26 reasons why camping is amazing
What is it about camping that makes us love it so much? Camping magazine editor Iain Duff shares his top reasons for heading out in a tent
1 UNFORGETTABLE ADVENTURES
Hiking, surfing, mountain biking, windsurfing, kayaking… the options for adventure on a camping holiday are limitless.
2 YOU CAN RELAX AND RECHARGE
On the other hand, a camping trip allows you to literally do nothing. Once your tent is set-up, you don't have to rush to be somewhere or do something. Just sit back, chill and watch the world go by. For a few days at least, you don’t need to worry about cleaning, laundry, shopping or any of the other tiresome tasks that consume our everyday lives.
3 SPENDING QUALITY TIME
Family time is at a premium these days, thanks to longer working hours, endless commutes and all the other demands on our time. Kids also have so many other things to do – mainly speaking to their friends on social media. How often do you actually get the chance to sit with family and/or friends without everyone having their eyes fixed on phones or glued to a flickering box in the corner of the room. Camping brings people together without the distractions of the modern world, meaning you can actually chat and laugh and interact like a proper, old-fashioned family.
4 IT’S AFFORDABLE
Everyone is a bit more cautious about spending at the moment and when it comes to saving money, a camping trip is one of the most economical choices for a family getaway. Once you’ve invested in a tent and the essentials, you can use them as often as you like without spending any more money. That means years of holidays on a minimal outlay. And while campsite pitch prices sometimes seem expensive, even at £30 a night on the poshest site, you’re much cheaper camping than you would be in self catering accommodation or a hotel.
5 YOU CAN BREAK THE RULES
Family camping holidays are all about throwing the rulebook out the window and chilling out. The key to a successful trip is ensuring that everyone has a good time – you simply have to leave your usual hang-ups at home as there’s no room for them in a tent. And leave the mealtime and bedtime battles at home too. Chocolate for breakfast? Yeah, why not. Chocolate for lunch? Knock yourself out. Chocolate for dinner? Oh, go on then. You might want to try to stick to home bedtime regimes, but it’s vital not to get too stressed out if the kids refuse to go to sleep straight away. If you find after a couple of days your youngster won’t drop off early, there’s no point in trying to force the issue. Go out for a walk round the site or even take a drive somewhere. Or just let them run around until they’re so tired they go to bed themselves.
6 OUTDOOR COOKING
Bacon and sausages sizzling in a frying pan in the morning, the smell of countless barbecues going on a sunny afternoon, a curry bubbling away on a stove. We love it all.
7 RECONNECTING WITH NATURE
Fresh air, a love of the wilderness and living close to nature are cited by many people as the main reason for camping’s continuing popularity.
Camping is really good for your mind, body and soul. FACT. A survey found that more than eight out of 10 people who have camped in the last three years (83%) said that nights spent under the stars helped to relieve the stresses and strains of everyday life. The study also revealed that 91% of parents thought camping trips were good for children’s health. Additional benefits of camping included feeling more contented with normal life following a trip away.
9 DRESSING DOWN
Campsite dressing etiquette is pretty relaxed. In fact, nobody cares what you wear or how you look. So pack the kids off to the playpark in their onesies. Go to the shower block in your pink dressing gown. Wander about the site with no make-up on and bed hair. No-one will bat an eyelid.
10 DISCOVERING NEW PLACES
Have tent will travel. When you’re camping, your options are only limited by your imagination. Whether it’s a remote corner of the British Isles, a secluded beach in France or high on a mountain in America, you can do it in a tent.
11 SEE THE STARS
Celebs are all over camping these days, but that’s not what we mean. Because campsites tend to be out in the country with no light pollution to get in the way, there’s nothing better on a crisp, clear night than venturing outside your tent and looking up at the stars.
12 ELECTRONIC DETOX
Even if it’s only for a few hours, it’s the chance to turn off the smartphone, computer and other electronics.
13 LEARNING NEW SKILLS
Deep down we all want to be Bear Grylls. Camping lets you discover how to read maps, build a fire, find out how to tie knots and learn what plants you can safely eat. How do you drink water from a stream and avoid nasty stuff like salmonella and cryptosporidium? What’s the best way the protect yourself from bugs? And apart from impressing your friends and family, these skills will all help with…
14 BEING PREPARED
The world feels like a slightly more dangerous place right now, and although we’re not saying Armageddon is nigh, if ever the unthinkable does happen, your camping knowledge, skills and gear mean you’ll be better equipped to deal with it than your 5-star hotel-loving neighbour. Those fluffy towels he nicked from the Sheraton won’t help her now… bwahahaha!
