5 Concerns That Keep Black Folks Out of the Woods

Photo Courtesy of LWA-Sharie Kennedy

When I mention to some people that I go camping…

it’s not uncommon to hear why others won’t do it themselves. Here is a list of the most frequently heard excuses for not heading out to the woods, along with some real facts to consider:

1. Sleeping in a tent is an elaborate form of back torture

Fact: Just because you sleep in a tent doesn’t mean you have to sleep on the ground. REI portable cots and mats are the way I go nowadays because comfort is important. Sure, a cot won’t feel like a Sealy Posturepedic, but it’s not the ground either. Tip: be sure to get a tent that is sized for one person more than your party to allow more space for comfy sleeping gear.

2. No showers

Fact: Family campgrounds DO have hot showers, and the availability of this amenity is no shocker if you do a little homework on your selected campsite in advance. In fact, the outdoor camp showers are some of the best I have had as some are opened on top for a terrific view of the sky or stars.

3. No Music, TV, or Video Games

Fact: These days wireless is becoming more common for family camp sites, but the point of camp is to connect with the environment or with those in your group. Play a board game, tell funny family stories, go for a walk – it’s these activities that are the source of great memories to last a lifetime.

4. Animals and Bugs

Fact: Yes, wonderful wildlife is a reality in the outdoors, but critters don’t have to ruin your trip. Use bug repellent (or swallow a clove of raw garlic, I am told) for the worst flying offenders. Keep food and other smellables away from where you sleep. You actually have a much greater chance of being hurt by a domestic dog than by a bear!

5. It’s dirty

Ok, let’s make a distinction between soil and filth. Campgrounds are not the place to wear new Air Force Ones. Dirt is inevitable, but filth you won’t find at a developed camp site nor at the more “primitive” areas. Developed camps are maintained to ensure sustainability and safety for all creatures who inhabit them — even the temporary ones!

Bottom line: abandon the scary, non-factual ideas about camping and give it a try!

Got more reasons why you don’t camp? Post them here!

12 Thoughts on “5 Concerns That Keep Black Folks Out of the Woods”

  • “Campgrounds are not the place to wear new Air Force Ones”. Haha.

    I think your list is great and so are your solutions. Research is always key when taking a trip, you never know what goodies a site has if you don’t look for them or ask questions.

    Great post!

  • Okay, how FLY is this site? I’m not an outdoors person by any stretch, but my sister-in-law, an environmentalist, is slowly coaxing me out of the house and into the wild. She’s going to love this site–I know I do!

  • I am so glad to have found you as well — as mommyhood is the driver behind my blog too! I look forward to connecting with your sister-in-law as well!

    Be well and outdoors,

  • Lol at the Air force ones comment. I recent went white water rafting (on a man made course) and now I’m interested in more outdoor sports. I look forward to reading your blog!

  • Confession: I don’t like to camp. I liken it to playing homeless.
    But I have spent many nights outdoors. Tents make me feel claustrophobic so I prefer open air sleeping or cabin sleeping.

  • Great point about “playing homeless” — programs need to understand that this is the perspective of some cultures — that sleeping outdoors does not always represent leisure. I like sleeping under the stars too. Best experiences I ever had…

  • I think your blog could apply to a lot of my friends. Not just black folks. My best friend and I camped in Utah and Arizona last September for two weeks. (Best vacation I have ever had!) I received many comments from friends of all types that thought the idea was crazy. I got all of the comments mentioned in your blog and more. We received a lot of concerned comments about two women going camping without men to protect us.

    • Universal issues indeed – thanks for sharing your own story. Yes, women can camp alone! I am so glad you had such a great time in nature!


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