Full disclaimer: I love camping, but I didn’t always. Sadly, I didn’t even realize that I could be remotely outdoorsy until I left Washington, DC for Washington State. I now love hiking and camping – it’s hard not to if you live somewhere as beautiful as the Pacific Northwest!
I only agreed to try camping for the first time in 2015 after my boyfriend begged me to check out North Cascades National Park with him. As a former city girl, I had no idea how I would manage without a shower or flush toilet.
I did my best to prepare for my trip by packing a hammock, tons of books, and wine to get me through the weekend. I did the same on our next three camping trips before it dawned on me that I actually like camping *cue identity crisis*.
The following things helped make camping more tolerable, even for a city girl like me:
Pack an air mattress and your favorite sheets. Invest in some comfortable camping furniture or a portable hammock. Don’t buy a tent that’s too small for your group. Check out some glamping hacks (these are some of my faves). If you’re doing something you don’t enjoy, the last thing you want to be is uncomfortable. Don’t worry about overpacking or looking like a wuss. Skimping on creature comforts can ruin any camping trip.
Before I realized I actually enjoy the outdoors, there was only one thing I enjoyed about camping – the food, of course! S’mores are a camping favorite but there are tons of other fun campfire recipes. If you drink, bring plenty of beer, liquor, wine, or whatever your drink of choice is! Even if you hate camping, drinking and eating around a campfire under the stars is pure bliss.
Use Camping to Practice Mindfulness
Camping somewhere without cell reception used to be my idea of hell. I now cherish the time spent away from screens. Camping can be the perfect time to decompress and reconnect with yourself. I always bring my yoga mat and download guided meditations when I camp. There’s no better backdrop than the forest for meditating or practicing yoga. Don’t forget your journal either! There’s a something incredibly relaxing about journaling outdoors.
Bring Reading Materials
I always load my Kindle Paperwhite with plenty of books to get me through the weekend. Usually, I bring a paperback or two as a back-up, since e-readers can die or get damaged. If camping isn’t your forte, it can be a great time to catch up on reading with limited distractions.
You are not going to look cute when camping. The sooner you accept that, the better! There are, however, ways to make it less apparent you haven’t showered in days.
For starters, I always pack a hat. My hair starts to look oily if I don’t wash it everyday and a hat is the best way to disguise this. During my backpacking days, I wouldn’t go anywhere without travel-size dry shampoo. It’s a godsend when you can’t shower daily. I also always bring tea tree oil wipes to use on my face and body!
Plan Things to Do
Do some research on the surrounding area to see if there’s anything nearby that interests you. This could include things like hiking trails, restaurants, zip lining, scenic drives, and viewpoints. If you have your own gear like paddle boards, kayaks, or bikes, be sure to bring them with you! Board games or card games can also help the time pass quickly.
Do you hate camping? What are your favorite hacks? I’m always looking for new ideas!