There is nothing better than escaping the hustle and bustle of the big city and heading out into the wild for a weekend of camping. Hiking through beautiful forests or rugged mountains and falling asleep under a night sky full of stars.
While many would argue that taking a trip to an exotic vacation destination and staying in an expensive hotel with all the bells and whistles is the best way to spend a holiday, however, nature lovers and avid campers would disagree and science would agree with them.
Camping and spending time in the great outdoors has many benefits from enjoying activities in a clean and healthy environment to learning new skills and reducing anxiety and stress. Here are some of the fantastic benefits of heading into the great wide yonder with a backpack and a tent and spending a few nights under the stars.
Amazing Benefits of Camping
1. Fresh Air and a Healthy Environment
The most beneficial aspect of camping is being outside in the fresh air. If you live in a city or close to one, you are probably not breathing the freshest air. Even with the Clean Air Act in effect, evidence still suggests that air quality, even in suburban neighborhoods, isn’t as clean as the air you would find in the wilderness far from the cities. To enjoy some super fresh and clean air, heading out of town into the wilderness, and being surrounded by trees and natural terrain is your answer.
2. Return to The Natural Circadian Rhythm
Camping is a wonderful way to return to your natural circadian rhythm, which is often lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Most people do the majority of their activities during the day and sleep when the sun has set, however, in today’s day and age with artificial lighting, computers, and smartphones, most people do not get enough sleep. This increases stress levels and has an adverse effect on our health.
Research shows that camping helps people to return to their natural circadian rhythms as they tend to get more sleep. Activities are done during the day and when the sun sets and there is no artificial lighting or computers and smartphones to distract, campers tend to go to bed earlier and get more sleep. This, in turn, reduces anxiety, stress levels, and leaves one feeling rejuvenated.
3. Stress Relief
Everyone experiences stress from time to time, which can lead to physical and mental health issues. Camping is a great way to get away from it all and relieve whatever stress you have in your life. It’s a chance to leave everything at home or the office and take a breakaway.
4. Increased Production of the ‘Happy Hormone’
Camping helps to increase the production of serotonin in the body, which is also known as the “happy hormone.” Being outdoors in the fresh air, taking part in daily activities and exercise, eating healthy food, and getting back to nature are all elements that contribute towards you feeling great!
5. Daily Exercise
The word “exercise” may conjure images of sweating it out in the gym or going for a long run, but exercise is simply an action that gets you moving and increases your heart rate. Camping requires many activities such as setting up your tent, finding kindling for a fire, hiking and walking through the surrounding terrain and making and cooking food, among others.
If you are camping rough, you may need to catch your own food by fishing or hunting, or search for water, which involves a fair amount of exercise. There is no doubt that exercise is a must for a healthy body, mind, and soul, and any form of exercise, while you are camping, is a benefit!
6. Healthy Eating and Good Food
Another benefit of camping is that you generally tend to eat healthier foods than you would at home. There are no fast-food joints within driving distance so you have to take all your food, and this may be much healthier than you would normally eat at home or the office. Camping also requires you to cook your own food over a fire, which is a fantastically healthy way to cook and there is a wealth of amazing recipes to try that feature cooking over an open fire.
7. Escape from Cyberspace
Camping is a great way to escape today’s digital world and take a break from cyberspace. Laptops and smartphones allow people to work from anywhere in the world, which leads to overworking, as well as anxiety, insomnia, and stress.
Heading into the wilderness on a camping trip allows you to take a welcome break from the world of technology as there are no power points or opportunities to jump on your computer or phone. It’s a good idea to take a phone with a solar charger in case of emergency, however, avoid checking it all the time.
8. Builds Relationships and Teamwork Skills
Camping is a great way to bring together a group of friends or colleagues for a team bonding activity. Camping activities like setting up camp, looking for firewood, and preparing and cooking food can be divided up into groups to encourage teamwork and create a sense of belonging.
9. Develops New Skills
Camping requires skills that you may not necessarily use in daily life such as pitching a tent, starting a fire, tying knots, preparing food without a kitchen, and cooking food over a fire. These are important skills to have, and camping is a great way to learn and master them. There is no better feeling than collecting wood and starting your own fire to cook over.
10. Provides Good Doses of Vitamin D
Research shows that over 40% of Americans suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays a vital role in maintaining healthy cells and helping the body absorb calcium, which is needed for bone development and growth.
Camping is a great way to get healthy natural doses of Vitamin D and replenish what you lose by sitting in an office all day. Vitamin D boosts energy levels and rejuvenates the body and mind, which is another benefit of camping.
11. Stimulates Creativity, Inspiration, and Motivation
A change of scenery is as good as a rest and if you feel stagnant at home or work, camping is a great way to take a step back and reset. Camping can stimulate creativity and inspiration for new ideas and motivation to put them in place or try new things. Camping offers the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and try your hand at fishing or making a fire from scratch.
12. Enhances Self-Awareness
Daily life tends to be packed with a myriad of activities, distractions, and tasks, which can lead to us losing our self-awareness capabilities. Camping provides a space of peace and quiet, away from any distractions for you to take stock of your life and spend some time thinking about your priorities in life.
