Camping For Seniors: How to Make it Comfortable and Fun


As we age, camping becomes more difficult than it was in the past. Sleeping on the ground becomes much harder. In our youth, aches and pains will only last a few days after the camping trip is over, but as we get older, those aches and pains tend to linger. 

Just because you are a senior now does not mean that you can’t go camping anymore, though. You can still enjoy the great outdoors just like you did in your youth. 

In this article, we are going to go over different ways that you can make your camping trip comfortable as a senior and suggest some activities that you can still do:

  • Know your needs and limitations. 
  • Rent or buy an RV. 
  • Get the right tent. 
  • Bring comfortable bedding. 
  • Bring comfortable camping chairs. 
  • Bring a portable camping stove. 
  • Choose the right campground. 
  • Bring friends or family to help. 
  • Make sure the weather is good. 

How to Stay Comfortable Camping As A Senior

Let’s face it; you’re not as spry as you once were. This is totally natural and not something to let get you down. 

Be happy that you had your youth once and also that you can still relive the joys from your younger days in your old age. There are plenty of ways to make your camping trip comfortable enough to accommodate you in the great outdoors.

Know Your Needs and What You are Comfortable With

Before you plan your camping trip, take an inventory of what your needs and expectations are. You want to be realistic with yourself so that you can make sure you have a good time and don’t get in over your head. 

What is important to you, and what do you need to be comfortable? Here are some questions you can ask yourself before you start planning your camping trip:

  • Will you be ok with a little discomfort, or is being comfortable going to be really important?
  • How physically fit are you?
  • Are you still in good hiking shape, or does walking too much cause you trouble?
  • What type of terrain can you hike on?
  • Can you walk uphill easily, or is flat ground much better for you?
  • What types of terrain are you capable of traversing?
  • Would you walk across a rocky path just fine, or would risking a fall not be worth it?
  • How much space are you going to need?
  • Is bending over too much be a problem?
  • Does your bedding need to be raised off the ground?
  • What types of activities are you able to do?
  • What do you want to do on this camping trip?
  • How much weight are you able to carry, and for how long?
  • Do you need to buy lighter camping gear, or can you handle heavier gear?

Answering these questions will help you get an understanding of where your capabilities are and what you will be able to handle on your trip.

Now that you have some insight into your camping wants and needs, we’ll go over some ways that you can tailor your camping trip. There are plenty of good options, even for those that just want to be in the great outdoors but not do much physical activity.

Buy or Rent an RV

Getting a trailer camper or an RV will be the easiest (and most expensive) way to make your camping trip more comfortable. 

An RV will give you all the comforts and amenities that you would have at home. There are many different types of RVs that come in various shapes and sizes. You’re sure to find the right one that will meet your needs.

Unfortunately, RVs are expensive. A new one will cost anywhere from $10,000-$300,000. There is a lot of maintenance and upkeep that goes into them as well, and they are also gas guzzlers. 

Fortunately, you can also rent one for the weekend. The pricing for RV and trailer rentals ranges from $50-$450 a night. With this type of price range, you should be able to find something that fits your needs and your budget.

While RVs and travel trailers will offer you the most comfort on your trip, there are some things you will need to consider. 

First of all, fifth wheels and travel trailers will need to be towed to your location. It is really nice to be able to unhook your camper from your vehicle and leave it at the campsite. You then have a vehicle that you can use throughout your camping trip without having to pack everything in your camper up.

This does come with a catch, however. Hooking up a trailer to your vehicle can be physically straining. You will need to decide whether you are physically up to the task of hitching and unhitching your travel trailer. 

Those with back problems will want to go with another option. Fortunately, there are plenty of RVs that do not require being towed.

When selecting the right RV, you will also want to consider some other physical elements that might affect your comfortability. 

You will want to make sure that the step height to get into the RV is not too high. If it is, there are fold-down steps that you can have installed to mitigate this problem. 

You will also want to make sure that the setup process for the RV is easy enough for you to manage. Some RVs include pop-outs that expand the RV to have more space inside. This is a great feature, but you will want to make sure that you can handle setting it up. 

With some systems, you simply hit a button, and they slide right out. On other RVs, you might have to tinker with them a little. Talk to your dealer or rental agent to make sure you are up to the task.

Other hookups will be important to think about too. You will need to be able to drain your RV’s black and grey water tanks and also hookup to water and electricity. 

You will want to make sure that these processes will be easy enough for you to handle when you are choosing the right RV for you. 

Some RVs will be easier to hook up than others. Some might require you to get down on your back or put physical strain on your body to hook up. Make sure you consider all this when you are picking the right RV for you.

Get the Right Tent

If you don’t want to go the RV route, you can still make yourself very comfortable on your camping trip. There are plenty of tents that will make you comfortable and set you up for a great time. The size of the tent and how easy it is to set up are going to be your biggest concerns.

