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Camping Basics: Why Do We Camp?

 

 It doesn't matter what level of camper you are, novice to experienced, there's always something to learn about the great outdoors. This guide is going to discuss why camping is so popular, the benefits of camping, and why people go camping, to begin with.

 

 

Why is Camping Rising in Popularity?

Many sources have credited Millennials and Gen-Xers for the rise in popularity of camping. According to Kampgrounds of America(KOA), this group makes up the majority of the campers. Over half of the individuals in this age group have children and will bring the children camping.

 

Another big reason there has been a surge in camping is the recent pandemic. According to the 2020 North American Camping Report Special Edition, campers and non-campers view camping as the safest form of travel. In fact, many have replaced planned trips with outdoor camping adventures with the family.

 

While alternative camping is on the rise, tent camping still remains the most popular choice among new campers. Veteran campers like to try different forms of camping such as RV and cabin camping.

 

 Camping, Family Camping

Why Do People Camp?

One of the most popular reasons for people to camp is to let go of their stress, relax the mind and body, and unplug from the world around them. People enjoy being able to unplug from technology.

 

Campers are looking for new experiences mixed with their love for the great outdoors. According to the 2019 North American Camping Report, the main reason that 50% of campers were due to the love of the great outdoors. This report also mentioned that interest has peaked in glamping in close to half of the campers surveyed which is something that these campers want to experience in the next year.

 

Camping is an inexpensive way to enjoy a family vacation, another reason that people take up camping. What is spent on camping gear and equipment is equivalent to a couple of weeks in a hotel yet instead of just having 1 vacation, you can get years worth of vacation at the same price.

 

People go camping for freedom. The freedom to become one with nature. The freedom to not be tied down to a busy life. The freedom to get away from the real world and enjoy what nature has to offer, with company that you enjoy.


Camping, Family Camping

 

Millennials and Camping

Millennials and Gen-Xers grew up camping. Whether it was Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, summer camp, or family vacations. Now with millennials having babies, they are passing the torch. They are the first ones to consider themselves lifelong campers. Therefore, they carry on this tradition by taking their families camping as well.

 

This group enjoys sharing their camping experiences with others, whether it is through word of mouth or social media. Millennials and Gen X are constantly influencing others on the thrills and excitement that camping has to offer.

 

 

Camping With the Family

Being able to revitalize relationships, whether it is with friends or family members, is a top reason that many people choose to go camping. Families spent time camping as a way to connect and build bonds with family members. Pack up the board games, sports equipment, and brush up on your storytelling skills so you can create bonding time and wonderful memories for the whole family to cherish.

 

Kids remember a lot from their childhood. This includes family vacations and the bonding moments spent with their family. By building relationships and connecting with your family, you are setting an example for them to follow. In fact, there are studies that have been conducted indicating that kids that currently go camping plan on continuing the tradition as they get older, settle, down, and have children of their own.

 Camping

 

Single and Looking For an Adventure

There are other times when individuals decide to embark on a solo camping trip. This can be to enjoy the peace and tranquility while breathing in some fresh air or to get away and clear one's head. Some people like to go on a solo camping trip because they are wanting an adventurous way to gain confidence and become self-reliant. When you camp with others, you can depend on others, however, as a solo camper, you have to rely on yourself. It is a way to learn independent survival skills.

 

Solo camping trips give you the chance to connect with nature and find yourself without any distractions around you. Sometimes our lives become so busy that we don't know if we are coming or going. Take a weekend and go on a hike, you will come back from your camping trip refreshed and rejuvenated.

 

 

What defines camping?

You will hear people tell you that unless you are pitching a tent among the wildlife in the woods then you are not really camping. However, there is not a one size fits all definition of camping, yet there are different forms of camping.

Here are some of the different forms of camping out there:

  • Tent camping- This type of camping is just as the name represents. You pitch a tent and that is your sleeping accommodation. This is the more traditional form of camping. You can pitch a tent practically anywhere, whether it is on a campsite, a beach, or even the woods.
  • RV camping- Camping in an RV or van. The interest is beginning to rise, however, the downside is that you have to go to campsites that allow RV or van camping. The upside is that you can connect to the campground's utilities at full hookup sites.
  • Glamping-Glamping is bringing the glamorous lifestyle to the camping world. It is not a new concept, however, it is gaining popularity and becoming a global trend.
  • Backpacking- Backpacking or hiking is an adventure in itself. You hike during the day, carrying everything on your back and you rest at night. Some people will make this a one-night getaway, while others turn it into months of hiking a path, such as the Appalachian Trail.
  • Adventure camping-A lot of solo campers enjoy adventure camping. You can take time away to explore different areas, wildlife, and all that nature has to offer. Explore and hike during the day and set up camp and rest by night.
  • Primitive camping- Don't confuse primitive camping with tent camping. In both scenarios you do pitch a tent to sleep in, however, primitive camping is usually in a remote setting. This is another favored form of camping by individual campers because they are looking for solitude. Some enjoy the adventure of surviving a couple of days without a phone, electricity, or running water.

