When I first got married my wife would go camping with me but it wasn’t her favorite thing to do. We are tent campers and while camping she enjoyed being out in the woods but she didn’t like going very often. Once we began having kids, she wanted to go even less. I knew that if I wanted to continue camping I would need to figure out what I could do to change her opinion about camping.
I began paying more attention to the things that she didn’t like. I quickly realized that there were a handful of experiences she didn’t enjoy while camping. Additionally, there were a few other areas that she didn’t complain about but I figured would make her camping experience more enjoyable.
Over the years I’ve created a 9 step plan for planning camping a family trip and I’ve worked on ways to make the experience better and more comfortable for my wife. I can now happily say that she really enjoys camping and looks forward to all our camping trips. I do bring more gear now then I use to but in addition to tent campers, we are also car campers. So it’s not too much of a hassle to bring some extra gear.
The following 5 changes/additions to our camping setup and gear is what has helped my wife truly love and look forward to camping.
1. A decent bathroom setup
The first change I made to our camping setup was to provide a decent toilet arrangement. We wouldn’t often camp in campgrounds with toilets but would go dispersed camping with no amenities provided. She would often complain about how she disliked having to go to the bathroom in the woods.
I decided to work on making better toilet arrangements for her. My first attempts were as simple as a few tarps wrapped around some trees and a bucket with a seat lid. We actually used this setup for a few years and it did improve the experience for her. We have since upgraded to a dedicated pop-up shelter and an actual seat.
My wife is very happy with this current setup and no longer complains about her bathroom experience while camping. She says this is the number one change that improved her camping experience.
2. More comfortable sleeping arrangements
Another part of our camping experience I improved was our sleeping arrangements. We use to sleep on a simple blow up mattress with regular sleeping bags. While this setup isn’t the worst but it also isn’t the best.
I have to be honest here, the changes I made with our sleeping arrangements weren’t solely for my wife. I was wanting a better sleeping experience as well but she has said that sleeping while camping has gotten much better.
I upgraded us to our own cots and better sleeping bags or a sleeping camping blanket. Additionally, I did not get standard sized cots and sleeping bags. I got Teton Sports XXL sleeping bags and cots. These extra-large sleeping bags and cots give you lots of room to move around and get comfortable (neither my wife nor I like feeling constrained while sleeping).
On top of the improved sleeping bags and cots, I added a 3” gel memory foam pad to put on the cot. Some people might feel like that’s too much but I can tell you, we now sleep amazingly while camping.
3. Better places to sit and relax
I also improved the places to relax during the day. When we were first married, I wouldn’t worry about bringing chairs or anywhere to relax. I would simply find some logs and use those as chairs for sitting around the fire.
My wife had specifically mentioned she would like somewhere more comfortable to sit. Basic camping chairs are super affordable and way more comfortable than a log. I bought a few of these for my wife and myself, which has made a big difference. Since we’ve had kids, I’ve also found some smaller versions that are great for them.
Additionally, I added a couple nylon camping hammocks to our gear. These hammocks are super portable and are great for relaxing. They give you another good option of somewhere to kick back and enjoy the great outdoors. You can find lots of option on Amazon by simply searching for camping hammocks.
4. Carpet inside the tent
This improvement wasn’t actually planned, it just kind of happened. On one or our camping trips, I decided to bring along some extra carpet I had in the garage. I wasn’t exactly sure if or where I’d use it but I thought I might see if I could find a place for it.
It was actually my wife’s idea to put it inside the tent. She ended up loving having the carpet in the tent. It made the tent warmer, more comfortable to walk around barefoot, and gave us a nice place to play some games with the kids before bed.
We now bring the carpet with us on every camping trip.
5. A warm shower made a world of a difference
An actual heated shower is the most recent improvement to our camping setup. We have previously simply not showered or done our best to quickly take cold showers. While cold showers will get you clean, I can’t say they are the most enjoyable.
We then once, a few years ago, went camping with a buddy of mine, who is an avid camper as well. He’s been working on his camping setup for longer and had some additional gear that I did not have. One thing he has, which my wife loved, was a heated shower. She loved being able to take a warm shower while out in the woods. So I decided to invest in a portable heated shower and shower tent. I went with an all-in-one system, the Zodi Zip Shower.
The shower is smaller so it takes some time to heat the water but my wife now loves the fact that she can shower and wash the kids while we are camping. She has said that this one addition to our camping gear has made her much more willing to go camping for longer periods of time.
She now loves camping
Some of you might say that all this gear is a bit excessive. You are right but I love to camp and I knew I wouldn’t to be able to do it like I wanted to if I couldn’t change my wife’s feeling about camping. She now loves to go camping and doesn’t drag her feet when I suggest another camping trip.
If you are in a similar situation to mine at the beginning of my marriage, don’t worry. Look for the ways you can make camping more enjoyable for your spouse or significant other. It will probably take some time but don’t give up. If I can change my wife’s opinion, you can change anyone’s opinion!