There’s a long-standing joke about New Year’s resolutions: In the first week of January, gyms are overrun with enthusiastic new exercisers determined to meet their fitness goals, but by early spring, the treadmills are empty once again.
It’s easy to give up on resolutions when they’re no fun, but what if you made a resolution this year to do something you’d actually enjoy? What if you resolved to go camping more?
We may be biased, but we think camping is definitely more fun than hitting the gym. And setting up camp has plenty of other benefits too.
Read on for six reasons your resolution should be to camp more.
A 2018 study found that the average American adult spends 11 hours a day interacting with online media, including time spent listening, watching and reading. Less time staring at screens is never a bad thing, and most campsites offer an excellent reason to unplug: a lack of Wi-Fi. Imagine taking at least 24 hours to put down phones, tablets and laptops — and just spend time in nature, playing games with family members or reading a good old-fashioned book while relaxing in a hammock.
RECONNECT WITH FRIENDS
The best friendships are built on a solid foundation of shared experiences, and a camping trip is an opportunity to create lasting memories. Whether everything goes smoothly or you share a laugh when it turns out you don’t quite have that new camp recipe perfected, you and your camping crew will have something to remember about your time in the woods. And you’ll have another story to swap around your next campfire.
UNINTERRUPTED NATURE TIME
A growing body of research shows that time in nature is good for humans — both mentally and physically. A 2019 study showed that adults who spent at least 120 minutes per week outside recreationally reported greater well-being. Recreational outdoor time has also been shown to improve cognitive development in kids. If just two hours per week can make a difference, imagine what a whole day can do — especially if you make a habit of it.
TRY SOMETHING NEW
A few days in the woods (or the mountains or anywhere you pitch a tent) is an optimal time to push a little further outside your comfort zone. Whether that means checking out a new trail, trying a new outdoor sport like mountain biking or rock climbing, or attempting an elaborate menu when you usually stick with freeze-dried meals, it’s easier to keep pushing the envelope when you’ve already taken a leap.
PERFECT YOUR SYSTEMS
There’s something so satisfying about getting a system dialed in so it’s absolutely perfect. For newer campers, this might mean seeing how quickly you can set up that new tent, or positioning the camp chairs around the fire just right. If you’ve got a few more nights out under your belt, maybe it’s perfecting the contents of your spice kit, bringing the camp games you keep meaning to remember or leveling up your camp library with some field guides specific to the place you’re camping. In other words, you can always make a camping trip even better.
AN AFFORDABLE GETAWAY
Once you’ve made the initial investment in quality camping gear, heading out for a night under the stars is about the most economical getaway you can take. Most campsites are way cheaper than a motel room, and the activities you’ll likely do at camp, like hiking, birding and stargazing, are free. It also helps that, once you get to camp, everyone can spread out to do a little of what they like best — before everyone comes back together to enjoy an evening around the fire.