Camping is a fun activity for the whole family. It strengthens the bond between you and your children, parents, and siblings. However, some kids want to go on a camping trip without their parents, which can be a good experience if they are responsible enough. Although, a lot of campsites do not allow minors.
Most U.S. campgrounds do not issue permits or reservations to anyone under the age of 18. Minors must be accompanied by an adult who will take all responsibility for the group or individuals who are under the age of 18.
In this article, we will highlight information about camping age restrictions, how minors can go camping alone, a list of advantages and disadvantages of doing so, and tips to consider when allowing minors to go camping.
There are a lot of important things that you need to bring when you’re going camping. Because of that, packing can get a bit overwhelming. We listed all the camping items you’ll need for the great outdoors to help you make sure that you have everything that you need for your camping trip.
Should I let my 16-year-old go camping?
You can, but it depends whether or not the state park will issue a permit or give them campground reservations. Although most campgrounds allow minors, they usually have to be accompanied by adults. If there may be age restrictions on private campgrounds, for dispersed camping or camping outside a private campground, there are none.
How to Go Camping Without an Adult
Minors can still go camping without adults. However, they need to ask permission from their parents and let them know about their plans and expected date and time of arrival for safety purposes. Here is how you can go camping without an adult’s supervision:
1. Have your parents/guardian reserve a campsite for you
Check for campground rules to make sure you can have an adult reserve a site for you without having to bring them along.
2. Camp on private facilities with permission from the owner
If you know the owner of the campground, it is best to contact them directly to explain your plans. Let them know that you are responsible and will respect their rules.
3. Go for a dispersed camping trip on national forests
Dispersed camping in state-owned land and national forests is another option for camping without adults. But before you head out, make sure you research the area, are prepared, and will follow the rules and regulations.
Advantages of Letting Minors Go Camping Alone
Here are some of the reasons why you should let minors camp alone.
Camping provides many positive mental and physical health benefits. It is a good stress-reliever and a good activity to give yourself time. Allowing anyone under the age of 18 to go camping alone can give them a sense of freedom, which can help them develop their character.
Freedom can have a huge impact on someone’s life. It will allow them to learn accountability and trust. Also, it gives the camper a chance to prove that they are responsible. Aside from that, allowing minors to camp alone can allow them to improve their skills. Not just survival skills, but also mental and emotional ones. Overall, this can help them form a strong and firm personality that will benefit them in the years to come.
2. Peace of Mind
Anyone may struggle in life, regardless of their age, race, and gender. Given that, it is important for the youth to develop and maintain peace of mind. A camper under the age of 18 can attain peace of mind if granted permission to go camping alone.
Camping is not only an effective relaxant but also the perfect activity to find peace of mind. Peace and tranquility can be achieved by simply waking up surrounded by nature and an opportunity to try out new outdoor experiences.
3. Survival Skills
Allowing anyone under the age of 18 to camp alone can help improve their survival skills. These skills could help them later in life, especially when they may need to defend themselves, provide for themselves, and more. Plus, it can also help them be more creative and resourceful.
Disadvantages of Letting Minors Go Camping Alone
Although it can be a good idea to allow minors to go camping alone, there are also some disadvantages.
1. They Could Get Lost
One of the disadvantages of letting minors camp alone is that they can get lost. If they are unaware of the campground guidelines and the area itself, they can get lost. They could also get into the wrong campsite without being able to ask anyone for help.
2. It Can Be Dangerous
Allowing minors to go camping alone can put them in danger since campgrounds are located in forests, mountains, woods, and other remote areas. The wilderness itself offers a lot of dangers, such as wild animals, cliffs, holes, and much more, thus putting their lives in danger.
3. Lack of Knowledge and Experience
Another reason why it is not a good idea to let minors camp alone is their lack of knowledge and experience, especially in the wilderness. Camping is not that easy, and although it is a fun activity, minors may not have enough experience and knowledge to deal with potential incidents.
There are tons of amazing campgrounds scattered all over USA. If you’re looking for suggestions, we have a list of our top 10 best campgrounds that you definitely need to check out.
Things to Consider When Allowing Minors to Go Camping Alone
Allowing your child to spend some time outdoors without the company of adults can be very scary for parents. To help calm your nerves about this situation, here are a few things that you can do to help ensure that your child will be safe and have fun during their camping trip.
Make sure they bring enough supplies, including water, food, medicine, a first-aid kit, and more. You should consider the possible dangers around the campsite and encourage them to bring appropriate gear or supplies to be ready for anything.
As much as possible, you have to be able to communicate consistently. This will help parents/guardians feel more relieved knowing that the campers are safe and reachable. Therefore, it is important that they bring radios, cell phones, and any gadget that can be used to communicate when in remote areas. A GPS tracker connected to the camper is another way to locate them.
Minors who want to go camping alone must stay alert at all times. Camping has a lot to offer, whether enjoyable or dangerous. Thus, staying alert and quick to respond can help save their lives. They should also have enough knowledge on how to defend themselves against animals and humans.
Whether you should allow anyone under the age of 18 to camp alone depends on their experience, knowledge, and confidence in doing so. The minor should also be responsible enough and research the rules and regulations of the campground to avoid doing anything that could harm themselves or others. It is also important that they know basic survival skills, how to operate camping equipment, how to use a first-aid kit, and what to do in situations involving wild animals or natural disasters.
If you are under 18, you may not be able to rent a campsite at a state park. However, some private campgrounds may allow you to do so. If you decide to go on a dispersed camping trip, you should do your research first, check local laws and regulations, and not do anything that could damage the environment.
Enjoy your camping activities while staying safe and vigilant. Also, check in with your parents or guardians from time to time, ask for their help if needed, and let them know that you are safe. As long as you do these things, you’ll be able to complete your camping trip without any problems.