When choosing your tent, think about what size will be right for you. A tent that is too small will be cramped and hard to get into. You will have to do a lot of bending over and crawling around to get inside. This can be tough on the back and joints, so you may want to avoid it. 

On the other hand, a tent that is too big will be heavy and difficult to set up. You want to find a tent that is right in the sweet spot. I recommend finding a tent that is tall enough for you to stand in or almost stand in, while also being light enough for you to carry comfortably and easy enough to set up.

Choosing a tent that is easy to set up will make your camping trip a lot easier for you. Some tents are notoriously difficult to set up with tons of different parts and pieces that you have to put together. These tents may have you bending over and scrambling around for 30 minutes or longer.

On the other end of the scale, there are pop-up tents that can be set up easily in minutes. I highly recommend looking into instant pop up tents like the Core 6 person instant cabin tent.

Bring Comfortable Bedding

Your bedding is going to be one of the biggest factors that keeps you comfortable during your camping trip. Sleeping on the ground can cause aches and pains and be tough on your joints. Bringing the right mattress will keep you comfortable and ache free. Your mattress will also keep you warm. The ground can get really cold at night.

As a senior, deciding whether you need a raised mattress or not will be important. For some, a mattress that lays on the ground may be fine.

However, getting into a bed that is on the ground will require a certain amount of bending down that could be hard on the back and joints. You may be much more comfortable with a raised mattress or a cot. This way, you can easily sit down onto your bed without having to strain yourself too much.

An air mattress will be the easiest bedding option. Air mattresses are lightweight and pack easily. They also come in very thick sizes that will give you the right amount of padding to stay comfortable throughout the night. 

Foam padding is another option that will be more comfortable for some. The downside of foam padding is that it tends to be bulkier and heavier than an air mattress. This means using more of your packing space for your bedding and having a harder time setting up your bed.

Bring Comfortable Camping Chairs

You’re going to want to have a comfy place to relax aside fro your bed. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of camping chairs that will do the trick. A nice padded folding chair with reclining action will keep you comfortable when you hang out at camp. There are even inflatable couches that you can bring along to ensure maximum comfort.

Bring a Portable Camp Stove

Cooking over a fire or grill is really fun but can also be a lot of work. Setting up can be difficult, and then the cooking process can sometimes require you to stand or squat in awkward positions for an extended period. 

A portable camp stove will save you a lot of time, energy, and hassle. Camp stoves are lightweight and usually have one or two burners. All you need is a small can of propane, and you’re cooking. Set the camp stove up at your campsite’s picnic table, and you can even sit while you prepare your outdoor feast.

Choose the Right Campground

Choosing the right campground to fit your needs is going to make a big difference in the overall comfortability of your camping trip. Different campgrounds will offer different ranges of amenities. You will also want to consider what the terrain is like at your campground and also the different activities that will be available to you.

Making sure your campground has the proper amenities to support you is going to be imperative. Some campgrounds have no amenities at all while others are fully serviced. 

Access to a bathroom and showers will probably be one of your top priorities. Many campgrounds don’t have either amenity, and most don’t have showers. You will need to decide if you need to have one or both of these to be comfortable and have a good time. 

It is certainly possible to do without either. However, having to dig a hole to go to the bathroom might be more than you’re willing to do or capable of doing, and being too dirty might take away from your camping experience. 

If a shower is a must, you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to campgrounds that include showers. A solar-heated shower can be purchased for less than $10 online or at your local outdoor sporting goods store.

Other amenities you will want to look for are trash and recycling, picnic tables, grills, and fire pits. 

None of these amenities are essential, but they can make your camping trip much more enjoyable. 

Storing and packing out your trash may be more work than you’re up for. A picnic table will give you a comfortable space to prepare your meals and eat at, and a grill or fire pit will give you an option for cooking your food. And seriously, who wants to go camping if you can’t sit around the fire at night?

The terrain and proximity of parking are more things to consider when choosing your perfect campsite. You don’t necessarily have to walk around a lot to enjoy camping, but there is going to be at least a little bit of walking around that you are going to have to do. 

Make sure you know what you are up for and that your campgrounds conform to your needs. 

Some campsites will allow you to park right next to your camp. Others will require you to hike in from your car and carry all of your gear over a certain distance. If you have to carry your gear in, make sure you are up to the task. 

You will also want to be aware of the terrain. Some campsites are rocky and hilly. This could be a falling hazard for some. You are going to want to make sure that your campsite is walkable and not too rough for your needs.

When choosing your campground, you are going to want to think about what activities you want to do while you are there. 

For some, hanging out at camp and just getting outside is enough. If this is what you are looking for, finding a beautiful campground with a view might be your best option. Others may be looking to do a little hiking or go fishing or swimming. 

If you want to go hiking, make sure to find a campsite with good trails nearby that are suited to your level of ability. If you want to be doing activities near the water, make sure your campsite is close enough so that you do not have to walk too far.

