7 Reasons to Consider Camping if You’ve Never Gone Before
Much more than a (literal) breath of fresh air, there are myriad benefits that come from camping, which manifest in ways that are physical, mental, and emotional. Enthusiasts are proud to espouse these benefits, but for the uninitiated, the barrier to entry can sometimes seem a little uncertain, or even intimidating. But fear not! No matter what style of camping you opt for, or the duration of your trip, you’re sure to reap the uplifting rewards of the experience. Here’s why you should consider camping if you’ve never gone before.
1. A Break From Technology
As human beings living in the year 2021, let’s face it: technology is omnipresent. Even if we’re unaware we’re doing it, technology has a tendency to absorb seemingly every aspect of our lives, from checking email and communicating with friends to mindlessly skimming through social media or Googling about this years Oscars predictions. Or, you know, more important news. While it’s certainly true that many campgrounds have WiFi, making it possible to use your phone and laptop as needed, camping is an intrinsic escape from that digital vice grip. By uprooting yourself from routine and spending time in a more natural setting, where WiFi service can be spotty (or non-existent), it forces you to unplug and not only appreciate what’s around you, but connect with it more deeply. Breathe it in, realize you don’t need to refresh your inbox every five minutes, and feel it melt away.
2. Stress Relief
Speaking of things melting away, camping is like an elongated (and much more affordable) spa service for stress treatment. Stress is something that effects and inhibits millions of us, for millions of different reasons. One common thread through all that stress, though, is tied to the day-to-day drudgery of work, bills, traffic, and yes, technology. So it makes total sense that holing up in a quiet campground for a few days, far removed from the normal routine, is sure to melt that stress away and help you focus on re-centering your body and mind.
3. Open Your Eyes to What Camping Can Be
For a lot of folks, especially those unfamiliar with the practice, the notion of camping is often stereotyped as rugged, intense, and primal, taking place far away from society, home, and WiFi (are you sensing a theme?). In fact, camping is such a broad and customizable practice that can truly be whatever you want it to be. Assuming all camping is rugged and tough would be like assuming all hotels are penthouse suites in a Ritz-Carlton — it’s a category that’s simply too expansive to summarize. If you’re seeking a remote, primal experience, you can certainly load up a backpack and accomplish that, but camping can also mean sleeping in your comfy car, in a fully-stocked RV, and even a cute cabin. Don’t be intimidated by preconceived notions; go out and make camping your own, at your own comfort level!
4. It’s Affordable
Leaning back on that hotel comparison, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more affordable excursion than camping. When looking to embark on a trip, it’s the best option for the budget-minded, and with so many endless options and styles to choose from, you can totally customize your experience to fit your spending. This could range anywhere from FREE for backcountry wilderness experiences to $100 or up for a furnished cabin, but no matter which way you slice it, that’s a steal compared to airfare, hotels, lodges, and theme parks.
5. The Perfect Way to Social Distance
Even as life slowly shifts back towards “normal,” ingrained practices of social distancing are sure to continue for a while, for the betterment and safety of society. Thus, people will naturally continue flocking to activities and locations that feel safe, both for themselves and others. Camping, of course, is the ultimate social distancing destination — you’re only with yourself or a small group of friends or family, campsites are neatly spaced apart, and almost all activities are outdoors in wide-open spaces. Not only is there a ton of fun and adventure to be had, but you can feel assured and comfortable while doing so, whether it be swimming, fishing, hiking, mini golf, or just sitting around a campfire.
6. Get in Touch With the Environment
For those who live in cities especially, it can be hard to discern a genuine holistic connection with the environment. As the world seems to blur in fast-forward all around us, how can we appreciate the Earth? Camping is a surefire way to accomplish and foster such connections. By simplifying your living arrangement, even if just for a few days, you’ll refocus your energies on your immediate surroundings, paying attention to “Leave No Trace” principles, being mindful of technology use and resources, and appreciating the littler things, like the chirping of birds, the crackle of a campfire, and the way the sunlight flickers through the leaves. It’s nature’s therapy.
7. It’s a Great Way to Bond With Family
By breaking away from routines of work and school, camping is one of the best settings in which to bond and form healthy, fun memories with family members. With no other obligations, traffic jams, video games, or computers to contend with, you’ll all be “forced” to focus on each other, venturing off on activities, playing board games, cooking dinner together, and sharing ghost stories. In the day-to-day monotony, it can be easy to take these familial connections for granted, but camping is a surefire way to embolden them.
Born and raised in New Hampshire, Matt Kirouac grew up with a love for camping and the outdoors. Though he’s lived in Chicago since 2006, he’s always on the lookout for new adventures. He writes about travel and food for outlets like TripExpert, Money Inc, Upventur, DiningOut, Food Fanatics magazine, Plate Magazine and Zagat, and he currently serves as Chicago editor for What Should We Do?! He’s the author of The Hunt Guides: Chicago (2016) and Unique Eats & Eateries of Chicago (2017).