Dedicated campers need little to no encouragement to pack their bags, load up the car, and head out to their favorite spot for a few days.
However, for the rest of us, why should you choose camping vacations over others? Aside from the fun of the outdoor lifestyle, camping actually offers several benefits for your physical and mental health.
Here are just a few …
You’ll Feel Happier and Less Stressed
Ever seen a friend or relative come back from a camping trip with a lighter step and a sunnier disposition?
Spending hours outside, in the fresh air and sunlight, can hep to increase your serotonin levels. This hormone is known to lift your mood and encourage feelings of calm and focus.
Likewise, darker settings activate the release of melatonin, another hormone. This is responsible for making you feel sleepy and ready to get some shut-eye.
As you’re outdoors when camping, you’ll spend more time soaking up the sunlight. Without the bright glow of streetlights or excessive artificial lighting, your melatonin levels may well help you enjoy longer, better sleep.
You can Get Away from Your Everyday Life
Camping lets you get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life.
Whether you’re under pressure at work, fed up with college, or having relationship issues, just taking a few days to leave that behind can work wonders. For the most part, you’ll have no signal or internet when in the great outdoors, preventing you taking bothersome work-related calls or checking social media every few minutes.
You can use this time to reduce your stress levels, get some exercise, and consider your life without the ongoing distractions of ‘the real world’.
You’ll Get More Exercise
Too many of us live sedentary lifestyles. This isn’t new, of course, but actually finding the motivation to get some exercise is hard. Especially when there’s so much outstanding entertainment to keep us inside nowadays.
Well, with camping vacations, you’ll find yourself surrounded by so many picturesque views and gorgeous landmarks, you’ll genuinely want to get out there and explore.
Even walking can work your muscles, get your blood pumping, and burn calories, so you’ll get much-needed exercise while enjoying some leisurely sightseeing.
You might be able to go even further, too: some campsites offer various activities, such as canoeing, swimming, and more.
While camping, you may discover a love for exercise or specific activities you never knew before – and carry them back home with you.
You’ll Connect with Friends, Family, and Yourself
Whether you go camping with friends or family, it’s a fantastic way to reinforce your relationships.
When you’re out in the woods, walking the hills, or just sitting around the campfire, you’ll have more time and less distractions than in ‘real life’. This gives you plenty of time and freedom to just … talk. You’ll form stronger bonds and feel closer for years to come.
Going solo? This applies to yourself, as well. Maybe not the talking part, but you can use the time alone to think about who you are, where you’re going, and other aspects of life you may have neglected at home.
You may well leave that campsite with a renewed love for yourself, your friends, or your family.
Feeling inspired? There are countless gorgeous campgrounds across the USA, catering to campers of different kinds. Make sure you take the right gear to stay dry, safe, and happy!
Did you find yourself stuck for meal ideas on your last camping vacation?
Eating delicious, hot, nourishing food while in America’s backyard can be tricky. After all, you only have limited space in your car, backpack, and tents – can you really pack a hefty selection of gourmet dishes along with the other essentials?
Well, yes. Just because you’re away from the luxuries of everyday life, doesn’t mean you have to survive on junk food or forage for nuts out in the woods. Take a couple of saucepans (one small, one large), a frying pan, as many plates and bowls as you’ll need, as well as a stove and fuel (unless you plan to start your own fires).
With your gear set, here’s a range of ideas to help you eat well when away from home …
Potato cakes are pretty quick and simple to make, and they taste amazing. You can prepare these for any meal, though they probably work best on the side of fried veg for dinner.
All you need to do is boil your potatoes over your stove or campfire, and then mash them. Add a single egg, as well as any seasoning you have with you, and then introduce a little flour to the mix.
Combine it all together, and then shape the potatoes into plump, round shapes. You just need to fry them for a while, until they turn a satisfying golden-brown color, and then serve.
Burning food on a stove or campfire is pretty easy to do, so don’t be too disturbed if you end up with a couple of cakes resembling coal.
Cheesy Nachos and Veg
This may sound like something of a cop-out, but it’s actually a fairly complete meal (thanks mainly to the presence of your preferred vegetables).
Start by cutting your veggies – this may be mushrooms, peppers, chili, jalapeno, onion, courgette, carrots, or anything else you like. Fry these in a pan, and add some salsa. Mix it all up.
