Going on a camping trip when you don’t like to camp can be quite a challenge. With summertime around the corner, and if the health measures allow it, you may get a few invitations to go camping. As for me, I’m a big fan of sleeping in the open air, but I know that it’s not for everyone. In the following article, I’ll be giving you my tips for learning to enjoy this activity.
How to love camping: Choosing the right site
Choosing a campsite that meets the needs and expectations of someone who doesn’t like camping is key to a successful stay. Put the odds on your side by considering these few points when booking your trip:
Choose furnished campsites
Forget backcountry camping and opt for locations with amenities. These campgrounds are less of a shock for amateur campers or anyone who isn’t a fan. Access to running water and modern bathroom facilities provide a lot more comfort than the sites where it’s just you and nature.
Opt for functional camping pitches
Be sure to select a site that is near a water point or bathroom facility and that is accessible by car. This way, you will have your gear close by and you will avoid having to carry everything on foot. A smooth stay is all about simplicity.
Select a site near tourist attractions
Just because you sleep outdoors doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time in the woods. To make the most of your stay and take full advantage of what your destination has to offer, book a campsite near attractions that interest you. An afternoon at the beach, a sporting activity, a meal in a local restaurant or a visit to a museum are exciting options to explore.
Consider ready-to-camp formulas
Ready-to-camp are great alternatives to traditional camping. These glamping options are generally a lot more comfortable than the typical mattress-on-the-damp-ground setup. These are also great if you don’t have camping equipment, as many of these sites provide everything you might need. (Check it out depending on where you’re going.)
In addition, you may have access to unique accommodations like yurts, tiny houses or furnished tents, which makes the trip even more thrilling.
Plan overnight stays at a hotel
If you’ve planned to spend all your nights under the stars, it might be wise to replace a few with stays in a hotel or inn. This will help you have a more pleasant experience if you’re not the outdoorsy type.
Introduction to camping: Planning a stay
Once you choose and book the campsite based on your needs, organize your stay efficiently so that you will be as comfortable as possible. Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing:
Prep meals that can be reheated
For those who don’t have the equipment to cook outdoors, prepping meals before departure is the easiest option. On my side, no matter the type of camping trip, I always bring one or more dishes that I can reheat when I don’t feel like unpacking. My favorite meal to bring along while camping is chili: comforting, tasty, and easy.
Cook on site and discover local flavors
Cooking outdoors is an experience on its own that can delight any chefs, even if they are not camping enthusiasts. When possible, I like to try local products and include them in my camping menu. This allows me to discover the area I’m visiting and support local businesses.
Bring plenty of clothes
I think the worst thing about camping is being cold and uncomfortable. Even in summer, temperatures can be surprisingly cool after dark. If on top of that your campsite is on higher ground or is exposed to sustained winds, the trip can become very strenuous without the proper clothing. Here are some must-haves:
- Spare shoes
- A change of clothes in case of rain or bad weather
- A waterproof coat that also protects you from the wind
- Warm clothes for nighttime
- Clothes that you don’t mind wearing in the evening near a fire and cinders
Have the necessary equipment
Going camping requires special gear and being well equipped can make all the difference. My go-to camping items:
- A comfortable sleeping pad or air mattress
- A sleeping bag adapted to current temperatures
- A hot plate or stove (previously tested)
- Whatever you need for what you plan to cook
- Necessities for making a fire
- A headlamp
- A first aid kit
- Mosquito repellent
- Toilet paper
- Portable charger
- A good book
- A camera
- A tarp to protect you from extreme weather conditions
Camp in good company
Going camping with regulars can be easier for those who are less familiar with this activity. This can allow you to share equipment, in addition to simplifying the organizing of the getaway. A group stay can also be a great opportunity to have a good time with family or friends. Make sure to respect health measures in place regarding gatherings!
Try camping even if you don’t like camping
Are you trying camping for the first time knowing that you probably won’t like it? Kudos to you! That said, give yourself a chance to have a good time by bringing along some necessities from your daily life.
- Do you need YOUR pillow to sleep well? Bring it.
- Does drinking a good cup of coffee make you happy? Bring whatever you need to make one or locate the nearest coffee shop.
- Also allow yourself to cancel if the weather is not looking good, because being outside in the rain is not very fun, even for regulars.
Finally: Respecting your limits
If, when the time comes, your discomfort and lack of interest in camping takes over, give yourself permission to review your plans and, if necessary, cancel your stay. A vacation should always be about rest and fun. It’s important to feel comfortable with the activities you have planned.