A major new study has revealed how camping in the great outdoors improves people’s well-being and mental health.
The Outjoyment Report was commissioned by The Camping and Caravanning Club and undertaken by a team of academics at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and Sheffield Hallam University.
The study included a survey of nearly 11,000 campers and non campers, assessing their attitudes towards the benefits of all types of camping such as pitching up in a tent, caravan or motorhome, or going glamping.
The report has been published 11 years after the ground-breaking Real Richness Report, also commissioned by the Club and researched by LJMU, which provides a comparison to findings from more than a decade ago.
Some 97 per cent of campers say happiness is their top motivator for going camping while 48 per cent of campers reported feeling happy almost every day, compared with 35 per cent of non-campers.
Sabina Voysey, The Camping and Caravanning Club’s director general, said: “Camping in all its different forms puts us on the doorstep of the great outdoors and provides a clear pathway to a healthier and happier lifestyle – one in which people appreciate nature more and are active outdoors.
“Given the many negative events that have been happening in recent times at home and abroad, anything that helps people to feel better about themselves and each other is vitally important.”
Dr Kaye Richards, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, said: “Camping connects people – to the outdoors, to nature, to each other, and most importantly to themselves.
“Positive emotions generated from outdoor enjoyment help to alleviate everyday stressors and promote feelings of life satisfaction.
“It is no surprise then, that the more people camp the more this can improve happiness and well-being.”
Camping with Children
The Outjoyment Report also examined subjects such as the importance of children going camping as part of their formal education, and how survey respondents felt about healthcare professionals prescribing spending time in natural settings as a remedy for poor mental health.
83 per cent of respondents felt positive about health professionals prescribing spending time in nature as an effective remedy for poor mental health, a significant rise from 58 per cent in our previous study.
And 94 per cent believe children should learn outdoors while 93% think pupils should camp as part of their formal education – a big rise from the 59 per cent of the 2011 report.
Sabina added: “Our vision is for a society in which camping and memorable outdoor experiences can play a full part in building a happier, healthier nation.
“Our goal is to raise the profile of camping and the countryside, and to urge policy-makers in government to harness the findings of our report to shape people’s outdoor enjoyment – especially through camping – as it will ultimately help to make them healthier and happier people.”