A List Of 20 Feelings You Can Experience While Camping

forest woodward photo of backpacker eating dinner at campsite

This is an excerpt from the new book I co-authored with Forest Woodward, The Camping Life: Inspiration and Ideas for Endless Adventure (available at Bookshop, Amazon, REI, and your local bookstore). The title of this piece in the book is “A Brief List of Feelings You Can Experience Camping That You [Nearly] Can’t Get Anywhere Else,” and it started as a list I was making to remind myself to get out and spend a few nights under the stars. All of these photos were taken by Forest, and either appear in the pages of the book or are from the outtakes.

1. The satisfaction of finding the perfect log or rock to sit on, even if it’s not as comfortable as a chair

forest woodward photo of a woman sitting on a rock

2. Gratitude for the technology in a waterproof tent fly as raindrops tap (or downpour) on it

forest woodward photo of a woman next to a tent in the rain

3. Being present enough to stare into a campfire for several minutes and not get bored doing it

forest woodward photo of people staring at campfire

4. Being dirty but not feeling dirty because a shower (and society) is several miles away

forest woodward photo of cyclist washing mud off leg

5. The solitude of knowing there are no other human beings within a half-day walk of where you are

forest woodward photo of view out tent door toward mountains

6. The subconscious calm of having no cell phone service for a couple consecutive days

forest woodward photo of campers around campfire and tents

7. The joy of escaping the buzz of overheard cell phone calls, video streaming, or music booming from another person’s phone speakers

forest woodward of backpackers on beach

8. The liberation from needing to make choices on food, drink, or reading materials because you’re carrying your only options in your pack

forest woodward photo of backpacker walking on coastal trail

9. The joy of letting yourself sit next to a lake and stare at it because you have time

forest woodward photo of lake and mountains

10. The unexpected increase in joy of eating food after working up a hunger from being outside all day
forest woodward photo of backpacker eating dinner at campsite


11. The satisfaction of being able to carry everything you need in a pack or the trunk of a car

forest woodward photo of hiker packing backpack

12. Getting lost in conversation with your friends without the distraction of cellphones
forest woodward photo of friends around campfire

13. The smell of campfire on your clothes

forest woodward photo of campers around fire

14. Excusing yourself from your household to-do list because you’re miles away from laundry, paying bills, repairs, and errands
forest woodward photo of climber drying clothes at alpine campsite

15. Going to bed early when you’re tired without any late-night screen time or e-mails to keep you up

forest woodward photo of camper going to sleep in bivy sack

16. The uninhibited sounds of wild animals

forest woodward photo of wild horse

17. The rustle of wind moving through the trees
forest woodward photo of camper in hammock among trees

18. The view over the top of your morning cup of coffee

forest woodward photo of big wall climber enjoying morning coffee

19. The feeling of not caring what time it is because you only have to worry about when it gets light outside and when it gets dark
forest woodward photo of two campers joking and laughing around fire

20. Quenching your thirst with water that’s cold because it was snow a few minutes earlier
forest woodward photo of hiker filtering water from an alpine lake

The Camping Life is available through Bookshop, Amazon, and independent bookstores everywhere.  

the camping life book by brendan leonard and forest woodward


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