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Camping is an activity that many people enjoy, but there is some debate over whether it should be considered a hobby.

This article will examine the key characteristics that define a hobby and look at how camping measures up.

Defining Hobby: What Makes An Activity A Hobby?

To determine if camping is a hobby, it helps to first establish what criteria make an activity a hobby. Here are some of the key defining features of hobbies:

  • Hobbies are activities people engage in for enjoyment and leisure. Hobbies are intrinsically rewarding and not done out of necessity.
  • Hobbies require active participation and often involve developing skills over time. There is a process of gaining knowledge and improving through practice.
  • Hobbies are recurring activities. They are pursuits people engage in repeatedly, not just one time.
  • Hobbies are discretionary. They are activities people choose to do in their free time, not something they have to do.
  • Hobbies are pursued with enthusiasm. Those who engage in hobbies find them interesting, stimulating, and satisfying.

Based on these criteria, an activity that people voluntarily engage in regularly to gain enjoyment and satisfaction can be considered a hobby. Evaluating how well camping aligns with these qualities can shed light on whether it qualifies as a hobby or not.

Evaluating Key Hobby Criteria For Camping

So how does camping rate when looking at the key hobby criteria listed above? Here is a closer examination:

Enjoyment and Leisure

One of the main motivations for camping is enjoyment. Getting out in nature, taking a break from normal life, and experiencing new places and activities are all inherently rewarding parts of camping. Camping is primarily a recreational activity, making it more of a leisure pursuit than a necessity.

Active Participation and Skill Building

Camping requires active participation and involves developing outdoor living skills over time. Setting up a tent, starting a campfire, navigating terrain, packing equipment, and other aspects of camping involve hands-on learning. Knowledge is accumulated through research and experience.

Recurring Activity

Camping is typically not a one-time event. Those who enjoy camping tend to go multiple times per year. They have the gear and knowledge to facilitate repeated trips. The desire to keep experiencing the outdoors drives recurrences.


Camping is a discretionary activity people choose to do for fun, not out of obligation. Work or life circumstances do not dictate the decision to go camping for most. Camping is voluntarily fit into free time.

Pursued with Enthusiasm

The effort involved in camping is indicative of enthusiasm. Packing equipment, traveling to sites, setting up camp, and sleeping outdoors require extra work. The willingness to take on these tasks shows the high level of interest and satisfaction camping holds as an activity for enthusiasts.

Verdict: Camping Qualifies As A Hobby

When held up against the key qualifying criteria, camping strongly exhibits the qualities and characteristics of a hobby.

It is a discretionary, regularly occurring activity that provides enjoyment, requires active participation, and enables skill development. The passion camping sparks for many shows it is an activity pursued with great enthusiasm.

Given these qualities, there is a strong argument for classifying camping as a hobby.

Camping As A Hobby Offers Many Benefits

Beyond the debate over definitions, it is clear camping offers many benefits when pursued as a hobby:

Stress Relief and Relaxation

Spending time outdoors and away from daily routines is inherently relaxing. Camping provides an ideal venue to destress and unwind.

Social Bonds

Sharing a camping experience helps build strong social bonds. Camping is often done in groups, strengthening relationships.

Physical Exercise

Hiking, setting up camp, and other camping tasks require physical exertion. Camping promotes a healthy activity level.

Appreciation of Nature

Camping allows people to deeply engage with the natural world, fostering an appreciation of nature.


Mastering outdoor skills like navigating, first aid, and providing food/shelter instill self-reliance.

Creative Expression

Camping involves creative elements like planning meals, packing equipment efficiently, and crafting camping comforts.

How To Get Started Camping as a Hobby?

If the benefits have you convinced and ready to embrace camping as a hobby, here are some tips for getting started:

Start Small and Local

Opt for campgrounds close to home for your first few trips while you build skills and get comfortable camping.

Learn From Experienced Campers

Join camping forums online or reach out to experienced camping buddies for tips.

Rent Equipment at First

Rent a tent, sleeping bags, pads, and supplies from outdoor stores before investing in gear.

Pick Easy Meals

Focus on no-cook meals or easy grilling recipes to simplify camping cooking.

Know Your Limits

Be realistic about your fitness level and don’t overexert. Slowly build up activity.

Invest in Comfort

A sleeping pad, camp pillow, camp chair, and other comforts make camping more enjoyable.

Safety First

Study up on camping safety concerning wildlife, weather, terrain, etc. to minimize risk.

