways you’ve never touched. Sights you’ve never seen.
Time after time, you can open your eyes to a new world while camping.
Find New Hobbies
If you aren’t very experienced in camping, you might think that everyone does the same thing. You go up to some campground, sit around a fire, then sleep in an uncomfortable bed. Repeat.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth and doesn’t describe why people go camping.
The world of camping is extremely diverse and each camper can find a style which aligns best with their own interests.
For some people, camping is nothing more than a means to an end. The focus could be on hiking to the top of as many mountain peaks as possible. Or it could be walking up next to the perfect fishing hole.
Even if you have some obsession driving you into the backcountry, you’re certain to expand your hobbies by getting into camping. Without the usual, idle distractions you have at home, you will be forced to discover new ways to pass the time. And the possibilities are limitless.
A knife and a bushcrafting book can make time at a campsite fly by. A decent pair of hiking shoes and a GPS app can fill your days.
Kayaks and canoes open up a new world on the water. Bicycles open up miles of untouched trails. A mask and snorkel can let you blend in with the unknown life under the water’s surface.
A kindle or a stack of books might be all you need.
Whatever it is, one piece of gear can open up a new world when you are out camping. That piece of gear is up to you and your desires.
Why Do People Go Camping?
So why do people go camping? Or more specifically, why should YOU go camping? That answer depends.
But if you want to connect with mother nature, fill your eyes with new sights, and discover a new world of hobbies and adventures, then camping might be for you.
What is your favorite part about camping? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts!