The beginning of March marked Women’s History Month, and as we near its end, I’ve had time to reflect on what the month could mean within the camping industry and what I can do to encourage others to get outside and camp. Then, while reading the results from a survey Campspot conducted with DKC, I learned that men were two times more likely to call themselves experienced campers than women.
I’m not surprised, really. Much of the marketing within the camping industry seems to be geared toward men, and when women are depicted, it’s with their husband or family. When you Google “women camping,” your search results will yield things Camping Tips: How to Stay Fresh & Clean and Safety Tips for Female Campers, whereas when you Google “men camping,” results include Camping Essentials and Camping Gear.
My mind quickly went to my sister, who can build a fire faster than anyone I’ve come across at a campground. Every summer, she and a few of her friends embark on what they call Lady Camping. I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of their incredible experiences camping in Northern Michigan.
An Annual Tradition
Beginning in 2013, friends from across the state of Michigan met up at a Northern Michigan campground, almost always on Lake Michigan, to enjoy the outdoors, each others’ company, and organize the best camping trips they would want to come back to year after year. Except for 2020, due to COVID, the women have gone every year.
The yearly camping trip also inspires the women to get creative, experiment with different photography methods, collect beach wood for crafts, and test their campfire culinary skills.
Activities during Lady Camping include hiking, relaxing at the beach, cooking, collecting Petoskey Stones, spotting water snakes, and more. The beauty of the outdoors is there is no one way to camp or experience the outside.
Being Silly with Nature
It’s easy to equate the outdoor experience with John Muir’s stoicism, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. I smiled while scrolling through these images photographer Jaimé Johnson sent me. I can feel the excitement and joy on their faces.
The Beauty! The Splendor!
Of course, one of the best things about camping is the immersion within nature. Whether you’re camping steps from Lake Michigan like these ladies or at an RV park in California, you’re getting a new perspective of the great outdoors. Stepping outside with your coffee and watching the sunrise, taking a hike to watch the sunset, or pausing for a moment to feel the breeze on your face, don’t let that moment escape you. Enjoy it.
I also loved the images Jaimé took around the campfire. Having spoken to many around the campgrounds we’ve stayed at, many women feel intimidated to build a fire. This is often met with the shame that comes with the assumption that everyone should know how to build a fire as if it’s a human condition to living. This combination probably alienates women into never trying. For anyone who’s feeling this way, I encourage you to read our guide to building a campfire and use firestarters while starting out.
To me, the campfire is a magical place to connect with fellow campers or reflect by gazing into the mesmerizing flames.
I hope these beautiful images inspired more women to try camping, whether with friends or on their own! If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy camping!