Summer and Fall are my favorite times to head out into the woods for backpacking and car camping trips. Usually, Alex and I go it alone, but both trips we’ve taken this summer involved friends! The first trip was taking two friends on their first backpacking trip, and this past weekend, we took another set of friends on their first car camping trip as a couple — you’ll probably recognize this couple, I link to them regularly here.
Besides the usual tips of have fun, wear sunscreen, and leave no trace, I put together four tips that are sometimes overlooked on outdoors blogs…and things I hope you’ll find helpful and share with your friends before heading out on your next weekend adventure.
4 Tips for Camping with Friends
Be clear on what people need to bring
Don’t show up to camp not knowing exactly what people are bringing – because what are you going to do if somebody shows up without a tent? Without food? Didn’t bring water? Your friend didn’t bring a jacket, what now? Take time before heading out into the wilderness to make sure that your friends know what to bring, that they have appropriate gear (one friend was going to bring a 4 person car camping tent backpacking with us — he was the only one going to sleep in it), and that they know where you are going. While I was in charge of meal-planning for a recent car camping trip, I totally forgot a bunch of the kitchen necessities – thank goodness our friends were leaving later in the morning and a quick text solved the problem.
Understand that not everybody wants to hang out 24/7
The biggest thing I learned is that this isn’t summer camp – we don’t need to go on every hike together, we don’t need to eat at the same time, we don’t need to go to bed at the same time – Have options. If you’re the one “hosting” your friends (Like when Alex and I took our friends on their first backpacking trip), make sure to make it clear that there are options! We let our friends know that there were a few trails in the area (and to bring supplies with them, just in case), swimming under the waterfall, napping options, and more. We didn’t want our friends to feel like they needed to stay with us the whole time and that there were lots of options!
Take time for yourself
This goes with tip number 2. If you’re an introvert like me and need time to recharge after being around other people, make sure you carve out some time for yourself — and I don’t just mean at the end of the day when you’re about to go to sleep. My friends decided to go on a quick hike so I decided to stay behind to do some reading in camp. I wanted to have some quiet time to myself, lay under the pine trees, and not feel like I was holding people back from having fun. I needed it, and I’m sure they were happy to go off on an “all boys” hike. Maybe you need to take some time in the mornings to have your coffee in peace, or an afternoon siesta so you can be refreshed for the second part of the day, or maybe you plan a whole day to yourself!
Take plenty of photos – and share them!
I think one of my favorite parts of a trip with friends is seeing what they capture on our trip — maybe they found a better angle, caught better light, saw something I totally missed, and I’m likely to be in a few photos! Yes, that sounds super selfish, but as I’m the one usually behind the camera, it’s understandable that I’m happy to have other camera-happy people on a trip. As for sharing photos, Facebook isn’t the only option! Share a Dropbox folder with your friends and dump the photos you think others may want to see into it. Sharing a folder is easy and makes for less texts/emails with chunks of photos at a time. My favorite part? The Dropbox app allows me to create the folder on our way home so I can do a quick mobile upload so I can share the photos right away instead of making my friends wait weeks for me to get around to uploading photos.
What tips do you have for backpacking or camping with friends?