Thursday, June 12, 2014

10 Reasons Backpacking is WAY Awesomer Than Car Camping

Why backpacking is better than car camping
Camping is awesome. Fresh air. Sitting around a fire. Sleeping under the stars. The soothing sounds of birds, frogs, and crickets interspersed with the monotonous industrial hum of RV generators powering flat screen televisions and portable speakers blaring pop country radio. Wait. That last part isn't so awesome. Sometimes a campground feels more like a temporary trailer park (because it is) than a nature experience, especially during the most crowded summer months. If you simply want to have a bonfire party in a public setting, car camping can still be awesome even amongst screaming kids, crappy stereos, and golf cart racers. If you want to chill out or have a more private party while genuinely enjoying the wilderness, there is no comparison between car camping and backpacking. The latter is way more awesomer. Here are 10 reasons why (though only one is needed - skinny dipping!):

  1. You experience solitude. There is nothing more soul nourishing than hanging out in the wilderness alone or with a small group of close friends. Once you settle in to the backcountry, eventually you will discover that all the stress you didn't even know you were carrying begins to fade away.
  2. You can skinny dip.  Being naked in water in nature is undeniably glorious. 
  3. You unplug (and recharge).  The incessant urge or need to check emails, status updates, tweets, pins, etc. is relentless for many of us. Taking the opportunity to actually sit with your own thoughts and experience your immediate surroundings is not only replenishing, but it also reconnects you with your natural creativity.
  4. You get better views. More often than not, the most beautiful and scenic areas of any park or public land is found miles past a trailhead, not a few paces from a parking lot.
  5. You get in shape. Before treadmills, stairmasters, elliptical machines, and the like, there was just Earth. It, too, can make your body look and feel great when explored - (especially with 15-40 lbs. on your back.)
  6. You build confidence. Knowing that you can walk into the woods with nothing but a sack on your back and not only survive but enjoy yourself is, by far, the most confidence boosting endeavor I've ever undertaken.  
  7. You lose clutter. When you have to walk miles, often up and down mountain ranges, over creeks, streams, and rivers, you learn quickly to ditch what you don't need and only carry the essentials. In a world awash in unneeded "STUFF," this is a wonderful feeling and an even better life lesson.
  8. You build emergency/survival skills. You don't have to be a semi-paranoid nut job worried about the collapse of civilization (like the author of this post can sometimes be) to appreciate the survival and emergency skills backpacking teaches. Simply knowing how to purify water, build a fire, stay warm, and stay dry might be useful during a power outage, flood, or other mild disaster situation. 
  9. You see more wildlife. While most of us don't want to see a bear rummaging through our tent, we might enjoy seeing one from a safe distance. Whether a moose, deer, otter, elk, eagle, or some other furry/feathered friend, it is always a thrill to see animals in the wild. The backcountry is where this happens. 
  10. You take a vanity vacation. Leave the makeup and grooming kit at home and enjoy just being a human with human smells and natural beauty for a short spell. You might be surprised to find you feel attractive in ways you haven't experienced before. 

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