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How to Be a Happier Camper

Instagram and TikTok make camping look like the perfect vacation. From stunning sunsets and epic hikes to s’mores and campfires, camping can be a wonderful experience. However, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Frequently things happen to make camping less fun. If you want to be a happy camper, here are a few tips to reduce stress and embrace the moment. Let’s dive in!

Mortons on the Move and friends happy while drinking wine while camping.
Yes this was a real moment camping along a lake in New Zealand. Thinking back on moments like this make us so happy.

What Are the Benefits of Camping?

People go camping for many reasons. Some want to escape technology and unplug for the weekend. Others want to reconnect with nature through hiking, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. Some families like to spend more quality time free from tablets, phones, emails, and work calls.

Being in nature can also have health benefits. You’re breathing in the fresh air and absorbing more Vitamin D. You generally exercise more with outdoor recreational activities. Often, your mood improves, and you feel an overall sense of happiness. Most people are less stressed because they’re away from technology and work responsibilities.

For us camping literally changed our lives for the better, and we highly recommend everyone hit the road and get out in nature. Exploring new places, meeting different people, and having different experiences will make you a more rounded, happy person.

Is Camping for Everyone?

However, even with all the benefits, camping isn’t for everyone. Some people don’t like to deal with bugs. Others don’t want to go without certain conveniences. Campsites can be a chore to set up and tear down. There are many tasks for setting up a tent and preparing for a weekend of outdoor cooking. Even with RVing, there’s a long to-do list that can make camping less comfortable.

We, however, think that embracing the difficulties and overcoming the challenges is part of the benefits, however. Pushing through the difficult usually yields something amazing. I won’t lie that the thought of packing up and traveling to a difficult location has been less than ideal at times. However, looking back on every camping experience, I would not give them up for anything. The stories alone are well worth the strife.

Happy campers standing in front of family RV
Camping isn’t for everyone, but there are small changes you can make to ensure a happier camping experience.

If Camping Is So Great, Why Am I Not Always Happy?

For those who love camping, you may wonder why you’re not experiencing those blissful feelings we mentioned earlier. If you’re not enjoying the lifestyle, there may be a few reasons you’re not a happy camper. Lets take a look at a few of the most common things we hear people complain about camping.

I Feel Rushed

Because you’re only gone for a weekend, you may feel rushed to pack, head down the road, and unpack again. Once you’re there, you may feel like you only have a day to enjoy camping before you have to pack everything up and head home. This feeling of being rushed can take away from the enjoyable moments of the weekend.

Happy Campers
We have been camping all over the world and found many ways to make it more enjoyable!

The Bugs Are Constant

Even with bug spray, you can’t get over all the bugs. You feel like your tent or RV is swarming with them. You’re constantly swatting them away or slapping at them, and this can take the fun out of an afternoon hike or evening campfire.

I Feel Like I Have to Always Entertain

If you have kids, you might feel like you have to find something for them to do all day long. When technology is away, your kids may look at you and ask what they’re supposed to do. You’re constantly searching online for family games or checking the campground itinerary for daily activities. Although the gadgets are gone, you’re responsible for the entertainment.

Pro Tip: Camping isn’t for everyone, but if you want to encourage your loved ones to enjoy it, use these 11 Ways to Make Camping Easier for People Who Don’t Like It.

Mortons on the Move and friends posing in front of campsite.
Camping doesn’t need to be boring, but if you always feel the pressure to entertain it can make your trip less relaxing.

Campgrounds Are Full and Busy

Do you remember when camping used to be relaxing and laid back? You never had to make a reservation because you pulled in and asked for a campsite for the weekend. Times have changed, and now you have to plan and deal with crowded campgrounds. You want to escape life’s daily stressors but encounter different stress with dogs barking, kids yelling, and neighbors playing loud music.

I’m Always Doing RV Maintenance and Repair

If you have an RV, you know that regular maintenance is key to the longevity of your rig. However, you can feel like you’re continuously checking lug nuts, tightening screws, resealing corners, and more. This can take the joy away from the camping experience. You’d rather lay in a hammock and read a book than sweat on the roof.

I’m Always Spending Money

Camping can be expensive. You have to pay the nightly fees at the campground. There are costs for fuel, camping gear, accessories, and repair work. You have to pay for local attractions. It’s challenging to relax when you’re thinking about how much this weekend camping trip is costing you.