15 CREATING MEMORIES FOR LIFE
Holidays are all about making memories and camping provides plenty of opportunities to do so. For example, our eldest son learned to ride a bike on a campsite and that’s something we’ll always remember. Memorable camping trips will stay with children for the rest of their lives. Even miserable camping experiences can form part of the rich tapestry of life. The memories created and the stories to be told are worth a couple of uncomfortable nights under canvas. I doubt my family will ever forget the time our tent collapsed in a huge soggy puddle during a massive deluge affectionately known as “Stormageddon”. We can laugh about it now, of course. As Ben Fogle said: “You have to have the highs and the lows. The most memorable holidays we’ve had are all the muddy, wet camping ones.”
16 YOU SLEEP BETTER
Scientists now have proof of something we’ve always suspected… spending nights under canvas helps you sleep better. Scientists have discovered that sleeping in a tent can reset your internal body clock and help you drop off earlier. The only problem is that your body clock starts to shift back to its old rhythm as soon as the tent is packed up and you head back to normal life. The obvious answer is spend more time camping.
17 MEETING NEW PEOPLE
Camping people are generally friendly sorts, so you’ll never be lonely on a campsite. Over the years, we’ve met people from all walks of life and from every corner of the globe on camping trips. A bottle of wine or an offer of a burger from the barbecue can be great ice breakers while a chat over the washing-up sinks can create a friendship for life.
18 CAMPING KIDS DO BETTER AT SCHOOL
In a survey a couple of years ago, researchers at the Institute of Education at Plymouth University found that four out of five parents thought camping had a positive effect on their children’s education. The theory is that kids enjoy learning in the classroom more, because they can share their camping adventures and experiences such as visiting educational or historical sites. Parents also believe camping supports key subjects like geography, history and science and experts say that that stacks up because the most common camping activities – such as rock pooling and nature walks – involved youngsters understanding ecosystems and wildlife, respecting nature and the environment.
19 IT’S ROMANTIC
What could be more romantic than sharing a meal in the glow of a wood fire, staring at the stars together or cosying up under canvas? Forget five-star hotels, young couples are choosing camping as the new romantic getaway. A survey found that more than two-thirds of people said their perfect camping trip would be one just with their partner or spouse and that more than half of all young people chose camping specifically because it was romantic. Only those over 55 considered it a turn-off. But please. For the sake of fellow campers, when you start whispering sweet nothings to each other, just remember tents are NOT sound insulated…
20 PEOPLE WATCHING
Who needs a TV when your tent provides you with a front row seat for all the peculiar comings and goings on the campsite? There’s that guy in the tent who takes his rabbit for a walk on a lead every morning. The lady who uses a cordless steam cleaner to get rid of the creases in her tent window. And the octogenarian caravanning couple who go to the local pub dressed up to the nines in their gladrags every night – complete with mud-encrusted wellies. We’ve seen them all on site and they’re all great.
21 YOU REALISE THAT OTHER FAMILIES AREN’T SO PERFECT EITHER
As mentioned previously, tent walls are thin and aren’t exactly suited for keeping sound in, so you get to listen to all the goings on that normally remain hidden behind closed doors. And it can be quite reassuring to hear that the seemingly perfect family next door is just as dysfunctional as your own!
22 THE SOUND OF RAIN ON CANVAS
Obviously camping tends to be better when the sun is shining, but this is Britain and we know that we’ll get the occasional (ahem) downpour. But when it does, and you’re inside and cosy, the sound of rain hitting the tent roof is strangely reassuring. There’s even an app that recreates the sound for you.
23 YOU SEE THE SUN RISE AND SET
Camping means getting to see the sun set in the evening (because you’re sitting outside) and getting to see it rise in the morning (because someone woke you up early). This is a good thing, honestly.
24 PETS CAN COME TOO
Pets are part of the family so why should they be locked up in kennels while everyone else gets to go away and have fun? Camping means Rover (or even Kitty) get to come on holiday too. Just check your site allows pets and be sure to take a lead.
25 YOU CAN DO IT IN YOUR OWN BACK GARDEN
Probably everyone’s first camping experience was sleeping in a tent in the back garden as a child. Well, we say sleeping. Most of the time these backyard adventures end early, with youngsters heading back indoors to the comfort and safety of their own beds. And those that do last the full night, rarely involve much shuteye. Nevertheless, camping in the back garden is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some practice in when time is tight
26 IT’S FUN
This is probably the most important reason of all. Camping trips let you have a laugh with family and friends, visit beautiful locations and live life to the max. As the saying goes… you’ve got one life, live it.