Camping is typically described as an “outdoor activity,” but is it a hobby?
Yes, we think so.
And many other people would probably agree.
Why is camping considered a hobby?
A hobby is any activity that you do regularly and enjoy for the sake of the activity itself.
So, if you go camping at least once or twice a year, and you actually really like camping, then you could consider it a hobby.
That said, camping isn’t necessarily a hobby for everyone.
If you only go once in a blue moon, perhaps as part of a family or social event, and you don’t really like camping (but are happy to support the people you love who do), then it probably isn’t much a hobby for you.
You don’t have to be an expert outdoorsman/woman to enjoy the camping hobby
One thing many people don’t realize about their favourite activities is that they don’t necessarily need to be extremely knowledgeable, experienced, skilled, or talented to be able to call them hobbies.
That’s really the beauty of hobbies—they give you an opportunity to learn.
You also don’t have to love everything about camping
Not all hobbies are meant to be enjoyable all the time.
Because they often involve a good deal of learning, they can also be challenging, which can make you feel frustrated, disappointment, anxious, or overwhelmed.
Camping can be hard.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve broken down in tears over inclement weather, an intimidating canoe portage, a camp recipe gone wrong, or disagreement and impatience with my husband and camp partner Ross.
But I still love camping and consider it to be one of my favourite hobbies.
16 reasons camping is one of the best hobbies you can have
Anyone who’s interested in camping should definitely give it a go if they’ve never tried it before.
Here’s why it could turn into a favourite hobby you’ll never get tired of!
1. Camping is a form of escape from everyday life
Our day-to-day lives are busy, stressful, and full of modern day luxuries like smartphones, laptops, TVs, kitchen appliances, and all sorts of other things.
When you go camping, all of that gets left behind and replaced with a simpler way of life.
Instead of thinking about answering emails or putting another load of laundry in the washing machine, you only have to think about the bare basics—mainly shelter, food, water, and sleep.
The rest of your time can be spent however you want.
Your modern day obligations and responsibilities essentially melt away as you immerse yourself in this new and simpler way of life.
2. Camping involves new experiences
Speaking of everyday modern life, things can definitely feel monotonous at times.
Camping is the perfect way to break away from your daily routine and experience life in totally new ways.
You can explore different areas, try out unique campfire recipes, learn how to thrive in challenging conditions, or just relax and take in the beauty of nature—all things that you’re less likely to do at home.
3. Camping forces you to be more present and engaged in what you’re doing
It isn’t as easy to zone out when you’re camping because you’re in a new and unfamiliar environment, doing new and unfamiliar things.
Your mind is literally forced to pay attention to the sights and sounds of nature, or the task at hand (such as setting up camp, building a fire, cooking, etc).
You can also use camping as an opportunity to practice mindfulness—slowing down, being aware of your thoughts, breathing deeply, and savouring the moment.
4. Camping challenges you in new and meaningful ways
Camping is a hobby, but isn’t always a cake walk.
It often involves physical exertion, learning new skills, problem solving, decision making, and dealing with unpredictable weather.
But dealing with these challenges can help you learn more about yourself and the environment you’re in.
They can educate and humble you in ways that you never expected.
At the end of it all, you’ll come out a better and more enlightened person with a greater appreciation for what it takes to live in closer alignment with nature.
5. Camping gives you the opportunity to develop your skills
Since the camping hobby involves a lot of manual labour, you can expect to apply yourself both mentally and physically.
From learning how to set up a tent, to cooking over a campfire, camping is an experience that will test both your body and mind.
You can also use this time to hone existing skills (like processing firewood) or find new ones that you never knew you had (like orienteering or wildcrafting).
6. Camping is a great way to spend time with loved ones
Camping is an excellent hobby you can do to spend quality time with your family, friends, or significant other.
It provides a unique opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and just enjoy each other’s company in a different setting.
Without the distractions of technology, you’re better able to connect with each other and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.
You’ll also have to work together to get camp chores done, which will test everybody’s skills in communication, teamwork, and patience.
7. Camping can be incredibly rewarding
Although you don’t have to have any real goal in mind for any camping trip, it can be useful to have something to strive for.
Maybe you want to reach the summit of a mountain, build a bushcraft shelter, or just be able to say that you spent a night out in the backcountry for the very first time.
Whatever it is, having something to aim for is incredibly rewarding and can help motivate you to go on more camping trips.
Rewards can also take you by surprise, such as spotting wildlife or witnessing the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen.
These small moments of joy and fulfillment is what makes camping truly special.
8. Camping can help you grow as a person
The best hobbies are the ones that help us grow into our full potential, and camping is definitely one of them.
