Camping Alone: Why Do We Do It?

I don’t know about you, but when I go camping I am always going with someone else. Usually, that will be my wife, but on occasion it will be with a friend instead. Or we’ll go camping with several friends, making a group camp for a weekend or longer. But going camping alone? I actually think I’ve never done that before.

Someone posed the question on a Facebook tent camping group that got me intrigued. He asked “Who camps alone and why?”. That’s a somewhat provocative question just for the potential answers that would come up. And there were many answers provided! Many answers were duplicated, meaning that solo campers came to similar conclusions as to why they camped alone, but some provided some good mental insight as to why as well. So, do you camp alone? Let’s see if the answers given are the same as yours.

Camping Alone

The Top Reason: Silence/Solitude

After tabulating all of the responses and categorizing them as best I could, one reason rose to the top, and it wasn’t really even close. The absolute number one reason that people tent camp solo? They enjoy the silence and solitude of solo tent camping. And really, can you blame them?

I was surprised a little at this answer, but then I thought about it more. So many of us are around people nearly 24/7, whether that’s family members, friends, coworkers, or even just a few hundred of your closest friends when you go out to eat or see a movie. To be away from everyone, just for a while, can be VERY appealing! And along with that solitude comes the other half of this number one answer: silence. Now, of course, there isn’t TOTAL silence, but there is man-made silence. No cars, no talking, no construction, no sirens, just the wind blowing through the trees, some birds chirping, the crackling of the fire.

Doesn’t that sound blissful? Just relaxing next to the fire, listening to sounds of nature. Not a care in the world, just enjoying it all. And people wonder why some go tent camping alone. But that isn’t the only reason.

No One To Go With Me

This one is actually two reasons wrapped together into a single point. We had numerous people say that they go solo camping because they don’t have someone special that they would go with yet. In most cases, I believe that they are referring to a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, and the lack of this significant other person means that they are relegated to enjoying solo camping. At some point, they would like to go camping with a significant other person, but they are still searching for that person.

The other aspect to this point is that people just don’t know anyone else in their circle of friends who actually wants to go tent camping. This isn’t necessarily surprising, as tent camping is not for everyone, and plenty of people think that it’s just one step removed from covering your naked body with a few leaves overnight, hoping the bears don’t lick you and decide you’ll be a nice snack. But sometimes it can be very hard to find someone else who likes to go camping in any form, let alone in a tent. And these people might be married or be in a significant relationship, but that other person has no desire to join them in the great outdoors.

Many of these people would probably say not to shed a tear for them, as they really enjoy camping solo. Sure, it would be nice to sometimes share the joy of tent camping with another person, but they will not compromise what they like to do just to have that person. They are confident in their own skills, and will continue to camp solo until they find another person to give it a try.

No One To Go With Me

As Mel Gibson shouted in Braveheart: FREEDOM!

The third reason that people gave for tent camping solo is the independence that they have compared to when they camp with others. They want to do what they want, when they want to, and how they want to. Camping alone gives them the freedom that they seek. Sometimes when you are camping with others, there are some expectations that come with those other campers. Things like, you are expected to be up by a certain time in the morning, you are expected to do similar things as the other people in your camping party, or you are expected to not be anti-social and talk with other people in your camping party. Most of this is unwritten and unspoken, but you’ll know about it when you get a small scowl from people when you are the last to get up or when you simply want to lounge in your chair by the fire while the rest of them head out for a hike.

The freedom that comes with camping by yourself is hard to explain to others who have never done it or are afraid to do it. “Safety in numbers” might be a phrase you’ll hear when you talk with other tent campers who are amazed or shocked that you go tent camping alone because they are afraid of bad things happening. Or they think that they will be so bored without another person to camp with that they don’t want to try it. So don’t be surprised when others look at you funny because you enjoy camping alone.

Not Having To Be Accountable

I know, that heading sounds bad because we are all taught to be responsible people. Society wouldn’t work if we were all irresponsible. However, this isn’t going that far. Rather, when you go camping with other people, you typically need to let them know where you are going and how long you intend to be away doing whatever it is you are doing. You might need to be back at a certain time because dinner is being prepared, or there is some other reason for you to make an appearance. By camping alone, you don’t need to be accountable to anyone else. Feel like continuing that hike for a bit more? Go for it! Don’t want to make dinner at a certain time because you aren’t hungry? Livin’ on the edge!

This sort of goes along with the previous point of freedom in that you can do what you want, when you want to, however this point is more about letting others know what you are doing rather than just running off willy nilly. It is nice not having responsibility for something, or someone if you have kids along, and that allows you to breathe more deeply of the great outdoors.

Not Having To Be Accountable

Just Haven’t Met That Right Person Yet

Sometimes it isn’t because we choose to camp alone, instead it is because we haven’t found the right person to join us on our camping trips. Sure, camping alone is nice and all, but wouldn’t it be nice to share the great experience with someone else? Typically married/engaged couples don’t have this problem because often both people like to go camping; its one of the things that they have in common. But even married people can have this problem of not having someone else to go with them if their spouse isn’t the camping type.

I have seen people in different Facebook groups, for example, ask about people living near them so that they might have a chance to go camping together. So if you know someone who camps alone, ask them if they would ever want to camp with you. You might be surprised when they say “yes”.

People Are Jerks

Can we be honest? Sometimes, don’t we all get fed up with being around people? Haven’t we all just wanted to get away so that we didn’t have to deal with people any longer? This is another common reason that was given by people who camp alone. What they are really after is getting away from people, because people bug them. In a way, its like being and outdoor introvert – you love nature, but you just want to enjoy it by yourself.

People can be snarky, judgemental, rude and an overall pain to be around sometimes. And they don’t always understand your point of view or what you are trying to say. You just want to throw up your arms and give up on the world. Camping is your means of escape from the rest of society, and you don’t want to be bothered by anyone. Its your chance to recharge your batteries so that you can face the onslaught of humanity again when you return. We all need that from time to time, and camping is a great way to do that.

Wrap Up

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why people end up camping alone. Many of them are similar to each other in that the person enjoys the solitude, but sometimes its because they either can’t find someone else who shares their love of camping, or they just need to get away from other humans for a while. What about you? Why do you go camping alone? And if you don’t, what might make you try it?

Got some feedback on this topic? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, send me an email or share it on social media! Happy Tent Camping!

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