 

According to KOA's 2019 North American Glamping Report," Glamping is most frequently observed by younger travelers, including young families." This is another reason that there is a spark in camping interest by Millennials. Results from the same report also pointed out that the most sought after accommodation for people wanting to enjoy a glamping experience is cabins.

 Glamping, Camping

 

What is Glamping?

Glamping is a way to make the traditional camping experience a unique one. It makes camping glamorous hence, glamping. This includes campsites that offer WIFI, sleeping in an RV, cabin, or trailer, and/or cooking with a portable grill. Glampers are just like campers when it comes to enjoying nature and outdoor activities, however, it's done in a modern way rather than the traditional one.

 

 

How Do You Glamp?

Most individuals that enjoy glamping are interested in ways to bring the comforts of their home to the campsite. A lot of people enjoy glamping in treehouses, elevated tents, cabins, and/or RV's. They like the idea of camping in style and comfort and having access to cell service and WIFI if they need it for emergencies or to update their social media pages.

Taking my kid's camping when they were young, I didn't realize at the time it was actually glamping. It was always reserving a cabin in the woods to enjoy the outdoors and picking a different destination each time. We were still within the backyard of bears, coyotes, and other wildlife, however, we were tucked safely away in a cabin.

 

 

Camping Benefits

Camping and glamping provide a number of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. For starters, everyone could use a little fresh air, especially if you live in a large city surrounded by pollution. If you have breathing problems or suffer from asthma, it's important to breathe in quality clean air. The only kind that you will get when you are out camping.

 

The entire family is introduced to new experiences, especially the children. They are introduced to a whole new world outside of their iPads and YouTube. All family members will benefit from an increase in exercising. This includes gathering wood, hiking, and just moving around in general.

 

Time spent outdoors in the fresh air, is time well spent. You can get in a little physical fitness through building a campfire, gathering wood, hiking, exploring mother nature, or pitching a tent. You can learn new skills whether it is fishing, kayaking, cooking over a campfire, or learning how to tie knots. These are survival skills that you can develop while camping and are important to have.

 

 Camping, Family Camping

Healthy Gains

Research studies have shown that depression and stress decrease when you spend time outdoors. Your sleep-wake cycle is more in tune when you sleep underneath the stars and moonlight. Your mood is uplifted and stress decreases when your exposure to pollutants is reduced.

 

If you are looking for a natural way to boost your energy level, look no further than mother nature. Sun exposure is a natural resource for getting in some Vitamin D. This is especially important for breastfeeding mothers, older adults, or anyone else that has low levels of vitamin D in their bodies.

 

You have time to meditate whether you go camping in a group or solo. Studies have shown that being in the outdoors provides the clarity that you need to think and you have feelings of peacefulness.

 

 

When Do People Enjoy Going Camping?

Depends on who you ask and where you live. Some people will say fall while others prefer winter time outdoors. However, for the most part, you can enjoy camping all year round. Peak camping season is between the months of March-October, therefore you will see larger crowds, more traffic, and hard to find parking spaces. Offseason camping is during the months of December-February.

 

From my personal experience, I have camped during every season, and the fall months tend to fare a better chance of enjoying camping activities. Camping in the winter in states like Tennessee near the Tennessee River just proved to be a little too cold to take the boat out.

 

Here's what can be said about camping during the different seasons:

 

 

Winter

KOA says that the best time to go camping in the South is during the winter months. You can enjoy the perfect weather, not too hot and not too cold, and in some areas, you can be completely bug-free. Wildlife retreats to the South for the winter months, giving you the opportunity to see a larger variety of wildlife in the South. You can find anything from migrating whales to birds looking for their temporary winter home.

 

 

Spring

 The springtime is preferred because the weather is just right. The night air is still cool, the campgrounds aren't busy with the summer crowds, so you can still enjoy a little peace and tranquility.

 

 

Summer

This is the most popular time of the year to go camping. Kids are out of school, the sun is shining, the night's are warm, and the days are long. People enjoy camping during the summer because other than the occasional thunderstorm in some regions, the ground is dry and warm. This is also the best time to find swimming holes.