Bring Friends or Family to Help

You might really want to get outside and enjoy a nice camping trip but wonder if it’s the best idea. Maybe you’re getting to that age where it might be too difficult. 

Don’t worry; you can still go camping and have a wonderful time. Simply enlist the help of some more able-bodied relatives or friends. Not only will you feel more secure in your ability to have a good time camping, but you’ll also have your friends and family there to have a nice time with. Camping is always more fun in a group, so there’s no reason not to!

Make Sure the Weather is Good

Picking the right weather and season to camp in is going to make your trip much more enjoyable and comfortable. 

If you’re reading this article, there is a good chance that you are a fair-weather camper, so plan accordingly. Getting stuck in the cold or rain is going to make what could have been a wonderful time miserable. 

You will probably want to avoid camping in the winter, early spring, or late fall. If you do decide to go camping when the weather is not quite as nice, bring the right gear. This includes a warm sleeping bag, the right tent, and warm clothes.

Activities for Seniors

Now that you know everything you need to know to make your camping trip comfortable, we are going to go over some activities that you can do to make your trip fun and rewarding.

Sitting Around a Campfire

This is a staple activity that no camping trip is complete without. 

Humans have long sat around fires and watched the flames dance. There is something magical about the warm yellow and orange light of a campfire that touches a special part of our consciousness. 

Not only does that campfire give you a nice and enjoyable space to sit around and socialize with your friends and loved ones, but it also provides light and heat at night. You can cook over a good fire too.

Building a campfire is easy enough, but you may be worried about being bent over and squatting down for too long. Here are some tips to help you get your fire started quick and easy with low strain on the body. 

Make sure that your wood is properly dried and cured and is cut to the proper size. Smaller logs will be easier to carry and place over the fire. Most gas stations and grocery stores will carry bundles of wood that are properly dried and cut nicely. 

You also want to make sure you bring the proper kindling. Kindling is necessary to get the fire started. If your logs are too big, it will be hard to get them to light. 

Lumber scraps make great kindling. They come very dry and light on fire, quickly making the process of starting your fire fast and easy. You can also buy bundles of kindling, and they even have kindling that is treated with flammable substances to make it light even easier. 

With the right kindling, you can get your fire started by building a teepee and then stacking your bigger logs on after the fire is going. If your wood and kindling are properly dry and flammable, you could have a nice fire going within ten minutes!

Hiking

Hiking is great for the body and is one of the best camping activities you can do! It will allow you to check out the wildlife and the natural surroundings around your campsite. 

If you’re feeling up to it and want to go hiking on your camping trip, make sure that you pick a spot with good hikes for your capabilities.

Sightseeing

If you’re not up to hiking, you don’t have to let that hold you back. There are still plenty of natural attractions that you can drive right up to that only require a short walk from the car to see. 

If this is more up your alley, plan accordingly, and do your research. Find an area to camp in with lots of easy to access sightseeing spots. 

Bird Watching

Fancy watching different types of birds in their natural habitat? Bring a pair of binoculars, and you’re set for this enjoyable camping activity. 

Also, be sure to bring your extra comfortable camping chair, and you’ll be ready to watch the birds all day. Bodies of water and rivers especially are great spots for bird watching. Birds can be seen swooping down for fish, and bald eagles are often seen flying over low lying rivers.

Fishing

Fishing is another great activity for seniors. It requires a low amount of activity and can keep you entertained for hours. 

You can even fish from that comfy camping chair that you’re going to bring with you. Just bring your fishing rod, bobber, hook, and bait, and you’re ready to go.

Swimming

Getting in the water is refreshing – especially when your campsite doesn’t have a shower. 

If you want to go swimming during your camping trip, it might be a good idea to find a swimming spot where it is easy to get in. Spots where you need to jump in or climb up onto a dock might be out of the question. Usually, lakes with a beach have a nice decline into the water that makes getting in and out a breeze.

Relaxing

You’re out in the middle of nowhere with no responsibilities or cares to stress you out. This is a great time to relax. You deserve it! 

You can sit by the fire or take a nap in your tent. If you are looking to do some serious relaxing, bring a hammock with you and set it up in the trees or float in the water with a water float.

Star Gazing

Your campsite is likely to have much less light pollution than your home does. A sky filled with bright twinkling stars is becoming all too rare these days. 

Take this opportunity to do some stargazing. You might even see a shooting star! You can make your stargazing session more comfortable by bringing a reclining camp chair with you.

Conclusion

To recap, here are the main ways you can make camping more comfortable if you’re a senior:

  • Know your needs and limitations. 
  • Rent or buy an RV. 
  • Get the right tent. 
  • Bring comfortable bedding. 
  • Bring comfortable camping chairs. 
  • Bring a portable camping stove. 
  • Choose the right campground. 
  • Bring friends or family to help. 
  • Make sure the weather is good. 

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