Does Camping Count as a Hobby? We Checked Authoritative Sources

A camping trip is an opportunity to experience a natural environment and opens the door to a wide variety of sports and activities that are only available in these remote locations. Camping brings enjoyment to many, but not all people, so can it be classified as a hobby?

Camping is a recreational hobby, done outside of occupational norms, according to dictionary definitions. While types of camping vary, all are done to bring enjoyment, relaxation, and pleasure. Like any other hobby, camping is not for everyone, but it is an enjoyable hobby for those who choose it.

There are many qualities of camping that support its classification as a hobby and many campers that will attest to its positive effects. Authoritative sources on what defines a “hobby” clearly include traditional tent camping, as well as many other types of outdoor activities done while camping.

Dictionary Definitions for “Hobby”

Camping is when an individual or group lives in a tent for a time, generally in the outdoors to enjoy nature. It is a recreational activity done for pleasure, and enjoyment, and is often associated with relaxation.

To define whether camping can be classified as a hobby, authoritative sources should be consulted. Below are listed several dictionary definitions defining the word “hobby”.


“A pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.”

Oxford English Dictionary

“An activity that you do for pleasure when you are not working.”

Collins English Dictionary

“Something that you enjoy doing in your spare time.”

In conclusion, a hobby is an activity done for pleasure, enjoyment, or relaxation that is separated from work. Camping can bring these positive feelings to those who enjoy being out in nature and is done on recreational or leisure time, clearly placing it within each definition of a hobby.

Camper’s Descriptions

A large group of people online were asked why they enjoy camping. People described the experience as “peaceful, quiet, pleasant, relaxing, enjoyable, cleansing, and detoxifying”.

These campers used the same three words to describe camping as the dictionaries used to define a hobby: pleasant, enjoyable, and relaxing. Camping is done in free time, often to escape from work and other responsibilities, just as described in these definitions. According to these dictionary definitions and many campers, camping is a hobby done for pleasure outside of one’s regular work or occupation.

Why is Camping Not Considered a Sport?

While it is clear that camping is a hobby, some people argue that camping cannot be a hobby because it is a sport. Although camping may seem to some like something physically challenging and therefore like a sport, camping is actually not a sport. Here is why.

Sports are physical competitions that require physical effort, strength, or skill. In sporting events, games, and competitions, individuals and groups, or teams, compete for a winning party. Common sports include basketball, football, volleyball, baseball, golf, dance, swimming, and others.

Camping is not a sport because it requires no competitive factors or opportunities. No one wins or loses when camping for a commendable or poor performance. There are also no teams in camping, it is simply done for the enjoyment and pleasure of all participants. People engaged in camping itself are most often relaxing, avoiding the physical effort of sport.

While camping itself is not a sport, there are opportunities to participate in outdoor sports while camping. Those camping near mountains can participate in mountain biking or four-wheeling, where competitors race to be the fastest or the first one down the hill. Most camping areas have trails on which the sport of trail running can be enjoyed.

Campers near lakes, rivers, streams, or other bodies of water can choose from a variety of watersports. Fishing is a less physically demanding sport that often pairs nicely with the relaxing camping environment. In safe and calm waters, campers often go swimming. Kayaking, paddle boarding, waterskiing, and boating are also available when camping near water.

This means that while camping can place people near outdoor sports, camping itself is clearly not a sport. Because it is not a sport, camping is safely classified as a hobby, an activity done aside from occupational work to provide pleasure, enjoyment, and relaxation.

Are All Types of Camping Hobbies?

There are many types of people and interests in the world, just as there is a wide variety of hobbies to choose from and enjoy. In this same way, there are many different types of camping to suit all interests and locations. With so many types of camping, are they all considered hobbies?


When backpacking, one loads all of the gear, clothing, food, and supplies for the trip into a backpack. Then, backpackers walk, climb, or hike over distances and set up a tent or shelter to camp for the night, or a short time before moving on to a new location.

Backpacking can also be defined as a hobby because it is done by people who enjoy exercise and being outdoors. As is true of any other type of hobby, backpacking is not for everyone, but for those who love adventure, exerting physical strength, and the outdoors, backpacking is a fun and satisfying recreational activity.

RV or Trailer Camping

While “camping” in an RV or trailer does not involve a tent, it can also be considered a type of camping, because it often requires participants to leave the comforts of a permanent home for another type of temporary mobile home in nature. This can be a relaxing break from street sounds and city lights for a time away from work and responsibilities.


Some outdoor lovers enjoy camping on rafting trips. This involves rafting during a portion or the entire duration of the day and setting up a campsite to spend the night on shore. Water rafting during the day is a wonderful activity for those who enjoy this time of active water hobby.

Camping can be a pleasantly calm and peaceful way to spend the evening and night after a long day of energy-driven rafting on the river.

Ice Caving

Ice caving is where campers go out to a cold location, generally in the winter, where there is ice and snow present. Participants then carve out or create a cave-like pocket to sleep inside for the night or spend the night time within a previously formed ice cave.

This is obviously not a hobby for those who dislike the cold or being outside too strongly. It is, however, very enjoyable for winter adventurers who choose to participate in their free time, making camping, by definition, a hobby.

John Olsen

John Olsen is a seasoned adventurer with 20 years of writing, public speaking, team leadership, analytics and project management experience.

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