Why does the very thought of our hypothetical camping trip open our mind’s Pandora box? Are we being cowardly, or is human fear of the wilderness an integral part of our nature? Without any hanging suspense, we can sigh with relief. It’s the latter. Fear of the unknown is nature’s work at its best; it’s a mechanism protecting human beings from harm since the beginning of time. Is this mechanism becoming redundant? Are we ashamed of our primordial instincts, and does it hinder humanity’s evolution? Is fear capable of impeding our sense of joy and adventure? Maybe, but it’s still our reflex survival strategy, as our sense of safety depends on its continuum. Modern humans have become estranged from nature; camping is our best remedy. Now, let’s dig deeper into common camping fears and how to overcome them.
Oh, this one’s not that scary. First-time campers often fear empty hours and doing nothing. There are myriad breath-taking outdoor destinations in Ireland, but younger generations seem to prefer street noise to bird songs. Indeed, we have become too dependent on technology and outer stimuli to keep us entertained. Are we underestimating nature? It’s a thing of wonder; it’s where we witness unison and the cruelty of simply being alive. Forget TV shows; this is a Netflix documentary live broadcast. And it’s for free. Don’t miss out.
- JBL Bluetooth speakers
- good friends
- David Attenborough hour – plant identification app
- night time fun: stargazing app
- bring your dog
In the dark places
Oh, yes, primordial fear hour. Our favourite. Why are we so afraid of the dark? Well, why wouldn’t we be? We get robbed of our senses at night; it’s hard to recognize the sounds and the direction they’re coming from, and unless we’re strapping on our night vision goggles, the power of our eyesight is restricted. That’s no fun. We fear the unknown, the pending danger. Fight or flight. I still experience swamp waves down my back when I hear something during sleep. And that’s okay.
- embracing the dark is all about practice
- begin by enduring the night without any source of light in your own home
- take your experience to a controlled outdoor area – a friend’s backyard
- Bring flashlights and portable chargers
- Keep the campfire burning
Wild animal terror
There are very few people out there with getting mulled by a bear or bitten by a snake on their bucket list. Creepy-crawlies are also not that popular among nature lovers. Waking up to gentle nostril tickles is adorable, as long as an 8-legged creature is not executing it. So, we fear animals. But, guess what? The feeling is mutual. You will never come across a snake that’s been dreaming about sucking the life out of a human being ever since childhood. So, how do you plan your first wild camping adventure and stop fearing unexpected visitors?
Fear of animal remedies:
- if it’s your first time, go with an experienced camper
- learn how to store away food to avoid attracting curious noses
- knowing where to position your tent is crucial
- get acquainted with the campsite’s wildlife beforehand, understand their behaviour
- talk to camping veterans
Reptiles, insects, carnivorous mammals – fearing them only makes sense. But what about something more familiar? A fellow human certainly deserves to be on our “Common camping fear and how to overcome them” list. Strangers in the night? If you’re camping out in the wilderness and you spot a moving human shadow, – “Care to join me, creeper?” will probably be the last thing on your mind. More along these lines: HEY, CRICKETS, HAS ANYONE SEEN MY PEPPER SPRAY? Fearing someone will raid your campsite and steal your valuable possessions or camping gear is more than rational.
Unwanted guest remedies:
- talk to people who frequently camp in the area
- find reviews, connect to fellow campers online
- learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (it’s beautiful to watch)
- let your family and friends know your campsite location
- bring your guard dog (Yorkies are welcome, too)
I don’t want to get lost
Getting lost in your imagination is beautiful; getting lost in the woods is a thing of potential terror. We rely on our Google maps to take us anywhere we need to go. But, the woods; it’s one tricky terrain. Tree after tree after tree. Thinking you’re never going to find your way back is something all beginners experience. The heart starts racing, your soul is sweating, and you just want to get back to your campsite, pack your camping gear, and leave within a nanosecond. Hold on, hold on. It’s just fear talking. Plus, you must safely pack your equipment. Once you overcome your camping fears, you will need it.
- compass is your best friend
- learn how to use it before camping
- don’t wander off too far from the site
- if you’re a beginner, never wander alone
- get familiar with the site before exploring it on your own
The fear of freezing to death. It’s relatively common for first-time campers. If you have no experience spending the night outdoors, it’s only normal to feel anxiety. The only thing protecting you from the chilly weather is your tent. Learning about different types of outdoor jackets is crucial if you’re planning on becoming a serious camper. Do your homework, and you’ll be just fine. Warm clothes + campfire; how cold can it get?! If you want to be 100% sure, portable heaters may come in handy.
It takes more than 24 hours…
…to become a camper. Give yourself time and permission to be afraid. Keep coming back, and I promise you, you will find it to be the love of your life. Face your worst camping fears and you will overcome them. Tents up!