The Importance of Camping

Camping is a great way to practice survival skills

What is the one activity that best prepares you for any survival situation? I think that the answer is camping. If you are getting involved in anything survival-related, this is the one task that I believe gives you the most value out of the time invested.

This is why.

For Starters, Camping Teaches You How to Eat Off-Grid.

You no longer have a refrigerator or freezer with you. You now have to figure out how you will cook your food, what food is easy to cook off-grid, and what equipment is necessary while learning the nuances involved with the craft.

There is a world of difference between cooking in the kitchen and cooking in the woods. If you find yourself running through the backcountry after a hurricane destroys your home, will you know what it takes to cook the food you have in your bug-out bag?

And even then, camping teaches you what food performs well in a bug-out bag. If you’ve packed a bunch of bananas, a pound of ground beef, and a vat of cottage cheese, you’ll quickly discover that these are not good backpackable foods. But if you have experience with camping, you’ll know just what to have packed and how to prepare it best.

Sleeping in the woods can take some getting used tortant skill you can learn while camping

Camping Teaches You How to Sleep in the Woods

I’m convinced that this is a teachable skill set. It takes time for the body to adjust to not sleeping on a cushy mattress. What doesn’t take time is realizing that sleeping in the woods is miserable without the right gear and proper setup.

Camping will teach you what both of these are. You learn the importance of a high-quality sleeping pad. You learn what sleeping bag setup works for you and what doesn’t. Can you tolerate a mummy-style bag, or do your legs need more freedom?

You learn what it takes to stay warm as you sleep and what only leads to being miserable. You realize what an animal sounds like in the woods at night, acquiring discernment over what is just a big bug hopping through the leaves and what is a valid threat. These are all traits you won’t pick up on unless you have some camping experience under your belt.

Camping Teaches You to Adjust to Nature

Camping forces you to adjust to nature. Your sleep schedule will change to accommodate the sun. You learn not to force things. If you can’t safely get from here to there, you just don’t get there. There are no planes or helicopters to take you over where you need to go in a hurry.

You learn to adjust to what life throws at you. Is it pouring rain? Then your daily activities are going to change. Are the mosquitoes awful? Then, once again, you will be forced to make decisions. Being out in the elements causes you to realize the full extent of what nature can throw at you, helping you make wiser decisions should you be tossed into a survival situation later.

Firemaking is an important skill you can learn while camping

Camping Teaches You How to Make Fire

Even if you’re using a Zippo, a bit of skill is still required for building and maintaining a campfire. You must know how to get a little fire to become a big one. You have to learn when to feed the flames and when they have the possibility of growing too large. You learn what tinder works and what doesn’t. You learn the amount of heat you can expect from a particular fire.

You learn how to cook better with flames, what causes a fire to suffocate, and the importance of oxygen to a campfire. You learn what it takes to put out a fire properly so that you don’t end up causing a massive forest fire.

Fire is a vital tool for survival, and camping forces you to become proficient in it to some degree.

Camping Teaches You How to Stay Warm

While somewhat tied to fire-making, camping also teaches you the importance of knowing how to stay warm. In modern society, this skill has largely been lost. We tend to think that you just stay inside or throw on a coat.

But when camping, you learn that you need to know the best tricks to stay warm as you sleep. You learn what gear helps you stay warm in a world without electricity. You learn what fibers make for the best insulative clothing. You learn the importance of staying dry and out of the wind.

All of this is vital survival knowledge that, at face level, many “know,” but until you go out to camp and experience this knowledge first-hand, you’ll never truly know what this all means.

Camping Teaches You How to Live Without Electricity

At least to some extent, anyway. You may still have your battery-operated devices while you’re out in the woods, but even then, camping teaches you what it takes to keep those devices running off-grid, should they indeed be necessary.

The world is different without electricity. You no longer have any type of climate control. If it’s hot outside, you’re hot too. You can’t just flip a switch to make heat if it’s cold. If it’s dark outside, you learn what you need to do to cope. What are you going to do about entertainment? There are no TVs, no internet, and no streaming services.

Camping forces you to reckon with all of this.

One Night Out Camping Provides Hours of Survival “Practice.”

The cool thing about this is that it’s scalable as well. If you’re new to camping, all you have to do is spend a night in a tent in your backyard. You’ll still learn stuff. Have you been camping your whole life? Then you can go on a long backpacking trip to learn what it takes to survive in the wild with nothing but what you can carry.

You can change the intensity of your camping trip to better suit where you are currently at, survival-wise. And, again, you’ll still learn things with every trip. You’ll better learn your gear, better learn yourself, and better learn the tips and tricks of survival.

But that’s just my two cents. What are yours? Let me know below.

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Percy Matthews

Percy Matthews

3 Comments

  1. Kevin on August 26, 2022 at 11:36 am

    Great analysis of camping. Been doing it for decades.

  2. Fabian Ommar on August 26, 2022 at 10:05 pm

    I agree 110% with this, great article. I’ve been camping since very young age too, and you do learn to live off-grid and deal with discomfort, improvisation, and being an independent, self reliant ‘unit’. It’s fun even when it’s hard, and most of the time it’s hard. We need to be patient, observing, deliberate when doing everything. Time flows differently when camping.

    Along with backpacking and hiking, it’s also a great way to stay fit and clear the mind of the modern lifestyle and the excesses of technology and conveniences of “The Grid”. It’s an absolute joy to be immersed in the nature and dealing with natural resources, animals, the weather.

  3. White Rabbit on August 30, 2022 at 10:30 am

    We’re going camping this weekend for these very reasons — to live off grid, to hone skills, to try camping with just our bug out bags, and to feel and experience the “absolute joy to be immersed in the nature and dealing with natural resources, animals, the weather”, as Fabian so very aptly puts it!! 🙂
    Thanks, Brian, for another great article, encouraging others to get out there and live it, do it, experience it, and be ready!

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