6 Reasons You Hate Camping (and how to fix them)

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In this post, we’re tackling the common reasons that people say they hate camping, and more importantly, how to fix them! A lot of the reasons someone might hate camping are easily fixed or prevented.

why you hate camping thumbnail

If you have friends or family members that you want to go camping with, but they have some objections, this blog post will be helpful.

If you yourself tried camping and hated it, these camping tips will help you enjoy it more next time. Let’s dive into the list!

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6 Reasons You Hate Camping

#1 – You don’t plan appropriately

A good camping trip starts with a good plan!

Planning is not necessarily about creating some rigid, timed itinerary.

Instead, it’s about figuring out the who, what, when, and where of your trip.

You leave those details with several people back at home so someone always knows where you are. This is a good and easy safety habit to get into.

campsite in the national forest

Another reason to create a plan is it helps you adapt on the go if things don’t go the way that you’re expecting.

So many people just plan for the expected and not the unexpected, but a good plan assesses both. Now, you might be wondering: how do you plan for the unexpected?

It’s all about probability.

What are the most probable things that can go wrong on your camping trip, and what would you do if they happened?

For example, let’s say that you want to go to a specific campground and it’s a first-come, first-serve campground, so you can’t make reservations.

You have to hope you get there early enough to find a campsite before a bunch of other people get there.

What do you do if you get there and the campground is full? Do you have another area that you know you can go find camping?

When you plan appropriately at home, you can adapt quicker and easier on the go which reduces stress and frustration when you go camping.

unpacking camping gear

Planning at home and knowing the who, what, when, and where of your trip also helps you pack the correct camping gear and camping clothing.

Trips where you throw all your stuff in the car and go out on a whim generally don’t set you up for success, and at the very least create some tension and stress that is unnecessary.

Further Reading >> How to plan the perfect camping trip.

#2 – You’re unorganized

This is not meant to be a criticism.

If you’re new to camping, it’s hard to know what and how to organize, right?

You don’t have experience camping, so it’s very understandable to be a little unorganized and scattered with your gear when you’re first starting out.

I like to use clear bins to organize my camping kitchen gear and some of my food.

camping food bin at campsite

Having bins to organize your stuff makes things so much easier when you actually get to camp.

It’s super frustrating when you throw everything in the car and then you get to camp and don’t know where anything is.

Trust me, you’ll get unorganized and frustrated fast!

my camping pantry bin for storing food

Not only are bins great for organization, but they also make it really easy to set up camp when you arrive.

Instead of taking 20 trips back and forth from the car, you can take 2.

Further Reading >> How I organize my camping gear into bins.

#3 – You don’t have the right gear (or good gear)

Now, I want to be clear: good gear does not always mean the most expensive gear.

I do not think that you need to go out and spend 1000’s of dollars to get into camping, but there are some areas that you might want to prioritize to make your camping trip a lot more enjoyable.

One such area is your sleeping system – your sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and tent.

car camping tent setup

We’ve all had those nights at home where we just don’t sleep. It sucks laying there for hours tossing and turning.

Then, you finally get up in the morning and you have to go through your day really tired, groggy, and cranky. It’s just not fun.

If you go out camping and you don’t sleep well, that’s not fun either, so prioritizing a good sleep system is definitely worth it. I’d like to highlight the sleeping pad. A sleeping pad is both for comfort and insulation.

For car camping, when I drive my vehicle up to a campsite, I use the Exped MegaMat.

green Exped Megamat sleeping pad for camping

The Exped MegaMat is one of my favorite pieces of camping gear. It is SO comfortable.

It’s a very thick sleeping pad, making it great for side sleepers and keeping you warm on colder trips.

While it is a more expensive item, I think a good sleeping pad is totally worth the splurge.

The Right Gear:

Part of this mistake is not having the right gear for the area that you’re going.

The time of year, climate, elevation, and weather should all be considered when choosing what gear to pack for a trip.

#4 – You’re not comfortable slowing down

Our modern world is fast-paced.

From the moment we wake up, we usually have a ton of stuff to do, or we’re scrolling through Instagram, or checking the news.

All that stuff is stimulating and requires a lot of focus.

We’ve become very uncomfortable slowing down or not having a lot to do.

taking a photo outdoors

It can be uncomfortable at first to go camping, be somewhere without service, and be forced to slow down.

But here’s the thing – that slowness and that boredom are good. It gives your mind a much-needed break.

In one of my favorite books, The Comfort Crisis, there’s an entire section on boredom.

The author is interviewing a researcher who studies what’s going on in the brain when a person is feeling the discomfort of boredom.

Essentially, our brain has two modes – focused mode and unfocused mode.

relaxing in a hammock at camp

We spend so much of our lives in focused mode, whether it’s at work or scrolling on Instagram.

