10 Things to Know for Your First Camping Trip with Friends - Panergy
1. BUILD A CAMPFIRE
What would camping be without the campfire? It’s the gathering place in the evening for cooking and relaxing. Make sure you have everything you need to make it memorable. That means choosing a campground where fires are allowed, having plenty of firewood, proper cooking equipment, and, most importantly, supplies for s’mores. Make sure everyone has seating and enough clothing to stay warm when the sun goes down.
2. MAKE DINNER AN EVENT
Most groups of friends have at least a few people who enjoy cooking. This is the chance to let them show off. Have each person or family be responsible for a meal. Maybe campfire fajitas one night and a dutch-oven stew the next? A good campfire stove can be very helpful with creative recipes. If some of your group isn’t familiar with cooking outdoors, let them help with a breakfast or lunch, or simply chip in some money to help with the expenses. There’s nothing wrong with hotdogs or ready-to-eat camping meals, but there’s nothing better than a great meal after a day of activity.
3. PICK A MEMORABLE LOCATION
For first-time campers, it’s about where you are as much as who you are with. Cynthia Magana
It’s tough to say no to a beautiful location. Where’s that state or national park that everyone’s always talked about going? Sometimes it just takes one person to get the ball rolling to make it happen. If you’re not much of a camper, this is the location that can sell the activity. Or if you’ve got a group that’s not into traditional camp activities like hiking and fishing, try a camping spot near the ocean and make it a beach getaway as well. Know a bunch of cyclists? Set up camp near the best mountain bike trails. Music lovers may just make the trek to hear their favorite artists at a festival.
4. POOL YOUR RESOURCES
The nice part about camping with a group is that you can significantly pare down the equipment you’ll need. Only one person needs to bring the campfire popcorn popper (and you should bring it, that’s an underrated camping treat), stove, griddle, etc. Chances are that hard-core campers in the group will have extras if someone needs a tent, sleeping bag, lantern, or other supplies.
5. FIND ACTIVITIES WITH WIDE APPEAL
The larger your group, the more the tastes may differ. Some people are happy to spend the day in a hammock reading a book or sitting by the edge of the lake with a fishing rod. Others want to tackle the hardest trail or take the kayak out for a spin. Try to choose a location that gives people some options.
6. CHOOSE GLAMPING
Have some friends who just aren’t going to sleep on the ground? Make it a glamping trip, either in an RV or a cabin. Many campsites offer both options along with tent camping. Have those hard-core campers set up their tents in the campgrounds while those who want a bed can rent cabins. They may also change their mind if you they have the chance to sleep on a Quickset Cot, which is about as close as you can get to a bed in a tent. Even if they choose the cabin, you can all meet together around the campfire each night. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend with an RV, it’s nice to have their kitchen and supplies handy, even if the rest of you are spending the nights in tents.
7. GIVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF SPACE
Camping allows you to see some of the most beautiful parts of the country, like McAfee Knob on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia.
For some first-time campers, their image of spending the night outdoors may be influenced by those adrenaline-fueled advertisements that show backpackers taking the bare minimum on their trip. Car camping tents can give you plenty of space—take advantage of them! A setup like the Desert Canyon 4 Person Tent gives you lots of headroom. If people prefer their privacy, a tent like the Suite Dream 2 Person Tent will still give a couple ample room for stretching out.
8. MAKE IT EASY
If you’ve got a lot of first timers in your group, consider hitting up the closest campground to home. It may not be the most scenic option, but if you know that you’ve only got a 20-minute drive home if things go wrong, it’s a lot easier to convince people to make the trip.
9. GIVE EVERYONE RESPONSIBILITY
Just because some of your friends may not have a lot of camping experience doesn’t mean they can’t contribute to the outing. Have someone create a signature cocktail for the weekend (making sure that alcohol is permitted at the campground). Someone can create a playlist and bring wireless speakers. For a more rustic outing, perhaps someone will bring along the kayaks and organize their use. Or bring along the Frisbees, bocce, badminton, or other games to try. Who wouldn’t want to be in charge of desserts for the weekend?
10. ACCEPT PEOPLE’S LIMITATIONS
While camping may be your favorite thing to do, remember that not everyone feels that way. No problem. Make the offer. If the location is close to home, invite friends along for the day. They can head back at night to sleep in their own beds. They may never be a camper, or you may just light the spark to that gets them to change their mind. Either way, you get to spend time with your friends in the outdoors—which is the point of it all anyway.