Etiquette Tips For Camping with Friends and Family

Couples Camping

Couples Camping © Steve Prezant/Corbis

You can’t change your friends and family, but you can change the way you camp with them. Some moderate planning can make a big difference in your camping experience together. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your camping trips with loved ones:

Shared Space
In some areas, the outdoors still has boundaries, and it’s important to honor both the environment and neighboring campers. If you are planning to visit a drive-up or RV campground, make sure you have reserved a site that can accommodate your entire group plus equipment, to avoid encroaching on neighboring sites. It’s also nice to offer neighbors a hand with tents or with getting a campfire lit. Good stewards leave no trace of trash, but leaving a bit of firewood for the next group in your spot is always a welcomed gesture.

Morning Oatmeal: Dudley Edmonsdon

Morning Oatmeal: Dudley Edmonsdon

Plan your meals together at home and share the shopping tasks so there are no surprises. Meat eaters might eat vegetarian fare, but don’t expect your vegetarian friends and family members to eat the steak and bacon you brought, even if it is free range and hormone free! Decide on meal plans that accommodate everyone.

Marva and Daughter: Marva Cherry Flowers

Marva and Daughter: Marva Cherry Flowers

If you have kids, and are planning to camp with folks without children, discuss logistics, such as the possibility of hands-on help with recreation or watching over little ones. If everyone is bringing little ones, get a watch routine together, so all the adults can plan for breaks in the action.

If your camping mates are all persons of color, don’t assume folks want to hear Li’l Wayne on blast all weekend.   Bring acoustic instruments, like a hand drum or guitar that can be enjoyable and easy to play, even if you are not an expert. Singing or telling stories, while gathered around a campfire is classic, and timeless.

Some drink, others don’t; some like Bud Light, others like Grey Goose. Discuss and get clear regarding alcohol consumption preferences, and know your campground policy on alcohol in advance (see Nancy’s comment below!).

Above all…just chill

Camping trips are a time to let go, and go with the flow. You might stay up ’til the wee hours to stargaze; your kids might eat a ton of s’mores, and all of you might laugh louder than you ever would at home after a long day at work. Enjoy it all! The best part of my own camping plan is to leave the city constraints behind and have fun!

What are some of your tips and experiences when camping with friends and family?

Chillin': Dudley Edmondson

Chillin’: Dudley Edmondson

11 Thoughts on “Etiquette Tips For Camping with Friends and Family”

  • Great advice all around. Thanks!

    Better check about the alcohol policy in general. Our policy is governed by state law prohibiting all public use or display. Getting a summons is a real downer on a camping trip!

  • Great tips. I especially like the last one – Just Chill. Sometimes when camping we find ourselves trying to fit too many activities into a short period of time. Some time should be set aside for ‘Just chillin’..

    • I completely agree. People sometimes place way too much emphasis on making every moment entertaining, rather than just ‘being’ in the outdoors…Thanks for your comment!

  • Agreed, and I would add to bring along a couple of education tools like a bird book if someone has one, binoculars if someone has one, or a magnifying glass, star gazing materials, animal track booklet, stuff you could study while in the outdoors so you can learn some details about your surroundings.

    Humm…time to plan my next camping trip. Reading about it makes me want to be there!

  • Great post and great info. We have that same fold-able Coleman stove as you show in the picture above. We love it because it’s so portable! Also, we camp in a few local state parks that don’t allow alcohol, so we always bring our “coffee cups”.

    • This site is geared toward both the regular AND novice camper. To help more people become “regulars”, it helps to spread the no-so-common knowledge around don’t you think?

  • All is good ,but in the Northeast ,Appalashia in particular eating closer than 50 yards from where you sleep.Invites many unwanted animals ,tosmells and odors they will investigate!A run in with Black Bear would cancel all plans of future ventures into the wilderness,Tenzing

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