The research is showing that the unfocused mode is actually very good and important for the brain.

Its inward mind wandering, a rest state that restores and rebuilds the resources needed to work better and more efficiently in the focused state. Time in unfocused mode is critical to get shit done, tap into creativity, process complicated information, and more.

The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter

If you’re uncomfortable slowing down or being bored, there’s research to suggest that this unfocused mode is actually really good for you.

It helps you be more productive and creative when you’re working.

On a personal note, I always seem to get my best ideas when I’m out camping or hiking.

I return home with a lot of enthusiasm for my work and I’m definitely more focused and productive in the days following a camping trip.

#5 – You eat crappy food

Just because you’re out camping, does not mean that the food has to suck!

If I eat really heavy processed foods all day long, I don’t feel good.

I want you to eat some good food when you’re out camping, and I have all the recipes and resources you need to do just that!

grilled steak fajitas

If you’re brand new to camping or camp cooking, I made you a Camp Cooking Starter Kit that you can download below!

It has everything you need to get started including a meal planner, gear checklist, cooking tips, and easy recipes.

It doesn’t have to be complicated in order to be good. A lot of my meals are incredibly simple.

Camping Meal Ideas and Recipes:

One of my favorite parts about going camping is cooking outdoors and sharing those meals with friends and family in an undistracted environment.

It’s so special, and I really want you to have those moments and memories as well!

#6 – Camping is uncomfortable

One of the main reasons people say they hate camping is because it’s uncomfortable.

To this point, I will admit, yes, sometimes it is uncomfortable.

I don’t want to paint the picture that camping is always rainbows and unicorns and me just enjoying the sunshine in perfect, beautiful weather with no discomfort and no problems and no adversity.

It’s not always like that.

dead horse point in the rain in Utah

There are so many things that can derail your plan. Camping is not always easy. It’s not always comfortable, and that’s one of the reasons I like it.

I want to share a few ways that I reframe that discomfort.

I live in a comfortable condo. I have a temperature-controlled environment. It is very easy to go to the bathroom. I have food and water readily available.

These things are easy to take for granted because they’re part of your everyday life.

But when you go camping and you have to walk to the bathroom, you have to go fetch your water, deal with drastic temperature changes, and things are just a little bit harder, it puts everything you have back at home into perspective.

I become super grateful for the things that I do have in my ordinary everyday life.

women sitting around a campfire

Camping is like a reset button that helps me see how extraordinary that ordinary stuff is.

So in those moments of discomfort or inconvenience that I may experience while camping, I try to tell myself that the discomfort is good for me.

Exercise is a perfect example. When I go to the gym and do a workout, it’s not always comfortable. Sometimes it sucks because I can barely breathe and my muscles are burning.

But that discomfort is ultimately good for me. It makes me stronger and it builds mental resilience and confidence in myself.

I keep coming back for more because it’s more than just the physical workout. The same with camping. Camping reframes everything else in life. It can make you stronger, more grateful, and more resilient.

I try to embrace the discomfort as part of what makes camping so great.

Are you excited to go camping now? If this post was helpful, please leave me a comment below and share it with friends and family. Here’s to new outdoor memories!

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Camp Cooking Starter Kit

Printable camping recipes, a gear checklist, and a camping meal planner so you can go camping with confidence (and good food!)

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  1. While I actually love camping, I’m technically more of a glamper and travel full-time in our RV (I love having my kitchen and bathroom wherever we go). But I’m trying really hard to embrace “real camping” to get us to more amazing locations that our RV just won’t take us. I’ve put so many of your cooking ideas to good use already.
    One thing I can’t seem to get past is the bathroom subject, I’ve researched so many gadgets to help make me feel more comfortable but all seem like such a waste or GROSS. Any recommendations or advice you can share without it being weird or too personal?? TIA!

    1. Hi Jen! I’m guessing you’re talking about dispersed camping? I’m pretty minimalist when it comes to this stuff. For pee, I really like the Kula cloth. I use it hiking and car camping. There’s no garbage and it’s reusable. Then for #2, I use a shovel to dig a hole and I pack out my toilet paper in doggie bags. I have a small lightweight trowel for backpacking and a larger shovel for when I’m car camping just to make things a little easier. For other more sensitive environments where I can’t dig a hole, I use the go anywhere “wag-bags”. You can get a portable toilet seat to go with them. I’ve never tried the toilet seat, but it looks like a nice option for car camping. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions.

  2. You make some great points! Planning, organization and the right gear are key to every great trip. I’ve found a good nights sleep always makes everything better. I love me Exped MegaMat and I use it in the Born Outdoor Badger Bed. It protects my Megamat, keeps my bedding clean and it’s just comfortable. https://www.rei.com/product/215338/born-outdoor-badger-bed Keep up the great reviews!