It encourages self-reliance, builds confidence, teaches problem-solving skills, and helps you cultivate an appreciation for nature.
Even if you mistakes, you’ll still come out better than when you started.
At the end of each trip, you’ll be a new and improved version of yourself.
9. Camping is good for your mental and physical health
Most hobbies involve some degree of mental or physical work, but camping involves both!
Instead of sitting around on the couch or in your office chair all day, you’ll be forced to move your body the way it was meant to move—by walking, hiking, lifting, stretching, carrying, squatting, climbing, swimming, processing firewood, and more.
These activities can help you challenge your strength, endurance, and flexibility.
As far as mental health goes, the benefits are twofold.
On the one hand, you get to disconnect from your regular life and enjoy a sense of escapism—on the other hand, you’re challenged to stay present and engaged in the task at hand.
You may find that you feel calmer, more relaxed, less anxious, and happier overall.
10. Camping requires constant learning
As with all hobbies, you never stop learning when you go camping.
Since every camping trip is a unique experience with its own set of challenges, you’ll always have something new to learn—or at the very least, you’ll be presented with new ways to test your existing knowledge and skills.
The environment is always changing, and even if you have a favourite camp spot you regularly visit, you’ll be surprised at how different each visit may be.
Just when you think you’ve mastered a certain skill, location, or weather event, you can expect to be presented with a new challenge that requires new lessons to be learned.
11. Camping is a great way to recharge
It’s a lot of work to go camping, but as long as you know your limits and understand how to strike a good balance between rest and activity, it can be a great way to recharge your batteries.
Take the time to unplug from technology and all your responsibilities back home to reconnect with nature.
Use this opportunity to clear your head and take a break from all the stress of everyday life.
The fresh air, spectacular views, peaceful atmosphere—all these things come together to refresh your mind, relax your body, and renew your spirit.
12. Camping is a general hobby with a subset of more specialized interests
One of the best things about camping is that it isn’t a standalone hobby.
It’s more of an umbrella hobby that allows you to enjoy all sorts of related hobbies like hiking, backpacking, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, mountain biking, nature photography, bushcraft, and more.
For instance, we love camping, but we especially love canoe camping, which allows us to develop our paddling and navigation skills in all sorts of different bodies of water and conditions.
We also love fishing, and since we often spend much of our camping trips traveling by canoe, we can combine these hobbies into one amazing adventure!
13. Camping can be as affordable or as expensive as you want
Beyond that, you can make do with common household items (like flashlights, matches, and cookware) and perhaps a few inexpensive camp-specific necessities (like a tarp, a hacksaw, and some extra rope).
This makes it perfect for beginners who aren’t sure how much they’ll like the hobby or people on strict budgets.
You can get everything from high-end tents and stoves to luxury sleeping bags and camp chairs.. and everything in between.
It’s up to you on how much you want to invest in extra tools and gear to make your camping experience your own.
14. Camping is great for people of all ages, of all skill levels, from all walks of life
Since there are so many different types of camping and ways to camp, it’s the perfect hobby for almost anyone.
Older adults, young children, babies, pets, and people with disabilities can safely camp as long as the trip is tailored to their needs and preferences.
Experienced campers can push their skills to the limit and challenge themselves in more extreme environment, while novices can start out small with a single overnight car camping trip.
No matter who you are or where you’re from, camping is an activity that is open to all!
15. Camping can be enjoyed all over the world in all sorts of different environments
From deserts and mountains, to forests and beaches—camping can be done no matter where you live.
You can find campsites in national parks, state parks, private campgrounds, backcountry sites, and even on public land that’s open for dispersed camping.
Each type of environment offers its own unique challenges as well as different opportunities for exploring nature.
As long as you’re prepared for the climate, weather, and terrain of the area, you can take your camping experience just about anywhere.
16. Camping never goes out of style
People have been camping for centuries out of necessity for travel, and now, it ‘s enjoyed by millions of people all over the world for recreation.
It’s one of those hobbies that is timeless, and is constantly evolving with advances in technology, gear, and location options.
As our lives become increasingly hectic and demanding, it’s no wonder that camping is becoming a more popular hobby.
The need to reconnect with nature is essential to our well-being, which is why camping will never die.
The best hobbies never do!
Next up: Why is camping so exhausting?
Elise is an experienced backcountry canoe tripper and winter camper from Ontario, Canada. She loves cooking up a storm over the campfire, taking in all the backcountry views, and enjoying a piña colada or two while relaxing at camp. She’s also certified in Whitewater Rescue (WWR) I & II and Wilderness First Aid (WFA).