Evidence collated by The Camping and Caravanning Club has revealed that camping really does make you richer in mind, body and soul.
Over 60 research studies reviewed by leading academics at Liverpool John Moores University and an online survey proved conclusively that those people who camp are happier, have closer family relationships, are healthier, less stressed and are more socially connected.
‘Real Richness – The List’ – which includes statistics and stories of those who camp and how camping has in many ways transformed their lives – was released by the Club today.
The findings come only months after Prime Minister David Cameron revealed plans to measure the nation’s happiness.
Some of the key findings include:
•93% of campers say camping can make you happier
•77% of campers are satisfied with their quality of life compared to 59% of non-campers
•21% of campers feel stressed on an average day compared to 33% of non-campers
•91% of all children say spending time exploring the outdoors with their parents makes them happy
•80% of children who camp feel their parents are less stressed when they go camping and three-quarters say their parents shout less!
•Seven in 10 people agree that camping is accessible to everyone regardless of income
•79% of kids who have never camped say they would like to
•One in three campers think that camping is a great way to lose weight
•84% of campers think camping can make you healthier and nearly half think the pastime should be prescribed on the NHS
•73% of adults suggest camping is something every child should experience and half say it should be on the national curriculum
The likes of adventurer Ben Fogle, television presenters Julia Bradbury and Sarah Beeny and environmentalist David Bellamy have all backed the research.
Fogle said: “I’m a big fan of camping. I’ve camped all over the world on all sorts of adventures and I often head off to Scotland, Wales and Cornwall to just chill out under canvas. And it’s not just been a solitary affair; my wife and I camped in Sweden and whenever I can I take Inca, my black Labrador with me too!
“The findings of The Camping and Caravanning Club research that show campers are richer for it are no great surprise to me. For me it definitely chills me out and I find it’s a fantastic way to switch off from my manic schedule. I can totally see how camping is great for families too and I can’t wait to get my growing family into the camping habit and introduce them to all the joys and fun it brings.
“What I really hope though is that these findings will encourage anyone of any age who hasn’t experienced the joys of camping and caravanning to give it a go. There are so many ways to camp nowadays and so many wonderful places to see, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth - how good is that!”
The observation that camping offered greater riches for mind, body and soul was first introduced over 100 years ago by the Club’s founder, Thomas Hiram Holding.
Matthew Eastlake, Marketing & Communications Director at The Camping and Caravanning Club, added: “At the Club, we believe that being rich isn’t only about money. We think it’s about a truer kind of wealth.
“Because it’s not about how much you’ve got materialistically; it’s about how happy you feel. We hope that people will be inspired by our findings and the stories of those who feature within our ‘Real Richness’ document and get out camping as a result.”
A research team led by Dr Kaye Richards, a Senior Lecturer in Outdoor Education at Liverpool John Moores University and Chartered Psychologist of the British Psychological Society, believe advocating ‘access to camping for all’ may now be more relevant than ever before.
Dr Richards said: “It seems that something transformational often happens when we camp that doesn’t happen when we just go for a walk, a bike ride or a day out – a greater immersion in nature which we get by being there at dusk (to see or experience the sun setting) and at dawn (to perhaps hear the dawn chorus and see the sun rise) is something that differentiates camping from what others are saying about the benefits of doing other activities in nature.
“Camping should be an important consideration in the current climate where we understand mental health, family cohesion and connection with nature to be key influences on an individual’s well-being and quality of life.”
One of the many stories the Club gathered about how camping has enriched people’s lives came from an anonymous contributor, who said: “I left my ex-husband after domestic violence over many confidence-destroying years. With less money to spend and three children to entertain on holiday on my own, I hired a motorhome. I had never driven anything bigger than a family hatchback!
"We had a wonderful time. One child was in charge of securing everything before we drove, one in charge of hooking up at the sites and the youngest was in charge of entertainment – he chose Status Quo for the entire holiday as this was what he called ‘road movie music’.
“The children and I got our confidence back through the responsibilities and freedoms of that first camping holiday and now we camp for sheer pleasure.”
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