Camping is arguably one of the most underrated outdoor activities in the world.
It has a lot of benefits that will make your life easier and better, yet people still avoid it.
Young people are glued to their televisions watching TV shows or playing games, and adults are stressed, thinking about their daily grind and their next promotion.
But some people are different.
They make sure they make time to go camping.
Why would they? What do they know that others don’t?
If your argument is that there are better things to spend time on and improve your overall health, think twice.
Camping has many health benefits, both mental and physical, that you should be aware of.
Camping is in of itself a physical activity.
If you go camping and just do the normal things (setting up the tent, cooking food, etc), you will automatically exercise your body.
But the beauty of going on camping trips is that you always end up doing more exercise on top of the “normal” exercise.
You can either go for long walks and jogs, you can go hiking, swimming and even hunting, all of which have amazing benefits to your body: you will sweat and kill bacteria, burn calories and increase your energy post-recovery.
And on top of these, who doesn’t enjoy exploring hiking trails completely off of digital gadgets or enjoying sun sets after running 10 miles?
But that’s not all.
Outdoor activities such as those also get your heart pumping, which in turn improves circulation and helps your body lower blood pressure.
So not only can you exercise your body while you enjoy nature but you are also reducing health risks.
Where else in the modern life are you going to find a win-win situation like this?
Get out of your comfort zone and go camping.
Combat your Vitamin D Deficiency
But the more physical fitness aspect, burning calories and getting shape is only one of the many benefits from your future camping experience.
Going camping increases your exposure to Vitamin D since you will be exposed to sunlight (as opposed to being stuck at home with artificial light).
And yes, Vitamin D is essential.
It’s scientifically proven that it helps your body absorb calcium, and together with it, protects you from developing osteoporosis (a disease that weakens your bones and makes them more likely to break).
And no, you cannot overdose from Vitamin D through exposure to the sun.
You should however be careful not to have too much exposure to sun light and protecting your skin, to avoid skin damage or even cancer.
Always preserve your healthy cells.
“So what you are saying is that if I’m already fit and healthy, and get a lot of exposure to sunlight, I don’t need to go camping”? No.
Physical health and exposure to Vitamin D is not everything that camping offers. On the contrary.
Your physical well being is obviously extremely important, but that’s one side of the coin of human life.
Mental health is the other side.
In times where the media spotlight has been on depression and anxiety (especially after the COVID policies promoting isolation), people can no longer ignore what goes on our mind.
It’s our job to protect our mental health, and time spent camping and outdoors (camping or not) does wonders for it.
Stress Reduction, Mood Improvement & Depression Combatant
Going camping is very effective against stress levels, can significantly improve your mood and remove any negative or depressive thoughts from your head.
When you go on a camping trip and spend time with family, friends or even alone, without constantly checking your phone for emails, your body starts to decompress and your mind to relax.
The moment you allow yourself to relax, things change: you shift your focus to the present moment and away from all the stress of the routine, and you feel in peace… truly enjoying the moment (that’s why we do not recommend you bring televisions and other digital gadgets to your camping trip).
And when you’re in that zone, truly enjoying the moment, your stress levels decrease… and you feel good, in peace… you’re suddenly not feeling overwhelmed with deadlines, to dos and pressure.
You feel happy and your energy levels and motivation recharged. And that feels amazing.
Why do you think campers decide to leave their big city and go camping again and again? Partly because camping activities have that effect on your mind.
Still skeptical? Don’t take our word for it and check this study where 2/3 of people choose nature when they are feeling stressed.
But once again, things are more complex that they seem.
You see, if you go camping and spend quality time outside, you will be exposed 24/7 to fresh air and sunlight.
Besides the endorphins your body will release (and that will improve your mood), you will also increase your oxygen intake.
Combining higher oxygen intake (aka deep breaths) with high air quality (we’re assuming you choose a place with no pollution) will result in an increase of your serotonin levels.
A chemical that your nerve cells produce that can be found in several parts of your body. Still confused? Let’s make it simpler:
Serotonin impacts all your body, regulating basic body functions such as your mood, sleep, digestion, wound healing and nausea – don’t ignore it.
This chemical is so powerful that some anxiety medication work by changing how your brain uses serotonin.
Bottom line: get out there, to the middle of the nature, and breathe fresh air.
Increasing your Social Time
When you go camping, you’re either on your sleeping bag resting or outside the tent, doing all kinds of things with friends or family.
What you are not doing (or should not be doing) is spending all your time inside the tent, glued to your digital devices (mobile, iPad, etc).
If you go with friends, even if you want to spend your time scrolling down on Facebook, you’ll feel bad about it since you’ll miss all the fun stuff you can do in group.
You will be under some degree of pressure to ditch your “online life” and gadgets and live in the moment, having a good time with your family or friends.
This increase in your social time has massive benefits for you: if you’re shy you learn to be more talkative and sociable in general; if you’re already a sociable person, you have nothing to lose but improving that skill, especially in a society where the shift is now towards the greater importance of soft skills (as opposed to hard skills).
But that’s not all.
