Why You Should Go Camping At Least Once

One of my earliest memories is of me sitting in the back of my family’s old van with my mother and younger sister, eating a Tim Hortons bagel and drenched to the bone. The rain was thundering against the roof of the car in an angry, ceaseless rhythm. I peered out the window, watching as my father scrambled to take down our leaky tent in the two feet of rain that had swamped our campsite overnight. It was a quiet ride home, as nobody was in the mood to make idle conversation. Though it took a little while, the sour expression on my father’s face when discussing our night began to disappear. This soon became a staple of our family lore– the infamous Pinery flood that washed away all our firewood, in addition to all the stress that went alongside it.

I know what you’re thinking: this is probably not selling you. But hear me out. I’ve gone camping every summer for as long as I’ve been walking; though I’m far from a wilderness buff, I can’t deny that these trips have curled its roots around every branch of summer and have had a profound effect on who I am today.

Situations like these may seem stressful while you’re in them, yet, they ultimately become some of the most colourful memories in the fabrics of our lives. Not to mention, the stories they create are always ones that you can look back on and laugh about. Here are a few reasons why I think everyone should experience camping at least once.

1. You can experience your own country in a different way

We’re lucky enough to live in a country known for its lush forests and expansive bodies of water– our nation’s natural diversity is a spectacular asset. Having the opportunity to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Canada is something that we should never take for granted.

2. It can help promote a sense of environmental accountability

If we become more aware of the connection between our actions and their environmental consequences and see exactly what we’re fighting to preserve, I believe that we’ll be more likely to take action in reducing our ecological footprint.

3. It can benefit your mental health

Though I’m in no way claiming that being outdoors for a few days should replace therapy or medication, I do believe that stepping away from our screens, paved streets, and the constant bombardment of light can noticeably calm us. For me, being in nature is one of the purest forms of relaxation, and can aid in quieting my anxious, hyperactive brain just long enough to regain my bearings.

4. It can teach you things about yourself

You may just discover that you’re more capable than you think. I’ve been in a few camping situations where something hasn’t gone according to plan, whether it be while canoeing or hiking, or even just attempting to make a fire (it’s harder than it looks!). Ultimately, the fear of discouragement pays off when you resolve a challenge and finish feeling more confident in your own ability.

5. Nature is inspiring

If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, camping is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to rectify this. While the progression of new technology is amazing, I think we sometimes overlook the incredible balance in which earth operates, which is inspiring in and of itself.

So, if you’ve ever wondered whether camping is for you, I say try it! So many of my memories come from camping during those sluggish weeks in the heart of August, scored by a symphony of cicadas and sand-riddled hair– the same memories that are stained with campfire smoke and laughter and rain and scraped knees. Overall, these memories are integral to my being and have helped me gain perspective on the world as a whole.