Paul has many years of camping experience and is passionate about outdoor cookery. Born in the UK, he currently lives in Florida, USA.
Having spent forty years camping, hiking, and cooking outdoors in many parts of the United States and Europe, I am familiar with the challenges associated with camping vacations, but this article lists and looks at 10 positives. Benefits include being an economic way to have fun and relax, a great way to learn new skills, as well as often being a boost for mental and physical health.
Below are 10 benefits of camping.
- Fresh Air and Sunshine
- Low Cost
- Unplug and Relax
- Fun Challenges
- Good Food
- Social Bonding
- Connecting With Nature
- Improved Mood
- Sleep Well
I look at each positive in detail below.
1. Fresh Air and Sunshine
If you live in an urban environment, you can actually forget what fresh air tastes like. The same goes for the aroma of the trees and plants, the woody smoke of a campfire, and the cooking food smells wafting on the breeze. Likewise, if you spend a lot of time indoors, you miss the warmth of the sun on your skin, not to mention a free dose of vitamin D. The sensations are an evocative reminder of a simpler, more relaxing times, and can be regenerative.
2. Low Cost
As far as vacation expenses go, camping tends to be very much at the affordable end of the scale. For sure, you may need buy some basic equipment, such as a tent, gas cooker, outdoor cookware, plus you will usually need to have a vehicle at your disposal and pay for some gas, but otherwise the expenses are minimum. I've spent less in total on a week long camping vacation than I have for just a couple of nights of accommodation in a hotel.
Exercise can seem like a chore to some people in their daily lives, but one of the beautiful things about camping is that you can often expend lots of physical energy without even realizing it. Whether hiking, cycling, kayaking, exploring your surroundings, or just performing everyday camping tasks, such as gathering wood for the fire, you will get your muscles working and your heart pumping.
4. Unplug and Relax
Camping provides a great excuse for unplugging our devices from the internet and disregarding the endless emails, texts, updates, and comments that we are bombarded with in the modern world. Enjoying the beauty of nature, the exhilaration of the outdoors, and the company of others can be both relaxing and engaging. It's also a great opportunity to enjoy the sounds of wild, rather than listen to music or podcasts. It's amazing how relaxed you start to feel after a day or two.
5. Fun Challenges
Problem solving is a fun part of the camping experience for me. Whether it's putting up the tent, making a certain meal over an open fire, or countless other outdoor tasks, there can much to learn. Away from all your mod cons, you often have to come up with inventive new ways to do things. Camping vacations provide opportunities for trying out new things and learning new skills.
6. Good Food
Camping presents an excellent opportunity for ditching all your pre-packed, processed, frozen, and microwaved food, and opting instead for some fresh food and hearty meals cooked outside. If you hunt or fish, you can even access your own supply of protein. Meals become occasions on camping trips, and some of my best memories relate to the aroma and experiences around the cooking pot, fire, and grill.
7. Social Bonding
Camping alone can certainly be fun and rewarding, but doing it with friends or family provides a unique opportunity for bringing people together. Social bonds are strengthened by spending time together, whether you're putting up a tent, hiking, building a campfire, working together to resolve other challenges, playing and singing songs, or just chatting to each other under the night sky.
8. Connecting With Nature
As human beings, we tend to adapt to our immediate environment, making it easy for us to forget how artificial and stressful the modern world can be, especially if we live in an urban environment. Camping returns us to our primeval roots and reminds us of the way that earlier peoples lived for thousands of years. There is something deep and wholesome about immersing yourself in the natural world, and exploring mountains, shorelines, forests, and streams, as well as being able to see the Moon and the stars at night.
9. Improved Mood
Camping enables the kinds of healthy things that make us happy: increased exposure to sunshine, increased oxygen, and more physical exercise. According to scientists, this can help our bodies to produce more serotonin, and the sunlight aids the production of melatonin. Camping also enables us to escape our normal routines and the causes of stress in our everyday lives. According to the authors of The Psychological and Social Benefits of the Camping Experience, this can have transformative positive effects on mood.
10. Sleep Well
I don't know about you, but I always sleep much better when I'm away on camping expeditions. Maybe it's the fresh air, or the increased physical exercise, or being away from the stresses and strains of my regular life, but I drift into a deep easily and wake up completely refreshed. According to the University of Colorado Bolder, camping can also reset your body clock to a more natural daily rhythm cycle.
© 2021 Paul Goodman