6 Top Tips for Camping with Friends
If there was such a thing as a universal camping bible, one chapter would have to be camping with friends. Camping with your “chosen family” is different that solo camping or with your blood family. That said, you’ll want to leave the trip with the same great relationship with your besties and buddies that you had going in. After all, anytime you add another human to your vacation time, things get complicated. Namely planning and compromise!
Here are six tried and true tips for camping with friends.
- Know Your Pals and Their Camping Styles.
If you know you have different outdoor tastes, be sure to take this into account before you share a tent. Are your friends going to want a certain type of campground? Perhaps they don’t like to hike as much as you do? Before you plan, find out what they have in mind for their perfect camping trip and have expectations established. Make sure you plan a trip that satisfies everyone’s taste.
- Keep the Group Size Manageable
In other words, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Having a group of 6 or more sounds like fun at the outset, but that’s about the size where logistics start to become a hassle. Much like you wouldn’t organize a basketball team of 10, it’s wise to keep your camping group to 5 or less, unless you plan on a reunion of some sort where a large group is expected.
- Have a Packing Plan
Once expectations are established, organize who is going to pack what. Who will bring the tent(s), who is responsible for the propane grill, what food you will eat, camping chairs, sports equipment, games, etc. That way, you won’t have too little (or too much) of anything. A great tool is to share a Google doc with everyone with a simple spreadsheet of who brings what. It really stinks when you have two dozen bars of chocolate and no marshmallows!
- Give Each Other Space
Just because you are all on a camping trip doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking moment together. Even best friends know this, especially if one or more of you snores! Whether this means sleeping in different tents, or going on day trips with just a couple of people at a time, be sure to respect everyone’s desire for a little alone time. Discussing group activities ahead of time really helps. That way, no one will fill obligated or left out.
- Encourage Each Other to Disconnect
Most every one of us is guilty of too much screen time. Camping is the perfect way to truly unplug and bond together as a group. Put away those phones, those laptops, and iPads. Enjoy nature, enjoy the moment, and most of all, enjoy each other’s company. Sitting around a fire in a group is a tradition enjoyed through the millennia and never gets old.
- Be Flexible
A key to any good relationship is flexibility. And communication! Even if you make all the plans and craft an amazing schedule, things can (and do) go haywire. Being flexible can be more rewarding than sticking steadfastly to an agenda. The weather may not cooperate, one or more of you may fall ill or (heaven forbid) get injured, or some other factor that changes the landscape of your planned activities. Be flexible and learn to go with the flow. You all will be better for it and have a good time. Don’t forget – you are together!