If you’ve a casserole dish to hand, put your nachos inside and mix the saucy veggies in with it. Mix it up. Sprinkle some cheese on top, place the lid, and then put hot coals on the top so it heats from the top down, melting the cheese nicely.
No casserole dish? Use a cast iron skillet, or wrap the nachos with sauce up in foil to heat over your fire.
Healthy, Hearty Pasta
Pasta works beautifully on camping vacations. You can cook it in batches, keep it in airtight containers, and dip into it over a few days.
For a delicious lunch or dinner, boil your pasta over your stove or campfire, and then add plenty of chopped vegetables. Tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, asparagus, corn, and anything else you like will bring plenty of flavor and create a healthy dish.
Mix in a can of chopped tomatoes or condensed soup (with a little water or milk). Let it heat for a while, so the veg cooks thoroughly, and then top with some cheese or herbs.
Safety is paramount when cooking on a campsite. Certain spots will have their own facilities, but if you’re looking to go back to basics, cooking at your own space is pretty authentic.
Don’t make fires near the woods or your tent. Don’t leave children unsupervised around the fire. Ensure all knives and sharp utensils are kept out of sight from young kids.
As long as you stay safe, there’s no reason cooking can’t be fun, creative, and help to make your camping trip even better. Make sure you have all the equipment and essentials you need before heading out.
Every year, millions of Americans go camping.
For individuals, couples, and families looking to relax in our country’s most beautiful spots, camping just can’t be beaten. First and foremost, it’s a cheap break, without the expense of hotels or flights to foreign lands.
Of course, camping also puts you on nature’s doorstep – the perfect reason to explore your surroundings and embrace the American spirit of adventure.
Still, despite camping’s ongoing popularity, many people find themselves reluctant to try it for various reasons. Perhaps it’s the fear of being disconnected from today’s 24/7 online society. Perhaps it’s the sense of isolation they expect, or a feeling of vulnerability away from the city.
Well, in this post, we’re looking at four camping myths – and debunking them.
Myth #1: Camping Is All About Tents
Think camping has to involve tents, sleeping bags, and dozing under the stars?
Well, this is absolutely irresistible to plenty of campers, but others prefer to stay in an RV instead. The beauty of this is that you get all the perks of the camping experience without the more ‘hardcore’ aspects.
You can enjoy a comfortable bed, running water, lighting, and plenty of space to relax. You can lock your RV up and go explore, taking in the sights and enjoying all the usual activities, without missing out on the home-comforts you’re accustomed to in the evenings.
If you ARE staying in a tent, keep your essentials (phone, wallet etc.) in a waterproof backpack. Even if rain seeps through your canvas or you spill water over it, your delicates will remain safe.
Myth #2: Bears WILL Attack You
Even those of us living in regions without a history of bear sightings may well avoid the woods for fear of being mauled. They also give camping novices plenty to sweat over – but is this trepidation justified?
Statistically, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a bear while camping. If you’re visiting a dedicated camping site or national park, their staff will be able to provide information on safety and preparation.
If you’re still worried, just be sure to avoid leaving food in your tent, take care when cooking foods with strong scents, and never leave waste close to your campsite.
Myth #3: Poison Ivy is a Contagious Risk to Others
Poison ivy’s frightening enough to have even the most seasoned campers watching their step while out walking, but do you need to worry if a friend or relative gets a rash?
No! Poison ivy isn’t actually contagious.
The rash is created by the oil contained on the ivy’s leaves and stems, and if this stays on the person’s skin, that may rub off onto someone else. This is unlikely, though, and easy to avoid with the proper care.
Just be sure to change your skin and stay clean.
Myth #4: You’ll Get Dirty
Without doubt, the fear of feeling filthy and smelly is enough to put novices off of camping for life. However, many of the best campsites offer showers with hot water and even baths (for a more luxurious experience).
Of course, if you’re staying in an RV, you may have your own shower. Alternatively, you can wash yourself down in the sink!
We all know hygiene’s important to avoid infections etc., but showering after a long hike or spot of kayaking helps to soothe your aching muscles. You’ll also be able to feel more relaxed if you’re not self-conscious about your body odor or stinky clothes.
Feeling tempted to try camping? We hope so. It’s a great American tradition, and the perfect way to get close to nature in an affordable, fun way. For your first camping trip, perhaps try to take an experienced camper along with you, for your own peace of mind.