In defence of camping

When it comes to travel in the age of coronavirus, campsites might just become the destination of choice in this odd time.

The Texas Medical Association has ranked activities by risk, and put camping firmly in the low-risk category, on par with getting takeaways and petrol. It put camping below holiday staples such as staying in a hotel, visiting a beach, or travelling by plane.

But there’s one tiny flaw in the plan for a camping renaissance: almost everybody hates it.

From the brown, semi-liquid sludge at festivals to harrowing childhood holidays, it’s easy to see where the bad rep has come from, and camping has burned most of us at least once.

But here’s why it might be worth learning to love camping holidays after all.

1. It’s really cheap
We’re guessing most of you would stay in the Bates Motel just to see something other than your living rooms right now, and the rustic self-sufficiency of camping makes even Airbnb look like wanton decadence.

A word of warning – do not skimp on your tent. A good one will last you generations; a bad one will come askew in the night and need to be retrieved from a nearby bush.

2. It feels adventurous, even though it’s not really
There’s something delightfully ‘man vs nature’ about camping, even if you’ve got memory foam sleeping mats and the bathroom block has hot showers. Watch your back Bear Grylls, after surviving a week in a tent, we can do anything.

3. Nature is good for you
From sunshine and fresh air to the proven positives of greenery, booking some time with Mother Nature provides a mental and physical boost. Modern wellness is full of phrases like ‘clean sleeping’, ‘digital detox’ and ‘forest bathing’, and camping can serve up the lot. You don’t even have to fork over your savings to Gwyneth Paltrow.

4. Modern camping can be pretty cushy
Once upon a time, camping meant huddling around a sputtering stove beneath a single sheet of plastic, reminiscing dreamily about the last time you showered. Now the ‘glamping’ era has brought space heaters, espresso machines, and marquees in which each occupant gets their own room.

5. It’s great for couples and families
There’s nothing like spending a week together in a glorified canvas sack for forced family bonding, and we are yet to find a child that cannot extract hours of joy from a sleeping bag.

Camping is also a good break of choice for young, urban couples, and starry skies and songbirds make a beguiling change from streetlights and sirens.

6. You can bring your pets
Dogs enjoy walk, and there’s something especially cruel about shoving them into storage while you enjoy their natural habitat. Now, if only there was a kennel for the kids …

7. If you have a bad time, it’s probably your fault
Most of the horror stories you hear about camping are the product of poor judgement. Pitch your tent at the bottom of a slope, you’ll get wet when the rain rolls in. Watch the Blair Witch Project on your iPad, you probably won’t sleep well. Leave food outside your tent, the animal invasion will be swift and merciless. Out in the wild, bad choices are punished. It’s the only way you’ll learn.

Do you enjoy camping? Where have you camped in Australia?

– With PA

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YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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