Types of Camping To Pursue

Once you have some camping fundamentals down, there are many different camping styles to explore:

Car Camping

Car camping involves camping at drive-up sites with amenities like bathrooms and electric hookups. It offers convenience for new campers.

Backcountry Camping

Backcountry camping requires backpacking gear and skills to camp in remote wilderness areas away from developed facilities.

Winter Camping

Winter camping brings unique challenges like staying warm that can be embraced by seasoned veterans.

Bike Camping

Bike camping combines cycling from site to site with camping overnight along the route.

Kayak Camping

Kayak camping allows paddling to and camping on islands only accessible by water.

Camping Festivals

Festivals with multi-day camping integrated into the event offer immersive experiences.

Trying different camping styles keeps things fresh and allows you to progress your skills.

Essential Camping Gear

Assembling proper camping gear is key to comfort and safety. Here is a rundown of camping gear essentials:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag and pad
  • Backpack (for backcountry camping)
  • Cooler
  • Camp stove and fuel
  • Cookset, utensils, cups, and plates
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Lighter or matches
  • Pocket knife
  • First aid kit
  • Extra layers of clothing
  • Sleepwear and dry socks
  • Rain jacket
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Map and compass
  • Toilet paper and trowel
  • Water filtration or treatment system

Invest in quality gear you can rely on, especially for safety items like medical kits and navigation tools.

Finding The Best Campsites

Finding ideal campsites is vital to an enjoyable camping experience. Here are tips for locating great campsites:

  • Check campground reviews on sites like The Dyrt for ratings and real feedback.
  • For backcountry camping, study topographic maps to find appealing areas for primitive camping.
  • Book popular campgrounds 6-12 months out for peak times.
  • For last-minute trips, look at first-come, first-served campgrounds. Arrive early to claim a spot.
  • Consider proximity to activities like hiking trails and water when selecting a campground in a park.
  • Dispersed camping on public lands like National Forests can provide solitude away from crowded campgrounds.
  • If car camping, see if the site has amenities like restrooms, showers, and electric/water hookups to suit your needs.
  • Backcountry campers should research regulations, get permits, and practice leave-no-trace principles.

Finding the right campsite for your style of camping and desired experience will ensure an enjoyable hobby pursuit. With some thoughtful planning and preparation, the camping world is your oyster.

In Closing

When held up to the definition of what constitutes a hobby, it is clear camping easily qualifies.

It offers escape, enjoyment, skill building, social connection, physical activity, and access to nature when pursued with enthusiasm on a regular recreational basis.

Camping has something to offer almost everyone and can be tailored to match your interests and comfort level as a rewarding lifelong hobby.

What Are the Benefits of Swimming as a Hobby?

Swimming as a hobby offers numerous benefits for both physical and mental well-being. Not only is swimming worth it for its exceptional low-impact cardiovascular exercise, but it also helps in toning muscles and increasing flexibility. Furthermore, swimming promotes relaxation, reduces stress levels, and improves overall quality of sleep. Embrace the refreshing waters, dive in, and discover a hobby that brings immense joy and health benefits.

FAQs about Is Camping a Hobby?

When did camping become a hobby?

Camping originated thousands of years ago as a necessity for survival but became a recreational hobby in the early 20th century as people began camping for leisure. Camping’s popularity as a hobby rose significantly in the post-WWII era.

Is camping an expensive hobby?

Camping can be an inexpensive hobby if you utilize affordable secondhand or rented gear, choose low-cost public campsites, stay close to home, and keep food simple. But costs add up quickly if you invest in lots of expensive specialty gear.

Why do humans enjoy camping?

Humans enjoy camping because it provides a chance to relax in nature, escape normal routines, bond with others, and gain self-reliance through outdoor skills. The change of scene and pace is refreshing.

What percentage of people enjoy camping?

Recent surveys show around 40% of Americans camp at least occasionally, signifying it is a popular hobby pursued by a significant subset of the population.

What are some of the costs I should expect when buying camping gear?

The cost of camping gear can vary widely based on its quality and brand. For a good tent, you can expect to pay around $100 to $200. A sleeping pad may cost anywhere between $30 to $100. A decent first-aid kit costs about $20 to $40. Keep in mind these are estimates, and costs can go up if you opt for high-end or specialized gear.

Tom Velasco

Tom Velasco

I'm just a regular guy who loves hobbies. I'm also the creator of Hobbyist To Riches, where I've spent the last 15 years trying out all kinds of hobbies that make life happier and financially rewarding. My adventures have taken me around the world to immerse in different cultures and their diverse pastimes. I love sharing this journey of discovering new passions!

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