13. Improves Problem-Solving Skills
Camping helps to sharpen problem-solving skills, particularly with problems you haven’t dealt with before such as finding the right place for setting up camp, making a fire, or preparing food without a kitchen. Anything can happen in nature and the weather can turn on a dime. Experienced campers who like to rough it will know that you need to be a problem-solver sometimes to survive.
14. Teaches Children New Skills
Most kids love camping and it’s a great way to teach them new skills. From learning how to set up camp and put up a tent to foraging for wood and making a fire, there are endless opportunities for young children to learn new skills while camping. Experienced campers can teach young adults how to survive in the wild, provide first aid to people in need, and even hunt for their food, skills which are not taught in school and may prove invaluable one day in their future lives.
15. Encourages an Appreciation for the Environment
Camping encourages an appreciation for the environment and the fauna and flora that reside within it. The Earth’s environment is suffering due to numerous factors such as climate change and the more people that are made aware of the fragility of the environment, the better. Camping teaches young children to look after the environment and being surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of nature leaves even the most experienced campers with a sense of responsibility to take care of it.
16. Increases Physical Fitness and Improves Overall Health
Camping requires a fair amount of physical activity from hiking to your camping spot, setting up camp and finding wood for fires to hunting for food (experienced campers or hunters), or enjoying leisure activities while camping like hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and geocaching.
17. Great for Family Bonding
Camping is a fantastic activity for the whole family to enjoy and is a great way for a family to spend time together and bond as a unit. A camping trip will provide a continuous source of experiences that offer plenty of opportunities for conversation, laughing, teaching, and sharing.
18. Encourages a Sense of Independence in Children
Camping is a great way to encourage and enhance a sense of independence in children. Camping tasks such as helping to set up a camp and pitching a tent or collecting firewood can help children to feel more independent and self-sufficient, which, in turn, leads to greater self-confidence and a feeling of worth.
19. Improves Moods
Campers often say they come back after a camping trip feeling happier. Spending time outdoors in the sun provides the body with Vitamin D and melatonin, which is the chemical that induces feelings of tiredness and depression. Camping can release endorphins that make you feel happier!
20. Alternative Therapy for Mental Health Issues
Research shows that camping can be effective as an alternative type of therapy for people with mental health issues. Studies in which patients who were previously resistant to traditional therapies were sent into the forest to camp showed much improved results in their mental health and a reduction in anxiety and depression.
Top Tips for Beginner Campers
Camping is a fantastic way to get out and about, get some fresh air, explore the outdoors, and spend quality time with friends and family, however, camping for the first time can be tricky. Here are some top tips to make your first camping experience one to remember.
1. Choosing Your Campsite
Choosing a good campsite is vital for having a good camping experience and there are a few key things to look out for such as whether the sites are child- or dog-friendly; whether there are facilities like showers and toilets; and whether there is a town nearby where you can stock up on food, water, and other essentials if needed.
2. Select the Right Tent
The type of tent you decide on is very important as it is going to protect you and your belongings from the elements and provide a dry place to sleep. Tents come in all shapes and sizes so it’s vital to find one that will suit your needs.
3. Don’t Skimp on Your Sleeping Bag
Your sleeping bag is an essential piece of camping equipment that could make or break your camping trip. Always take a sleeping bag, even if you are planning on camping in an area with a warm climate as temperatures can drop significantly at night. When shopping for a sleeping bag, pay close attention to the season and temperature ratings of the sleeping bag to ensure it will serve your needs.
4. Practice Pitching Your Tent
It’s a good idea to practice pitching your tent at home before you head into the great outdoors. This will allow you to find any problems there might be with the tent before you leave and ensure you are confident at setting it up and taking it down.
5. Make a List of Camping Essentials
Make a checklist of everything you need for your camping trip from your tent and sleeping bag to the food you plan on cooking, and essentials such as a torch, headlamp, matches, and a first aid kit.
6. Plan Your Meals Beforehand
You can save a lot of hassle at the campsite by planning your meals before you head into the wild. This will not only give you more time to spend relaxing in nature, but it will also help you to avoid carrying too much food.
7. Ensure You Have Enough Water
You must have enough water for your entire camping trip, as well as some extra in case you run out, especially if you are camping rough.
8. Stay Safe
Some vital items shouldn’t be forgotten when you go camping such as a first aid kit, a headlamp and torch, sunscreen, matches or flint, and garbage bags – never leave your rubbish behind!
9. Have a Practice Camp
If you’re nervous about your first camping trip, have a practice camp in your garden before heading into the wild. This will give you the chance to check your tent is in good order, practice sleeping on the ground, and listen to the sounds of the night.
10. Setting up at the Campsite\When you have chosen your campsite and are setting up your tent, make sure to pitch on level ground that is clear of any debris and rocks. Always set the tent up with the back of the tent facing into the wind to give it more stability and place the pegs into the ground at a 45-degree angle for a secure set-up.