5 Expert Tips on How to Workout While Camping

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So you’re going camping and don’t want to skimp on your fitness routine: here’s my guide on how to workout while camping based on my 17 years of physical therapy practice, crossfit and yoga coaching.  

Author’s TL;DR: The answer is yes, you can and should workout while camping so you can enjoy more of those s’mores without worry.

💡 Hot take:💡 There’s a surprising amount of different exercises you can do, and you can even bring sneaky weights with you that fit perfectly into the natural lifestyle.

Morgan’s Outdoor Workout Video

I have been obsessed with outdoor workouts for years, there’s something about being in the Great Outdoors that is truly satisfying. But I know that it’s essential to stay healthy with exercise.

| Explorer Fitness Tip

Enjoy your Nature-based strength workout in the comfortable and discreet Omorpho G-Vest+ Weighted Vest. Keep your adventures brimming, but packed lightly of worries!

If you love exploring the wilderness but don’t love the feeling of losing your gains it might be for you, but it’s not for everyone.

  • 🥾 Mountaineers, Trekkers, Hikers
  • 🌏 Off-the-Beaten Path Travelers
  • 🌲 Nature & Wellness Enthusiasts

Camping is awesome and provides a total relaxation just waiting for an adventurous traveler like you. Let me show you some of the easiest ways to workout camping.

🧭 Read until the end for my insider travel tips from a physical therapist hiking, camping & travel addict.

You will also like:
🥾 Discover the best hikes in Europe.
⛰ Take a look at the best things to do in the Dolomites.

5 Tips : How to Workout While Camping

1. What about hiking for exercise?

girl going hiking how to workout while camping
From our last trip hiking in the German Alps. It’s a workout for sure!

Absolutely! There’s a lot of different ways you can get a workout while hiking if you want to make it even more intense. Just don’t make your friends miserable in the process with these tips.

For starters, with no extra gear you could simply go on additional trails. More hiking = more calories burned, simple as that. Picking longer trails is also an easy way to increase difficulty.

And since no one brings weights like ankle weights / dumbbells with them to go camping, try wearing a heavy backpack while you hike for some extra challenge. (If you already hike like this often, you can skip this one. Or just make your backpack even heavier.)

2. Weighted Vests to the Rescue for workouts camping

As a physical therapist and avid hiker, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to improve my fitness and overall health and provide recommendations for people that don’t want to follow the traditional “gym-path”.

That’s why I was intrigued when I heard about the science-based benefits of using a weighted vest during exercise, the boost it gives walking, weight loss, and as a way to combat osteoporosis.

So I cancelled my crossfit membership and decided to do a month of weighted vest strength training (other than Murph) and am very pleased with the results.

It’s a great mode for strength and agility training for all ages and ability levels. From hardcore to really gentle, it’s very versatile and especially great for women who want to strength traing but prefer the outdoors and not a smelly gym.

Best Overall
Omorpho G-Vest+

What we like:  The vest is made of high-quality materials that are designed to last. The outer layer is made of durable nylon, while the inner lining is made of breathable mesh that helps keep you cool and comfortable during even the most intense workouts.

  • Pros: Bluetooth link, microload, stylish
  • Cons: Max at 4 lbs, pricey

Note: This high quality vest is made to be form-fitting.

3. Next up, tried and true bodyweight exercises

If you need a refresher, calisthenic exercises just means using your body weight to provide resistance.

They’re one of my favorite examples of how to exercise while camping because they can be done virtually anywhere.

  1. Pushups
  2. Crunches
  3. Squats
  4. Lunges
  5. Burpees
  6. Jumping jacks
  7. Tree branch pull ups (if nature allows)
  8. Dips off of stumps / logs

You really can hit almost every part of your body if you’re creative enough with your surroundings! I recommend not relying on any part of nature outside of what’s immediately around you – we don’t want to disturb it or ruin the experience for future campers down the line!

As far as routine goes, it really depends on your level of fitness and what you’re trying to do. For beginners, I’d recommend doing three sets of ten for each exercise (barring burpees and pullups) Feel free to adjust that number to what feels right for you. Exercise while camping should be fun, not punishing!

4. Let’s examine a staple of how to stay fit while camping: go for a jog

ways to workout while camping

Camping offers one of the most unique ways to get your running fix in by allowing you to do it in nature! Jogging in unfamiliar terrain, surrounded by nature and fresh air is such a refreshing experience that you have to try if you haven’t before.

Even if the trails themselves don’t lend well to running (which they usually do, but a little research can go a long way.) You can usually jog alongside the roads around the campground. Obviously make sure this is allowed where you’re staying first! If it is, these roads are perfect since traffic is never crazy and in the early mornings, practically non existent.

5. Really want to up your cardio? Go for a swim

Swimming is a fantastic way to workout while camping. I love to get in the water after a day on the trails just to give my feet a break and wash the sweat off.

Not to mention, some campgrounds are known for their water attractions and rock faces to jump off of! What’s not to like about that?

Be sure to make sure the water you’re swimming in is allowed by the park and otherwise safe before jumping in. There’s plenty of other ways to scratch the exercise itch.

BONUS: Don’t overlook resistance bands for an easy tool to bring on a workout

Resistance bands can be a great way to get a workout in while you camp. What I like about them is the ability to isolate smaller muscles that calisthenics lack.

For example: bicep curls are very easy to do by standing on the middle of them. You can also work your triceps by pulling them behind you as well. (This is of course assuming it’s a longer band! Shorter ones will use different techniques for these exercises.)

They can even be used to amplify the resistance on an exercise like squats, for example. The sky really is the limit when it comes to what you can do with a good resistance band.

Now you have a ton of ways to exercise in the wild

Hopefully by now your head is full of ways to answer the question “How to workout while camping?”

Jogging is one of my personal favorites because it really only requires a pair of running shoes and you’re off. It’s a great way to sneak out of camp in the morning to get a little extra workout in before most people are even awake! I can say that it does help to bring extra socks if you plan on doing this one though.

Calisthenic exercises are an easy fit for working out while camping because they require nothing but willpower. (And a little willingness to look silly while doing them.) They really work though and beat doing nothing. If I’ve got the down time and I’m bored, why not do some pushups or dips?

Swimming can be a difficult exercise to fit in on a hiking trip, usually because the weather isn’t great for it. It definitely takes some courage to get in colder water and do your thing – not to mention it can be a hassle to deal with dressing and what not. But when it works out? Amazing.

Resistance bands, while requiring you to pack an additional thing, really don’t take up much space and can round out the experience. Since they aren’t the hardest workout by themselves, that makes them great for camping. Why? Because you’re probably going to be tired from all the hiking itself! Easy motivation knowing they won’t drain you like doing burpees will.

Obviously though one of the best (and most inconspicuous) ways of exercising while camping is just flat out hiking more. Every now and then even with my experience, I’ll go on a longer trail thinking “Oh 6 miles isn’t THAT far…” and on the way back to camp realize the error of my ways. I love the extra time in nature, but it can hit HARD! Add a weighted backpack to the equation and you’ve got even more challenge on your hands.

Final Verdict: Most Effective Outdoor Workout Gear

Best Overall
Omorpho G-Vest+

What we like:  The vest is made of high-quality materials that are designed to last. The outer layer is made of durable nylon, while the inner lining is made of breathable mesh that helps keep you cool and comfortable during even the most intense workouts.

  • Pros: Bluetooth link, microload, stylish
  • Cons: Max at 4 lbs, pricey

Note: This high quality vest is made to be form-fitting.

More Resources

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We hope this guide filled with interesting information about the how to workout while camping has given you the proper information to plan your next adventure and stay fit.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.