Happy campers making coffee in the morning in front of tent
Whether you’re tent or RV camping, your adventure should be relaxing and enjoyable.

Tips to Be a Happier Camper

To help you be a happier camper and enjoy the camping lifestyle, here are a few tips. These suggestions will also help combat the complaints and struggles we listed above. From buying effective bug repellants and planning to stick to your budget, all these tips will get you on your way to becoming a happy camper.

Arrive Early

Sometimes when you work from Monday-Friday, arriving early isn’t an option. But for the weekends when you can take off early, try to do so. Arriving early eliminates the rushed feeling of trying to get everything done quickly so you can enjoy what’s left of the weekend. If you’re going from one campground to another, leave in the morning before lunch, so you have ample time to arrive at your next destination. This will help you to not feel rushed, and ensure you won’t have to hurry. Driving while hurried can lead to severe consequences.

Leave While Everyone Still Wants to Be There

This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. You want to leave while everyone is still having a good time because they’ll be excited to return. If you wait until you feel camping fatigue, you will leave your trip with a negative feeling instead of a positive one. That will be the lasting memory of the weekend. To be a happy camper, head out while everyone still enjoys the experience.

Plan For Bugs

This is an absolute must to enjoy camping. First we recommend looking at the places you want to go camping and planning it during the correct time. Most places only have really bad bugs during parts of the year. Wet seasons tend to bring lots more bugs so learn about the weather and read reviews from the areas.

If you cant avoid them, we highly recommend treating your clothing or buying bug repellant clothing. Picaridin sprays work very well and should always be available when camping. You’ll be a happier camper when you aren’t miserable swatting at mosquitoes and scratching your legs the entire weekend.

Carve Out “Me” Time

Even if traveling with kids or a partner, you must be intentional about carving out “me” time to enjoy the camping experience. A happy camper needs solitude to relax and recharge. Maybe it’s a morning walk alone. It could be a couple of hours paddling down a river alone. You could sit by the campfire reading a book. Whatever brings you joy, ensure you have time to do it. Don’t try only to make everyone else happy.

Plan Ahead

Similar to arriving early, planning ahead will save you some headaches. If you want to take a summer camping trip to the beach while the kids are out of school, you’ll want to make reservations well ahead of time to get a good campsite. Planning ahead will also save you money. Instead of going out to eat because you don’t know what you want for dinner, meal plan for the week and then go to the grocery store.

You might miss out on activities if you don’t plan. For example, some hikes or drives in different national parks require reservations. If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll miss out on spectacular views and memory-making adventures. Traveling during the peak seasons can be stressful, ensure you can be a happier camper during those times by making plans.

Pro Tip: Not all national parks require reservations, but we took a closer look at one that does. Can you guess which one it is?

Two women leaning out RV window happily
Escape to the outdoors and enjoy a stress-free camping experience.

Camp in Shoulder Season

If planning isn’t your cup of tea, you probably want to stick with camping in the shoulder season. Avoid high peak season with high prices, more traffic, and crowded campgrounds. Camping while things are less stressful makes everyone happier. Hiking trails aren’t as busy, making last-minute reservations easier, and you’re less likely to camp on top of your neighbor.

Stick to Your Budget

Because camping can be expensive, this can add stress to the experience. Be a happy camper by making a budget and sticking to it. If you have a $500 weekly budget, determine how much you will spend on campground fees, eating out, and fuel. Then figure out how much you have left to spend on fun activities like amusement parks, theater shows, or concerts. This will relieve stress and help you not feel like you’re constantly spending money.

Practice Regular Maintenance

If you feel like you’re always working on the RV, follow a regular maintenance schedule. Maybe every Thursday, you do something specific to preventative care. Perhaps the first day of every month, you work on your RV. Set a schedule that you can maintain. This will keep your RV in good working condition and allow you to keep up with regular maintenance tasks without feeling like you’re always tackling a project.

Be a Happier Camper With These Tips

Bugs, repairs, weather, costs, and more can make anyone feel like camping isn’t enjoyable. But it shouldn’t be stressful. When you escape to the outdoors, you’re supposed to relax, connect with nature, and make memories. Follow these tips to be a happy camper the next time you hit the road.

Do you have any suggestions that you would add to the list? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

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