Hey there campers and welcome to my post asking the age-old question – Is Camping Fun? Now, as is a common occurrence on this site, this post is the result of a real life conversation had around a dinner party table last weekend. One couple was talking about how they were going camping over the upcoming Christmas break and we very excited about it…
“I would rather lie in a pit of snakes”, was the reply from across the room. Hence, an hour long back and forth ensued about how fun – or not fun – camping is. I didn’t get too involved but in the interests of transparency, I love camping and try do a good number of trips each year. However I like to think of myself as fair-minded (although I fear my bias will filter through) so in an attempt to cover both sides of the argument – I have listed a few pros and cons below…
Pros of Camping
Let’s start with the positive. Below is a list of 5 reasons that I think camping is fun!
For those who seek a bit of adventure, there is no better experience than camping. Camping can be an exciting and fulfilling experience and gives people the opportunity not only see areas they wouldn’t otherwise get during their normal life but also the enjoyment of discovering new plants & animals right outside your tent door .
Hikers can load up for a trek to places inaccessible by car and camp in places far and wide in all conditions warm and cold. Alternatively, for those camping with the family, there is the added opportunity for the kids to go on their own adventures whilst the adults go in the opposite direction via a good camping chair and book undisturbed by others.
I don’t know about you, but camping brings out the gourmet in us as we prepare feasts unimaginable at home. This is probably due to the fact that we have all day to get it cooked but in my mind there is nothing better than a good camp stew in a coal-fired camp oven, roast meat on the grill or something thrown in the smoker.
And then there are all of the extra camping treats such as bacon for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch (and seafood if in season too) and then the marshmallows over the fire at night. There is always too much to go around but there is just something about campsite meals that no other activity can match.
There is no better way to get fresh air and exercise than camping. Although there are many options for exercising in front of your TV at home, doing so outside just brings that extra sense of clarity found when you are closer to the sun, sky, and earth.
The advantage here is also around the fact that there are health improving activities for every need. For some, camping offers an opportunity for outdoor activities such hiking etc. that will get the blood flowing and air in the lungs. For others, the opportunity to just sit in the fresh air and clear their heads is the best stress relief they can find.
4. Other Activites
As mentioned above, camping is good for the soul because of all the fun that is had while doing it. Another advantage then is all of the extra-curricular activities that camping can provide. Whether you like to fish, swim, hike, or just sit around the campfire and play games with your friends and family, there really is something for everyone.
In some cases, campsites in popular tourist areas also provide a more cost effective accommodation option so that other activities such as theme parks, zoos, hospitality precincts or sporting events etc. can be enjoyed as well.
5. No screens
The kids probably won’t agree but one of the biggest advantages I always see when it comes to camping is the lack of screens in front of out eyes. Whether it be the fact that there is no ‘service’ out where we are or we the kids are just too busy to be bothered with them, the less time we are in front of them, the better.
And for those of us with busy or stressful jobs, camping provides that escape from emails, phone calls and other work mode communications so that all of the other advantages listed above can be truly enjoyed.
Cons of Camping
Ok, so now we will have a look at some of the things that our friends don’t enjoy about camping. Again, I will try and keep my personal feelings to the side and just list the facts (haha)…
It is true that camping can be an expensive pastime – especially if it is not something that you do a lot. Camping gear can be costly and due to the rigours it can face when out in the elements, often needs replacing as well. Then for each trip there is the added expense of activities, specialised clothing and other consumables such as charcoal or gas for cookers, toiletries, insect repellents and so on.
And as a counter argument for our food pro above, shopping trips for camping food always seem to cost a lot more than a normal grocery run as well – due to all that extra yummy stuff we buy of course.
2. Rough Sleeping
One of the most common complaints I hear about camping is the lack of sleep. This can be for any number of reasons such as an uncomfortable sleeping bag, an air mattress that is not inflated properly, or the fact that the ground is just too hard. If you are camping in the middle of winter, it is absolutely freezing out there and in summer, it is too hot.
There are of course camping tools such as fans and/or heaters that can assist here however if you are someone who struggles to sleep outside of your own bed, then this can certainly be a turn of when it comes to camping.
3. No Showers
If you choose to camp in a well-established tourist, RV or caravan park, then this will not be as bigger an issue. However, the further you venture out into the countryside, there are many cases where bathrooms are few and far between. This means no access to modern toilet facilities and certainly no clean showers.
Of course there is often a river or the ocean that you are camping beside but still, by the end of the weekend, you’ll be pretty grimy. As a solution you can always use a camp toilet bucket with lid and erect a camp shower but for many, this is not an acceptable option.
When you go camping, you have to expect that there will be bugs. Mosquitoes will bite, spiders will crawl and ants will get into your food. For many this is a minor inconvenience, for others – a nightmare. There are of course many different insect repellent options and most modern tents are fully screened, however the fact that they are there can be a deal breaker.
5. The work
To be honest, when the no to camping side of things was being discussed at the above mentioned dinner party, it was the amount of work to pack, setup, pull down, clean and put away all of that camping gear that was the real turn off. “It really is a lot of work for one weekend” was the main argument and again, it is hard to argue against.
Camping can be a lot of work and of course, the gear designed to reduce this work is expensive. Or, if you choose to reduce the workload by traveling light, then you are reducing comfort levels as a payoff (refer to poor sleep above). There really is no answer to all of this and is what I see as the biggest consideration when it comes to those who love camping and those who really don’t.
And there you have it. Is camping fun? Well I absolutely think so but of course others don’t. As with anything, it can be fun when you are in the right mindset and if your goal is to have a relaxing time with family or friends, then based on the above, then camping may or may not provide that for you.
What’s your take, lets see if you can get some debate (or solutions to the cons above) going below…