I didn’t grow up in a family that went camping. As far as I could tell, all other families went camping, and it was just one more thing that I was missing out on. When I grew up, I was curious about this seemingly popular vacation. As a young adult, I went on some camping adventures, and those memories are dear to my heart. I had some amazing experiences, but, in the process, learned that I hate camping.
Because I can appreciate the benefits of camping and understand why people enjoy and even crave a camping vacation, my perspective can give you fresh insights on the pros of going camping. Perhaps my opinions will help you plan a great camping adventure or give you the resolve to bow out when you’re invited to return to your Stone Age roots.
Pros of Going Camping
Nature is called the “great” outdoors, so there’s a chance you will like going camping.
Being Outdoors Is Good for You
Exposure to fresh air in a natural landscape produces physical and mental benefits. Putting yourself in an outdoor environment encourages physical activity. This benefit could spare you from gaining weight on vacation even if you indulge in s’mores.
Our brains and bodies relax when surrounded by greenery and open spaces. The stress responses in your body triggered by the overstimulating modern environment of fours walls and concrete everywhere fade away once you reach wildlands.
Researchers have found that, in general, people who live with more exposure to Nature experience fewer chronic diseases than those living in predominantly human-built environments.
When you surround yourself with Nature, your mental health improves. Stress goes down, and, if something upsetting does happen, your negative feelings will fade more quickly. Your ability to focus and think becomes sharper as well.
Camping Unplugs You From the Matrix
Few people can dispute that our smartphones are addictive. We constantly scroll, hoping for a fresh dose of stimulation. Aside from our smartphones, the speed of modern society takes a toll on our bodies and brains. Our schedules are packed. We work too much. Our brains are carrying too many details.
Camping separates you from the normal daily grind of a super-connected world where there is always a new headline about the end of the world. Families and friends use camping to refocus on each other instead of co-existing in separate cyber bubbles as we tend to do at home and work with our internet-connected mobile devices.
Camping Is Relatively Affordable
I say this with a caveat that you can spend thousands of dollars on camping gear if you want. But, if you set a budget and purchase a reasonable amount of gear, you can view it as an investment. You will be ready to go camping over and over, and you can add new items of gear year by year. Camping gear in workable condition has resale value as well.
The affordability of camping largely arises from the cost of campgrounds being far lower than staying at a motel, hotel, or resort. State and county campground fees fall into the $5 to $20 per night range. Many campgrounds have electrical outlets and bath houses. Private campgrounds tend to cost a little more in the $30 to $50 per night range, but you might have access to more amenities like a swimming pool or private lake access.
Affordability contributes greatly to camping’s popularity especially for families. A family on a tight budget can take the kids someplace where they can run wild and experience the outdoors for far less money than going to a resort or amusement park.
Young adult friend groups also choose camping vacations due to the low cost of entry. Young people often have limited resources, and camping trips give them wide open spaces to enjoy and a cheap place to throw a party.
Sitting Around the Fire Under the Stars
This might be the best part of the camping experience. You strip away all of the junk that has happened during thousands of years of civilization and get into a primal state. Sitting with your loved ones around a fire is fundamental to the human species.
You can talk and tell stories and admire the stars in a place with minimal light pollution. Getting away from light pollution in the cities and suburbs will really surprise you. It’s easy to forget the majesty of the universe when you can barely see the stars.
Camping Is the Best Way to Experience Wild Areas
Campers have the best access to remote areas of beauty. Campgrounds in state and national parks can put you adjacent to extraordinarily beautiful landscapes. You have access to hiking trails where you can see world-class natural splendor.
The times I camped at Lassen National Park in Northern California are very special memories for me. Sleeping in a tent on the slopes of an active volcano is a unique experience that allowed me to feel a deep connection to the living Earth.
One night on the slopes of Mount Lassen after dark, I was in the tent trying to go to sleep. My husband was outside stargazing. The fire had died away. He came quietly to the tent and asked for a flashlight and whispered, “There’s something out there.” From the opening of the tent, he shone the light into the blackness and illuminated the most magnificent buck deer I have ever seen. He was only about five yards away. His coat was a glossy red color. Being midsummer, his great antler rack was encased in fussy velvet. He was truly the lord of all deer.
Getting to see the lord of all deer in the middle of the night is the type of experience that only happens when camping.
Pros of Going Camping Not the Whole Picture
Although the pros of going camping are compelling, camping, like any vacation, can take a bad turn. Cold, wet weather is the kryptonite of any camper. And to be honest, many people dislike camping for a variety of reasons, as the Cons of Going Camping According to Someone Who Hates Camping will explain fully.