How to Take Non-Campers Camping

Take your friends camping. Hero Images / Getty Images

If you love the great outdoors you probably want to take your non-camping friends camping too. If your favorite companion is a seasoned camper, lucky you!  The outdoors isn't for everyone and some just can’t get over their camping fears -- bugs, and dirt and bears, oh my!

Most of us are so passionate about camping that we want to share the experience with all of our closest companions. Here are 7 things not to like about camping and the solution.

Sleeping on the Ground

Yes, tent camping calls for a sleeping pad and most likely sleeping on the ground. And sometimes sleeping on the ground can be uncomfortable or cold, but that shouldn’t stop you from experiencing camping. Even non-campers can learn how to sleep better when camping

Solution: A cot. You can get portable camping cots, set them up in most tents, throw a sleeping pad on top and you’ll be cozy and comfortable sleeping in a tent. For extra comfort, bring a down mattress pad or extra blankets. Or, if that’s not good enough, rent an RV with a queen size bed!

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

Bugs can be a nuisance, some even bite and itch, but there are lots of ways to keep the bugs away!

Solution: Before you head out into the great outdoors, pick up herbal bug spray from your local health food store. Natural products like lavender can keep the bugs away without poisoning your skin. Consider wearing long sleeve shirts even if it is warm—the less skin exposed the less the bugs will be attracted to you. And leave the perfume or scented lotions at home!

If the bugs won’t leave you alone, a screen room tent is a great solution. You’ll still be able to enjoy the outdoors, but the pesky little critters won’t be able to get in. There are also plenty of citronella candles, mosquito coils, and lanterns that help mitigate bugs. And building a smoky campfire sometimes helps too!

Pitched tents on a grassy hill

TripSavvy / Ivey Redding

Being Cold, Being Hot

If you are in the outdoors, you are at the mercy of the weather. It can be hot in the days, cold at night and even rain, snow or get incredibly windy. Even if it's nice weather, you can learn a few tips for staying warm from winter campers

Solution: First step: check the weather before you go. If you are prepared for the weather, you’ll be much more comfortable. Always pack extra layers like warm sweaters, and thermal tops and bottoms, and bring blankets to throw over your legs when hanging out at camp.

Hot Showers and Shaving

Not all campgrounds have hot water for showers or showers at all and even if they do, it might not be very comfortable for shaving.

Solution: If hot showers are a priority, make sure you find out what kind of facility your campground has before going. Many public campgrounds have quarter showers, so make sure to bring plenty of quarters so you have time to shave and shower comfortably. Don’t forget to bring a pair of shower shoes and consider bringing a bathrobe. If cement floors and quarter-showers still aren’t enough, look into camping at RV or holiday parks. Private camping facilities are often more expensive, but for good reason. The bathhouses are usually heated and well maintained with tiled floors.

Campground Restrooms

Some campgrounds only have pit toilets and can be smelly. Others aren’t well-maintained and can be dirty. Some camping areas don’t even have bathrooms at all!

Solution: Depending on your level of disgust over camping bathrooms, there are a few options here. Bring air fresheners and hand sanitizing soaps and leave them in the bathrooms closest to your campsite. A little lemon scent may diffuse the problem for you. If not, you may want to again, consider an RV or Holiday park for the added bathhouse amenity. Or consider renting an RV so that you have your own private facility. Make sure to leave a flashlight by your bedside in case you have to get up in the middle of the night.

Feeling Dirty All Day Long

Campgrounds can be, well dirty. Not because they aren’t clean but because you are in the great outdoors.

Solution: Do some research before you go camping. Your friend might enjoy a campground with grass surrounding the campsites, or maybe beach camping is better. Bring a floor mat and put it at the entrance to your tent to help keep dirt out. It might be hard to avoid dirt entirely, but RV parks and private camping resorts tend to have more pavement than public campgrounds, and the bathhouses will help you clean up whenever you want.

Lions and Tiger and Bears—Oh My!

Wild animals live in the great outdoors. And it is possible that you might see a bear if you are camping in their native habitat.

Solution: Depending on where you are camped, bears may or may not be a danger. Different types of bears can be more or less aggressive, but to be safe from bears, it is best to secure your food and not cook in or near your tent. Be sure to visit the ranger station and read all information pertaining to wild animals at your campground. You can also do some research before you go and choose a destination with less scary wild animals.

Does Your Friend Still Dislike Camping?

Maybe you want to try glamping. Even for the most serious of campers, there are a lot of good reasons to try glamping at least once. If all else fails, plan a stargazing campout