From bears, falling trees, sleepwalking incidents, and more, the internet is coming together to reveal their scariest camping experiences, and they aren’t holding back.
The viral Reddit post posed the question “What’s your scariest camping experience,” and it has garnered 19,500 upvotes and 5,900 comments. Redditor @Dolphins_With_Dildos shared the post to the subreddit “Ask Reddit,” and people weighed in with their stories and experiences.
Camping is a favorite pastime beloved by many people all over the world. It has been around for a long time, but recreational camping was founded by Thomas Hiram Holding, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. He wrote the first edition of the book The Camper’s Handbook in 1908, and he also founded the very first camping club in the world in 1901 called the Association of Cycle Campers.
In North America, people were camping recreationally from around the early 1870s. Smithsonian Magazine reported minister William HH Murray wrote the guidebook Camp-Life in the Adirondacksor Adventures in the Wilderness in 1869, and he is credited with bringing camping to America.
Data shows that camping is still popular, especially during the COVID pandemic. According to research from Campgrounds of America’s annual North American Camping Report, in 2021 the number of first-time campers was 9.1 million. The number of households who camped at least one time in 2021 was 56.9 million, which is an increase from the following year when 48 million households camped. In 2020, the number of first-time campers in the country had grown “five-fold,” according to a previous KOA report.
Reddit weighed in, and some people experienced strange encounters involving other people. One such Redditor was solo camping “in the middle of nowhere.” When they awoke in the morning, “someone had made a cup of tea and partially drunk it in the middle of the night. No sign of anyone anywhere.”
Others went through scary moments as kids, and one such Redditor revealed they experienced “sheer terror” when they were a child at a boy scout summer camp. A kid left a few Airheads out on the picnic table, and it attracted a different crowd.
“Everyone woke up in the middle of the night to, no joke, 30 [plus] raccoons fighting over Airheads and going into tents looking for more food,” the user said.
Another Redditor was around 8, and they didn’t want to sleep in a tent with their sister, so they slept on a cot out under the stars. The child woke up, and a bear was “sniffing” their head and neck.
“I was basically paralyzed with fear, the bear left me and went to sniff around for snacks,” the Redditor expressed. “It made enough noise to wake my parents who then scared [it] away I moved my cot into my sister’s tent immediately after.”
While another person experienced a close call at around 5 years of age when they “slept-walked out my tent and off a small cliff in [North Carolina] into a lake. Woke up down there, then screamed until my parents found me.”
Another user thought their tent was “being attacked by three bears,” but that wasn’t the case. “[It] turns out someone’s dogs just got loose, and the light outside made them look gigantic.”
A Redditor revealed when they were young, their family was camping in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. “There was a bad storm that rolled in unexpectedly, and in the middle of the night, there was a loud cracking sound and a boom. A tree had fallen and landed on a woman sleeping in her tent not that far from our site. Needless to say, she was killed. I remember being scared of the woods for a time, especially during storms.”
Another Redditor admitted they were “wandering in Switzerland,” and they put a tent up. At night, they heard “rumbling,” and they opened up their tent to see a “shadow rushing down” before them and “crashing into the ground with force.”
“Rock Fall!” they revealed. “I went rogue mode and just pulled the tent away from its spot. Just then, a gigantic rock crashed into the position where my tent was about four seconds ago. I ran away while pulling my tent with me until I found a better space to camp.”
Another bear encounter occurred involving a Redditor and a black bear, which ripped open the user’s tent and was in the process of coming inside.
“That’s when I shot him point-blank with my 41-magnum killing him,” they said. “And no, there was no food in the tent.”
Some experienced nature at its rawest. One Redditor has been camping twice during an “unexpected tornado,” and they revealed that hearing trees falling around in the middle of the night as water poured inside the tent was “pretty scary.”
“I was probably like 12, and my younger sister and I had our own tent,” the Redditor said. “We were side by side screaming at each other, and we couldn’t even hear what the other was saying because the wind was so loud.”
Newsweek reached out to Redditor @Dolphins_With_Dildos for comment.
This isn’t the only situation involving camping. The glamping trend was pricing out tent campers at a national park. Rock climbers sleeping in mid-air tents shocked viewers. In addition, young siblings died after a tree fell on a golf cart during a camping trip.