Are you scared of the prospect of spending the night in “the great outdoors?” It can be a scary place full of unknown factors, moderate isolation, and just a thin tent between you and the world. The lack of electricity or immediate technology can seem hard to wrap one’s head around. And yet, maybe because your significant other or friend urges you to give it a try, you’re willing to. But, if you’re terrified of camping, I hope you’ll give it a try after you read this post.
How do you get over the Initial Fear of Camping?
It seems like it could be fun, but between your paranoia and scary news stories and horror movies, you don’t know how to get over your fear of going camping.
Believe me, I understand. I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy being outside overnight, my first time camping, either. You see, my family isn’t very outdoorsy. I remember going on exactly one camping trip when I was a child – other than girl scout camps (when we slept in cozy cabins), that is.
This one camping trip my family and I went on was to a nearby campsite with all the amenities available that we could need. One night, we stayed in a cabin because it was raining really hard, but the next night we slept in the tents we had just bought a few days prior.
My brother wanted to give camping a try, but none of us were sure what to expect or if we’d enjoy the experience. Once I got over my initial fear of spending time in the great outdoors, I wanted to enjoy more of it. Although I didn’t end up camping again with my family, I did enjoy several backcountry camping trips with my friends.
A few of the general areas where people are terrified about camping:
-Basic facilities: showers, washrooms, etc
-Bears and other animals
-Uncomfortable sleeping arrangement
Suggestions for Newbies who are Terrified about Camping
Keep these simple rules of thumb in mind
- Most animals don’t want to mess with you because you seem like a giant to them.
- Animals just want food. If you leave food smell all over your campsite they will find it. Cook away from your campsite (about 30 feet or so if possible). Don’t store any food in your tent.
- There are very few poisonous insects or animals in the US/Canada. It will be very rare for you to see them ever.
- There are some ugly, large insects that come out at night, like cicadas, but they won’t hurt you.
- Enjoy the night. Don’t fear it. Look for fireflies. Catch them in a jar then release them before you go to bed. They are blinking because they are amorous. Embrace the dark sky and be grateful for the chance to see the stars away from the light pollution in and around cities.
- Find ways YOU can have fun and enjoy stuff without electricity. Bring a paper book, cards, a journal, and games. Don’t forget headlamps and lanterns!
- Take note of what scares you specifically, then learn the facts. You probably have fears just because you lack experience with camping.
- Try a bigger tent, not a tiny one – claustrophobia is a bad thing. I suffer from this and hated camping in the middle of nowhere after a day of hiking, needing to sleep in a tiny, but a lightweight tent. The rule of thumb is to take the rating of the tent and subtract 1 for the number of people it sleeps comfortably. If it’s a 3-person tent, then it’ll be fine for two people plus a daypack or two with gear and clothes.
- Get a cheap air mattress for a comfy night’s sleep and bring your own pillow and sheets from home. Even with a good sleeping bag, the sheets and pillow make it more comfortable, and the smell of them will help you relax.
- Take a shower if possible before you go to bed. Sleeping clean is much more comfortable than when you’re sweaty.
If you want to ease yourself into camping, try camping close to home in a drive-up campsite with shower, washroom, and other facilities nearby. Some campsites even have laundry services and swimming pools! You can rough it as much or as little as you want. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun experience! I would encourage you to experience the joys of camping.