How to Plan A Successful Camping Trip with Friends

Interested in camping with your friends but need help planning your first trip?

We’re here to help.

Camping with your friends can be a superb way to enjoy the wonders of the great outdoors. But, planning your first trip can be a bit overwhelming.

Since camping with friends often involves striking the right balance between everyone’s wants and needs, planning one adventure that works for everyone isn’t always easy. As a result, it’s important that you have a system in place to ensure that everyone has the experience of a lifetime while you’re outside.

To get you started, we created this guide to planning a camping trip with your friends. In this article, we’ll offer up some of our top tips for camping with friends to help everyone in your group make the most of your upcoming trip into the wilderness.

1. Discuss your expectations

group of young adults discussing plans for a camping trip

First things first, before you ever leave home, you’ll want to discuss your camping expectations as a group.

Unless you’ve all camped together many times before, it’s likely that everyone in your group has different expectations of what a camping trip should look like. Unfortunately, if everyone in your group has a different vision in their mind of what their adventure will be like, it will only lead to frustration down the line.

So, taking the time to sit down and chat as a group about what you want to get out of your trip is important. Doing so will help ensure that everyone’s on the same page, whether you’re planning a backpacking trip to Rocky Mountain National Park or a car camping getaway to Zion.

2. Decide on a destination

friends gathered on a wooden table with a map discussing plans for a camping trip

Once you all have a general idea of what you want your trip to look like, it’s time to choose a destination.

While there’s no universal answer about where you should camp when adventuring with friends, we would recommend that you choose somewhere that’s exciting and memorable, like Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Of course, there’s beauty to be found in all natural places. But, finding a camping spot that makes everyone in your group excited about your trip is ideal. That way, you can make sure that everyone feels invested in and committed to your upcoming adventure.

3. Find a time that works for everyone

Man looking at his watch

With work, family, and other commitments taking up much of our time, many of us juggle busy schedules in our day-to-day lives. So, it’s essential that you find a time for your camping trip that really works for everyone.

When camping with a large group, it’s all too easy for someone to feel pressured into committing to a certain date that works best for everyone else, even if it’s not great for their schedule. If this happens, people are more likely to bail on your trip at the last minute, which is a disappointment to everyone.

That being said, it can be really challenging to find a date that really is great for all the people in your group. But it’s important to try to be as inclusive as possible when planning your trip so that no one feels left out during your outing.

4. Craft a menu

healthy food on a camping cooking gear

Food is always a major part of any camping trip, and for good reason. Who doesn’t like to enjoy a tasty meal after the end of a long day of hiking?

When camping with friends, though, food often takes on a whole new layer of fun and community. That’s because mealtimes often turn into social events where everyone can sit back and chat about the day’s activities.

However, food can also be a logistical challenge for some folks, especially if people in your group have dietary restrictions or allergies. Therefore, you’ll want to take the time to craft a menu before leaving home.

When building your menu, you’ll want to take into account any dietary preferences, restrictions, and allergies. If someone has a serious food allergy or intolerance, you may even need to pack separate camping cooking gear, cookware, and coolers to ensure that there won’t be any cross-contamination.

Above all, though, it’s important that everyone will enjoy the food that you have while you’re camping. If there’s one thing that will certainly lead to grumpiness at the campground it’s hungry campers, so packing tasty food that pleases everyone is essential.

5. Choose your activities

camping paddling adventure on a local lake

As we’ve mentioned, everyone has a different idea of what a camping trip will look like. Thus, finding activities that work for everyone is vital if you want your journey to go off without a hitch.

Depending on the experience and comfort levels of your group, your activities may include short day hikes on nearby trails or paddling adventures on a local lake. Whatever you choose, however, it’s critical that you find something that everyone can enjoy.

Alternatively, if there are some folks in your group that are keen on longer adventures while others are interested in a more relaxed outing, you could split up into separate groups for the day. However, be sure to recover each night and share stories about your day over the campfire so that everyone feels like they’re part of the group experience.

Read More : 10 Popular Campfire Games for Adults

6. Divvy up the packing list

friends with their respective camping gears

One of the best parts about camping in a group is that you can divvy up the packing list.

When camping on your own, you’re solely responsible for packing everything from your 2-person tent to your stove and air mattress. But, if you’re camping with friends, everyone can take responsibility for certain aspects of the packing list.

For example, some people can volunteer to bring the camping chairs while others can be responsible for bringing the camp kitchen. That way, everyone can contribute to the camping experience.

Read More : How to Pack Light for Your Next Camping Trip

7. Give everyone a role

This might sound like a tactic from kindergarten, but giving everyone in your group a role for your trip can do wonders for your group morale.

Even if you’re camping with your best friends, everyone’s unique personality plays out in different ways while outside. Indeed, while some folks are keen to lead by example, others prefer to work silently in the background to support the group.

However, people can easily get frustrated with each other if they feel like other group members aren’t doing their fair share of the camp chores. To remedy this issue, everyone can volunteer for a role during the trip, such as head chef or chief gear organizer.

That way, everyone can feel like they made a meaningful contribution to the success of the trip.

8. Consider booking multiple campsites

camping tents distanced from each other

Camping with your friends often means spending a lot of time in close contact with a group of people.

For some folks, particularly people who are naturally quite introverted, all this social interaction can feel overwhelming.

In these instances, it can often help to book multiple campsites at your local campground. In fact, even just a few hundred feet of separation and added personal space can be enough to ensure that everyone can relax and recover from a long day of activity.

Read More : 11 Tips and Tricks to Pick the Perfect Campsite

9. Spend your evenings together

friends chatting and singing around the campfire in the evening

Regardless of what you plan for your daytime activities during your camping trip, your evenings should be spent together as a group.

Sitting around the campfire and chatting away with your friends is often the highlight of any group camping adventures, so prioritizing these experiences is important.

If possible, it’s worth planning to have dinner together every night, even if you’re staying in separate campsites. Then, you can plan to have a fire after dinner where everyone can sit back and unwind in each other’s company.

Oh, and if you’re looking to spice up your evenings, it’s always worth bringing some camping games on your trip. A few rounds of a silly game can be just what you need to get everyone laughing and chatting away during your evening campfire.

Read More : 10 Fun Drinking Games to Keep the Campfire Going

10. Be flexible

group of mature women happily talking and walking along the campsite

Last but not least, don’t forget to be flexible while camping with friends.

Everyone experiences camping differently and, for some, spending a lot of time outside can feel stressful or overwhelming.

At the end of the day, being flexible with each other and open to changes in the itinerary can help everyone feel more at ease during your trip. This will make it easier for you and your friends to create fond memories that will last a lifetime.

Gaby Pilson

Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.