6 camping myths debunked

A group of various tents in a forest
Pitch your tent and spend a night or two outdoors in confidence and comfort (Image credit: Getty)

When it comes to sleeping outdoors, myths abound. Often, they’re the type that can be told around the campfire, flashlight in hand, but some of them might prevent you from ever going camping in the first place, or cause you to make a few blunders while you’re there. 

You know, ideas like you can’t have any fun when it’s raining or you can do whatever you want out in the wild. We’re here to clear up some of those misconceptions about camping, so you can pitch your tent confidently and spend a night or two outdoors in comfort. 

how to store food while camping: man with cool boxes

You may be surprised by just how far campsites and gear have come in terms of comfort (Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Camping is uncomfortable

One of the biggest deterrents to camping for many people is the fear they’ll be uncomfortable – you’ll be too cold, too hot, the mosquitos will eat you alive, there’s nowhere to sit except moldy old picnic benches and what about your morning cup of coffee?

There are indeed more variables to contend with when you’re outside and don’t have air conditioning, double glazing and a nice soft mattress to keep discomfort at bay, but if you haven’t been camping in a while – or ever – you may be surprised by just how far campsites and gear have come in terms of comfort. 

For starters, not all campsites are primitive, and you can find spots with bathrooms, hot showers, potable water and even ice for sale. Once you've booked a campsite, learn how to dress for camping so you're not damp and miserable the whole time. Lose the jeans and cotton hoodies and wear breathable layers and you’ll be able to adjust for the temperature and conditions. 

Pick a pitch away from standing water and with a light breeze and bring insect repellent with DEET to keep chomping pests at bay. Invest in a comfortable camping chair so you can kick your feet up around the campfire and it’s just like being in your own living room at home except you’ve got the natural world to watch instead of a boring old television.

In the morning, you can brew a seriously fine espresso with one of the best camping coffee makers, and if you really don’t want to do without your tech, bring a camping lantern like the Pure Woodland Glow which is also a portable speaker and doubles as a power bank so you can charge your devices.

reasons you need a camping lantern: chess time

You really can camp in comfort these days (Image credit: Getty Images)

2. You can’t have fun if it’s raining

So maybe no one would choose to go camping in the rain, but moisture doesn’t have to spell disaster for a camping trip. The most important thing to do is to check the weather forecast before you set off so you can be prepared for rain if it happens, and that can take the sting out of things. 

Pack a waterproof jacket, rain pants and waterproof hiking boots or wellies for starters, so you can stay dry while you’re moving around camp. More importantly, though, invest in some tarps so you can set up your tent during a deluge without the inner getting soaked, then create a sheltered space to hang out in. Pull your camping table and chairs underneath it and you can have a fantastic time relaxing to the sound of the rain drumming above you, enjoying its smells, playing cards, cooking good food and enjoying great company.

A couple lie in their tent and watch the rain

You can enjoy the sounds and smell of the rain when you're camping (Image credit: Mikael Vaisanen)

3. The camping life is the simple life

It’s true that camping can be pretty simple – find a relatively flat space, throw down your bivy sack, crawl inside it and go to sleep. But for car camping trips, you might actually be surprised by how much planning and organization is required. 

Camping can take a lot of careful packing of the cooler as well as your car to ensure you don’t arrive to discover you’ve left your sleeping pad behind. When you arrive, you might want to just kick back with a beer, but you’ll soon discover that there’s work to be done gathering firewood, pitching your tent before it gets dark, setting up your camp kitchen and building a campfire

After dinner and throughout the trip, you’ll want to be vigilant about washing dishes and packing away trash to avoid attracting critters like bears to your campsite. Camping is a lot of fun, and you can do a lot of relaxing, but there is a little work involved in getting there.

Do you need a camping axe?: A man chops wood for a campfire

If you're chopping your own firewood, don't plan on the easy life (Image credit: Getty Images)

4. You won’t get a good night’s sleep

Many of us live and die by our last night’s sleep and if that describes you to a T, the idea of sleeping on the hard ground might not sound too appealing. Though it’s unlikely to be as comfortable as sleeping in your own bed, there are actually lots of ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep at camp. 

Invest in a good tent, mattress, sleeping bag and camping pillow for starters, then consider things like where the sun will rise and how close you are to your neighbors. Wear earplugs to block out ambient noise and make sure you’re warm when you get into bed by undressing inside your sleeping bag. Learn more in our article with 15 tips for blissful sleeps at camp.

There are actually lots of ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep at camp

There are actually lots of ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep at camp (Image credit: Amazon)

5. You can do whatever you like

In urban life, there’s always that feeling that someone is watching you, whether it’s your nosy neighbors making sure you’re not using their trash cans or your boss micromanaging your schedule, but when you get out into the wild, you can do whatever you want, right? Well, no, not really. 

You do still have to observe the important principles of leave no trace and clean up after yourself for starters. Moreover, it’s important to respect the local habitat and pitch where other campers have pitched before even if it’s not the most Instagram-worthy spot. While you’re at it, be courteous to other campers and to wildlife and keep noise levels down. Camping does bring freedom, but it's freedom from the constant screens and same old routines so you can immerse yourself in nature.

man sitting on an outdoor chair enjoying and drinking hot coffee in

Camping does bring freedom, but it's freedom from the constant screens and same old routines so you can immerse yourself in nature (Image credit: Yingyai Pumiwatana)

6. Camping is dangerous

Sleeping outdoors with only a thin layer of nylon protecting you from potential predators can seem a little scary if you’re not used to it, but while some campers do meet with real life-threatening scenarios, from falling trees to enraged bears, these types of situations are really very few and far between. 

You’re far more likely to come into harm’s way driving on the highway or crossing the road back in town than you are while camping. Out in the backcountry, away from other people, you’re probably much safer, so long as you are smart about certain things, like campfire safety, hanging a bear bag and knowing where to pitch a tent to avoid flash flooding and hazard trees, you should be able to enjoy your time without coming to grief. That said, definitely read up on our 10 camping safety tips to keep outdoor hazards at bay.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.