Because you are now spending time with your family or friends that you would otherwise spend on your sleeping bag, you will naturally strengthen your relationships, which can only bring upsides.
You will now know your friends even better (and vice versa) and listen more to your kids (which is often underrated and not done often enough in the modern world).
It sounds great, right? The best part is that this is not all that camping helps with. Keep reading.
Impact on Children’s Education
When you have this chance to spend additional time with your children, you will naturally have an opportunity to further their education.
When your whole family is away from the stress of the city and has all the time to talk and do things together, you will all share things that you probably would not share otherwise.
You will get to hear more from your children on what is happening on their lives, what they have been doing in school, what they like or dislike, you name it.
This is especially good and helpful for more absent parents, who in their daily routine don’t find as much time as they would want to spend time with their children.
But this is a two-way street: your children will also now hear more from you.
What you think about the world, your opinion on a myriad of topics, etc.
As a parent, you now have a chance to provide educational lessons to your children that will help them in their lives – and this is much more effective in a long conversation without a time watch by the fire versus a rushed talk when you take them to school.
Be smart when you pick your battles: camping is your best friend here.
Meet Like-Minded People
If you work a corporate job, do exercise on the side, and have dinner with your family, you probably don’t have a lot of opportunities to meet people with similar personalities and values to yours.
In a world that has been conquered by the “online” and where the “offline” tends to be neglected, if you are more of a people-person and don’t really enjoy sitting on a chair in front of a screen, then you’ve definitely noticed that it’s not easy to meet people.
When you go camping, you will likely meet other families that made the same choice that you did for that weekend: to leave the big city stress and enjoy some family time outdoors in the nature.
If these families also chose that, that is a great sign that their values and personalities are aligned with yours.
Given that camping is a social outdoor activity, where you can have a good time cooking, hiking and doing other things together, you will have the perfect opportunity to talk to and meet these other families.
You meet like-minded people and your children make new friends – it doesn’t get any better than this.
Develop New Skills
When you go camping, pressure is off.
You don’t feel stressed because you have to finish A, B and C in the next hour, can only spend 30 mins on meals and have no time to try out new things.
When you’re camping, you are in another space, living a different life. So relax, enjoy and make the most of it.
Try new things. You won’t know how to do them at first, but who cares? You’ll need 2 hours instead of 30 mins, because you’re still inefficient. Again, who cares?
This is the perfect time to develop new skills and learn new things that you wanted to but never had the time, patience or even energy.
Ask your friends or other people in the camping site for tips. Try and make mistakes. Learn from them. Live your life.
In a way, camping represents a reset; camping is a great safe space where you can go back to being a kid and learn new things. An opportunity to really do what you want to do.
Never learned how to do a BBQ? This is your chance. Never have time to run or hate it? Go for a calm 10 mile jog with your partner or your children. Who cares if you have to stop and it takes a while? You are not in a hurry.
Make sure you are doing everything that camping encourages. You will see massive differences in your skills and mood.
Opportunity to Test Yourself
As we just mentioned, by trying new things, making mistakes and learning from them, you are testing yourself.
You are getting comfortable again with embracing failure for your personal growth, something that in today’s corporate jobs is highly frowned upon and discouraged.
We completely disagree with the corporate approach and preach the opposite: you will only feel deep happiness and pride if you keep evolving in life; you won’t feel good if you self-impose limits to your growth.
And to keep evolving in life, you need to be constantly learning new things, having different experiences, getting to know more people and the world.
Camping provides you the opportunity of not only trying new things and developing new skills (see prior paragraph) but also to get comfortable being alone and quiet, learning to appreciate peace and solitude, and even maybe starting to meditate.
Don’t underestimate this: it’s getting harder and harder nowadays for people to enjoy some needed alone time for introspection.
Enjoy Great Food
Either you end up cooking a great meal or your partner does, but the important thing is to grab a camp chair and enjoy the meal.
Take a good bottle of wine and spend hours talking, eating and drinking – this is an opportunity for a meal without any rush. Seize it!
Last but not least, if you know the right items to bring to your camping trip, you will have a lot of fun.
Camping allows you to tailor your experience as you’d like, so you have a lot of flexibility to craft your adventure plan and maximize fun and family team.
Don’t skip the planning part and try to improvise your camping experience. That won’t work.
People tend to neglect camping activities because they see it as a waste of time.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Camping has massive benefits for individuals and families, as long as things are planned properly and people are in the right mindset.
If you still can’t see it and will never go camping, that’s fine. No article will ever change your mind and that’s totally okay.
If you were on the fence about going camping, we hope this article makes you decide give it a try.
Trust us, you won’t regret it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Any item in particular that should be part of your camping gear?
There are several key items that you need to bring, but we won’t explore them here. You can check them in the article we recently wrote about it.
What if you are car camping?
Precisely the same things apply. Only your set up is different; it’s still camping and you still have contact with nature.
If you had to rank them, what are the top 3 benefits of camping?
This is ultimately down to personal preferences, but we would say 1) increasing our social time, 2) stress reduction and 3) exercise.