When you think of camping, a few images may come to mind. You may be thinking about roasting marshmallows around a campfire and sharing stories. Imagine spending hours fishing on a lake near your campsite. Hiking and exploring the beautiful landscape around you. No matter what comes to mind, there are obviously a few things to consider before hitting the trails.
If you’ve never set off for the great outdoors, it can be intimidating to imagine leaving everything behind and walking through the wilderness. And while there are plenty of reasons you’ll hear for staying home when your friends go camping, consider the following responses before you change your mind.
1. “Camping is Dirty”
When you’re out in the wilderness, it’s no secret you’ll be dealing with a lot of dirt and nature. However, there are plenty of tips to stay clean and keep the mess to a minimum while enjoying your outdoor adventure.
Try factoring in storage containers as you plan for your trip. And don’t forget to pack hand sanitizer, dry shampoo, trash bags, and baby wipes. A sleeping bag liner can also help keep the dirt from the day contained while you’re camping. If you’re planning to stay more than a few days, you can also bring enough clothes to wash. Some large Ziploc bags and biodegradable detergent (we like Dr. Bronner’s!) will help you shake up a fresh set each night.
2. “What if the Weather Is Bad?”
Preparing for a camping trip can be challenging when it comes to the weather. A lot can happen in the forecast between your initial planning and the day you hit the road. While you may hear that this is a good reason to stay home or find an indoor vacation spot, you can prepare for unexpected weather in a number of ways.
Pack water-wicking clothing and layers you can add or remove, as well as extra clothes. Some waterproof gear, such as boots, a jacket, and gloves, may also be helpful if you get in a bind. Keep a close eye on the forecast as your trip gets closer and make alternative plans where you can. If you plan to sleep outside of your vehicle, packing a separate tent (just in case) can give you some peace of mind.
If you can’t find dry firewood to cook over an open fire, a portable camping stove is also a great alternative. If the weather is looking too warm or too cold, you can even find a tent air conditioner or heater to add an extra level of comfort to your trip.
3. “I Need My Comfort Items”
Part of the beauty of nature is its unrefined accommodations. Some may suggest that a “getaway” should provide comfort and relaxation, including a bed, comfortable seating, and air conditioning. Luckily, with more and more companies offering fully-equipped overland campers, campervans, and compact RVs, as well as constant new improvements in camping gear, those creature comforts are easier to find than ever before.
There are a variety of portable tables, camp chairs, cots, and gear you can purchase that provide a luxurious camping experience without compromising the outdoor setting. If you want to take it further, try camping in an RV for a more comfortable experience.
4. “I Don’t Want to Get Devoured by Mosquitos”
It’s true that mosquitos and other insects are indeed an inevitable part of camping, and depending on where you set up your campsite, you may experience more bugs than you would at different locations.
Try to choose a camping spot that is not near stagnant water, such as a pond, swamp, or lake, to avoid excess insects. Also, be prepared with plenty of bug spray and fire starters. There’s nothing like a campfire to keep mosquitos at bay! And if you want to take extra measures, look into a portable mosquito net to surround your tent or RV.
5. “Camping Accommodations are Gross”
When you’re in the wilderness, your accommodations are often…rustic. Toilets and showers at campgrounds are not what you’ll find in a 5-star hotel, but many of them are still well-kept.
There are also plenty of ways to stay sanitary, safe, and clean while camping. Dry shampoo can get you through a weekend trip, and you can always bathe in a nearby river to glean the full outdoor experience. Pack plenty of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and baby wipes, as well as a pair of shower shoes or waterproof sandals to keep as clean as possible.
6. “It’s Too Hard to Sleep”
While you may not get the same quality of sleep you would otherwise get in your own bed or at a luxury hotel, there are plenty of ways to improve your sleep while camping. You don’t have to resort to being scrunched up in a sleeping bag on a campervan couch or the ground of your campsite.
There are many excellent sleeping pads available on the market today that can meet your unique needs. Options range from different materials—each with its own benefits—to various insulation technologies and easy-to-use efficiencies. Some even pack down to the size of a water bottle. If you’re worried about not having enough space to sleep, consider adding a rooftop tent to your campervan or opting for a larger RV. If you’re camping on the ground, many tents today are so spacious, you can stand up and walk around in them.
7. “Postmates Doesn’t Deliver There”
Some may find hunting and gathering a crucial part of the authentic camping experience, and some may not see the need to find and cook your own food from the wilderness. For those who prefer a more refined method of cooking, there are a number of solutions available.
Do some research before your trip and find some easy camping recipes to prepare along your journey. Portable camping stoves and a few utensils can go a long way as well. And while you’re packing, make sure to include plenty of dried food for snacking—such as nuts or dried fruit—protein bars for energy along the trail, and water or a water filter to stay hydrated.
8. “I Need Cell Reception”
It can feel strange to leave home and head out into uncharted territory with limited cell phone reception and emergency resources. However, if you can allow yourself to unplug and truly enjoy the great outdoors, you’ll likely be able to relax and recharge.
To be safe, always bring a map and a compass with you, in addition to your vehicle’s digital GPS. The last thing you want to do is get lost with limited daylight and no service or safe area to post up for the night.
One idea is to leave a schedule and your location with a trusted friend or family member, so someone will know where you are in case of an emergency. If you’re still nervous about venturing too far from civilization, try finding a campsite that is easily accessible and within a comfortable distance from home, rather than boondocking. Over time, you may start to feel more comfortable venturing out further, but there’s nothing wrong with staying close to home.
And if you’re working from the road and NEED reception, check out our guide on working remotely in a campervan.
9. “Camping is Too Much Work”
It’s true. Between packing all your supplies, setting up your camp, cooking your food, dragging your gear around to hike or fish, and tending to your family to keep everyone safe, camping can be hard work. Some may ask why you want to exert so much energy on your vacation…
There are also plenty of other reasons camping is enjoyable and relaxing! You’re able to take your time and slow down with your daily tasks and spend quality time with your friends or family. You’re also able to leave technology behind and clear your head, which really puts hard work in perspective.
And if hard work is not really your jam, you can always rent a fully-equipped campervan from one of the many rental companies in the USA.
10. “Camping Gear is Expensive”
If you’re just starting to look for camping gear, it can be overwhelming to watch the dollars add up. But don’t worry, as there are ways to manage your budget and prioritize your gear over time. Luckily, many campervan rental companies offer fully-equipped rentals, so you don’t have to worry about buying or packing all your camping gear.
You’ll have to start with some camping essentials—and there aren’t as many as you may think. Once you plan your trip, try getting these items together over a few weeks, and talk to local camping suppliers about the best gear for your needs, where you can save money, and where you need to splurge. Then, as you start to take a few trips, you may begin to discover items you wish you had or extra tools that would be handy next time.
So Many Reasons Why You Should Go Camping!
You may hear some other excuses for not camping, but there are also so many reasons why it may be just what you need. If you’d still on the fence about whether overland camping is right for you, check out our 7 Reasons Why You Should Try a Rooftop Tent>
If you’re nervous, but would still like to try camping, consider getting a group together or renting a campervan or RV for your first time. And don’t forget, there are plenty of ways to camp, and no way is “right” or “wrong.” Find the location and gear that is best for you and hit the road!
What’s the craziest excuses you’ve heard for not going camping? Comment below!