 

 

Fall

ReserveAmerica gives many reasons to pick the fall time to go camping. The biggest reason is the scenery. The New England states are known for picturesque seasonal hues. According to ReserveAmerica, the best states to go camping in the fall include the following:

  • Colorado
  • Washington
  • New Mexico
  • Michigan
  • North Carolina

 

 

 Winter Camping

Statistics on Camping

Camping is one experience that is constantly evolving. In the 2019, North American Camping Report sponsored by KOA, the growth in diversity among campers was represented, stating that over half of the newest campers were from various ethnic groups.

 

From 2014-2018 according to KOA's 2019 North American Camping Report, the number of camping households increased from 58% to 62%. This study also mentioned that the percentage of camping households that go camping 3 or more times per year increased a whopping 72% since 2014.

 

Some people use camping as a way to take a break from technology. Kids are forced to detox from the screen and enjoy what the outdoors has to offer. The 2017 American Camper Report surveyed the ages of first-time campers, and the age group with the highest number of first-time campers was between the ages of 6-12. If you want to get your kids outdoors and away from technology camping is the way to go. Based on the 2019 North American Camping report, over 50% of teens that went camping said it was a good way to take a break from technology. Close to 100% of teens look forward to camping and bonding with the family.

 

Looking for the top 10 places to camp in North America? According to InsureMyTrip, the top ten states to camp based on rainfall, diversity, and quality of campsite are as follows:

  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Maryland
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • Minnesota
  • Colorado
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Vermont

 

There was a separate category in this study for the top 10 favorite nighttime activities- campfires and stargazing topped the list with grilling not too far behind

 

 

Camping Tricks Every Camper Should Know

Whenever you are preparing for a camping trip, most campers find they struggle with making sure that they have enough space in the vehicle that they are taking with them. So, whether you are a veteran or a novice camper, there are a few tricks that you can implement in your next camping trip to save you some time, space, and money.

 

  1. Need to keep food or drinks cool? Pack frozen water jugs instead of ice. With frozen water jugs, everything in the cooler is kept cool and when the ice in the jugs melt, you have a fresh source of drinking water without the extra weight.
  2. Want eggs by the campfire in the morning? Crack eggs and store them in water bottles. Throw your added ingredients such as cheese in the bottle with the eggs and breakfast is ready to be served.
  3. Need plates? Use a frisbee instead. Not only will you have a camping activity for the entire family to enjoy, but you can flip it over to have a place to serve your food. Don't forget to rinse the frisbee off before placing food on it!
  4. Need to pack seasoning to cook with? Grab some plastic straws and cut them in halves and thirds, melt one end and pour your seasoning of choice into the straw. Afterward, melt the other end. You have at your disposal, makeshift seasoning packets to bring on your camping trip with you.
  5. Want to know how to pack soap? Liquid soap and bars of soap take up room in a bag. Not only that it can get messy, especially wet bars of soap being placed back in your bag. To avoid this, you can use a vegetable peeler to peel strips off a bar of soap and store inside small plastic bags. This takes up less space and is more hygienic since the soap is prepped for individual, one-time use.
  6. Prep your meals in advance. This will eliminate the need to prep your meal at the campsite. Instead, you can get the campfire going and heat your food up. Don't forget about dessert, it's a campfire you can go with the traditional s' mores, or simply roasting marshmallows over an open flame.
  7. Makeshift lantern. You can create a makeshift lantern at night with your headlamp and a jug of water. Two items almost every camper packs with them. Place your headlamp over your water jug with the light pointed towards the water. The water inside the jug is used to spread the light from the headlamp, so you can light up your campsite.
  8. Camping in the summertime? As you know pesky mosquitoes are the chief complaint when outdoors during the summertime. You can forego the bug repellent by bringing some sage on the trip with you. Burn the sage at your campsite, and you have yourself natural mosquito repellent.

 

**These above tips are courtesy of the KOA and Goretex.

 

 

What is Said About Kids and Camping?

According to the Child Mind Institute, children need to spend less time indoors and more time exploring nature- i.e., camping. Both camping and exposure to nature teach kids responsibility, builds confidence, encourages them to be creative, and helps reduce stress and fatigue. It also teaches them new skills that are not taught on TV or in a classroom. This includes first aid, safety, and how to become independent.

 

There are some studies that kids who get to enjoy the outdoors are calmer, smarter, have more focus, and are generally happier than kids that spend all their time indoors. The outdoors according to Robert Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, says that nature gets kids moving. It provides a different type of stimulation where all their senses, sight, sound, touch, and smell are put to use. Taking your kids camping allows them to experience this.

 

 

Final Thought

Taking time to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life encourages you to enjoy what the outdoors and nature has to offer. Camping is the type of experience that you don't want to miss out on. As you can see you are able to find yourself, learn new things, and become one with nature. This guide has shown you there is a lot to gain from camping.

 

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