I mentioned last week that I am fairly new to the world of backpacking. It was only four short years ago that I donned my hiking boots and pack for the first time, and set out on adventure that would truly change my life (as grandiose as that may sound, it really has). Before that period in my life, my relationship with the outdoors was tenuous at best, and spending a weekend sleeping in a tent would not have made the list of desirable activities in my book.
Obviously, quite a bit has changed since that point, but you may be surprised to learn that I am still evolving as an outdoor person. For example, it has only been recently that I’ve come around to car camping.
Even after picking up backpacking, I was reluctant to just camp for any period of time. If we weren’t strapping a pack on and hiking in several miles, I had no interest in it. Sitting in the woods with nothing to do or focus on for days at a time? No, thank you. Recently, however, I’ve had a change of heart, and I’m happy to pitch my tent just about any time.
I think there’s a lot of backpackers that feel the same way. I’ve heard more than a few argue that unless they’re seriously roughing it deep in the backcountry, they might as well be warm in their own beds. Here’s a few reasons why I think those people are missing out!
1. Relaxing is underrated.
Part of the reason why I’ve always avoided car camping is I get bored easily. I need something occupying my time, and, while I love to read, sitting in the same spot with that has my only option for multiple days has been hard for me to wrap my head around in the past. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting old, but I’m starting to get the appeal of a hammock, a book, and nowhere to be. In fact, John and I are getting so into that picture, we’ve decided future backpacking trips will have an off day built-in.
2. Packing is not stressful.
There is something that is enormously appealing to me about living off of only what you can carry on your back, but sometimes it’s difficult to whittle your life down to the essentials. A car, on the other hand, is a lot more space to work with!
3. The food is way better!
I actually don’t mind backpacking food, and happily sustain myself on it for days on end. Hey, anything tastes good after a full day of hiking! It can’t take the place, however, of burgers on the grill or hot dogs cooked over an open fire. I’ve even had the pleasure of pancakes, bacon, eggs, and biscuits all cooked on a camp stove before. That would be a little hard to achieve in the backcountry!
4. You can get comfortable.
This goes hand in hand with the packing advantage. Weather calling for a chilly evening? No problem-throw in an extra sleeping bag. Dropping below freezing? Forget the extra bag-sleep in the car! And let’s no forget bringing along your pillow. Pillows=happiness.
I’m pretty over the using the bathroom in the backcountry issue. In fact, on more than one occasion I would have rather done my business in the great outdoors rather than use some of the public restrooms I’ve been in. However, some people aren’t quite as open about nature calling, and definitely appreciate the use of some facilities no matter how primitive!
Don’t get me wrong-I think I’ll always be a backcountry girl at heart, but there are some compelling reasons to give car camping a try. John and I have plans to do just that this weekend, and I’m going to enjoy every minute swaying in my hammock!