As temperatures drop, pitching a tent may seem less appealing then, say, staying inside and making a fort of couch pillows. I get it.
If you want to keep the outdoor spirit alive, but still enjoy the comfort of the indoors, these 10 camping movies may make for a good compromise. Maybe you’ll even pick up a few tips for the real thing when the weather gets more tolerable. For an extra authentic touch, be sure to pick up the ingredients for s’mores along with popcorn before settling in to watch these classics.
1. “Moonrise Kingdom”
This Wes Anderson flick contains all his usual signature traits, but has a lot of nods to scouting and camping. You’ll get a chuckle out of the ’60s-era gear pictured in the film and the confidence of the protagonist at surviving in the wild. As a camper, you’ll empathize with the desire of the two characters to escape the complexities of civilized living.
2. “The Blair Witch Project”
This may be more of a horror film, but there are quite a few campers who have heard a snap or crackle in the woods late at night and thought of this film. While not for the motion-sickness due to the camera work, this film is a pioneer of the “found footage” horror genre and after seeing the plight campers in this film, you’ll be reminded that no matter what goes on during your own camping trip, things could always be worse.
3. “The Great Outdoors”
This comedy featuring Dan Akroyd and John Candy takes places on a picturesque Wisconsin lake. It’s a much more light-hearted take on everything that can go wrong on camping trips, from invading bears and raccoons to pesky neighboring campers. The film’s hijinks are good for a laugh and can remind us to look for the funny side of things that might not go as planned on a camping trip.
4. “The Kings of Summer”
Who remembers running away from home as a child, certain you could make it on your own? That’s the premise driving this film, and it goes about as well for the main characters as it probably did for you. Still, it’s an amusing film that is sure to stir some nostalgia about youthful summer camping and playing outdoors with friends.
5. “Without a Paddle”
Three hapless friends take to the woods to hunt down a treasure, experiencing the worst nature, and man, has to offer along the way. The events the campers get into are unlikely, but will strike a chord for people who have a lot of good memories camping or road tripping with their buddies.
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6. “Into the Wild”
This film is based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who abandoned a traditional post-graduate life and attempted to live independently in the wilds of Alaska. This is a more serious film and a sobering reminder of being prepared and humble before going into the woods, but many campers will also relate to McCandless’ sense of adventure and abandon.
I know, I know, this film has probably scared more people away from camping trips than anything, but it’s still a gripping film that showcases some incredible outdoor survival skills from several characters, particularly Burt Reynold’s character, Lewis. You might even be surprised to find yourself wanting to go on a canoe trip yourself at the film’s conclusion.
8. “Man of the House”
This childhood classic features a father-son program called the Indian Guides, where the characters go on a big camping trip at the film’s climax. Campers who grew up taking trips with their fathers, scouting, or just ’90s kids in general will find a lot to relate to in this movie.
9. “Stand by Me”
This coming-of-age film recounts the tale of several boys who go on a hiking and camping trip to see a dead body. This is another film that features some timeless situations most campers have experienced at one time or another, and the friendships that can be strengthened with the people you face these challenges with.
A silly movie but childhood staple nonetheless, this movie serves up laughs for kids of my generation who didn’t get enough of Daniel Stern being beat up on “Home Alone.” It was especially interesting to watch Stern’s character’s inept survival skills in comparison with the very capable scout leader who dogs him throughout the movie.
So, cozy up when the weather is nasty and watch some movies about camping instead of venturing outside.