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Can you persuade someone who hates the outdoors to go camping?

Timothy Martinez Jr.

We all know at least one person. Maybe it’s your neighbor or maybe your coworker. Maybe it’s your cousin or even your spouse. Whoever it is, we all know someone who has never been camping or, even worse, hates camping.

It’s not a surprise that not a lot of people like to go camping (or even have the desire). For many, the thought of spending time away from computers, air conditioning, real beds and home-cooked food is overwhelming and unappealing.

In fact, quite a number of people are anti-camping, but the truth is many of these people have probably never had a truly amazing camping experience.

For example, a recent story in, writer Kim Schneider documented her time going on a camping trip with a newbie camper who learned to hate camping from one bad experience long ago. She hated it so much, she even has a bag that says “I love not camping.”

The article was actually brilliant because it brought to light Michigan’s First Time Campers Program, which gives people who have never camped in Michigan an opportunity to go basically free of charge.

This was the first time I’d ever heard of the program and I think it’s an ingenious idea to get people more enthusiastic about the outdoors.

As a first time camper, you get two nights of camping with all the camping gear provided (tent, camp stove, fishing poles, etc.) and instructions from experienced rangers. Everything is just $20 and the article says you get a $20 gift certificate so it’s essentially free.

By the end of the article, her friend had thoroughly enjoyed herself enough to take away that camping is not all that bad.

That got me thinking about how regular campers could implement a sort of First Time Camper Program to encourage their friends to go camping for the first time (or for the first time since a past traumatic experience). So, I offer this as a challenge to take someone out on a camping trip to show them why camping is so wonderful.

If you are successful at making someone a believer or if you’ve already tried something like this, we’d love to hear about it. Your ideas might inspire others who are thinking about it.