The first step to getting outside can be the most daunting for those of us who consider a cable TV outage as roughing it. The most important thing is to just get to the woods, or the beach, or a riverbank, or a mountainside. Next, do whatever you want for a while. Naturally, many newcomers arrive at parks and campsites and don’t know what to do during that second part. Cell reception sucks. Batteries run low. You gotta get creative and bring the right supplies in order to have fun.
Just remember, camping trips don’t need to be complicated. Just get out there with whoever you can get to go with you, turn off your phone, breathe some fresh air, and enjoy doing as little as possible for a while.
Our good friends at Sierra Madre Research have a helpful menu of camping items taken directly from their Nubist hang checklist that should put you on the path to a fun and memorable camping experience.
We’ve also provided our own list to help you plan camping activities based on the size and kind of group you’re with. Enjoy!
NUBIST HANG SUPPLIES CHECKLIST
PARES HAMMOCK + EZSLINGS
SLEEPING BAG AND PAD OR THE INFERNO TOP QUILT / UNDER QUILT
HEADLAMP OR FLASH LIGHT
4 MEALS AND SOMETHING TO BRING TO THE POTLUCK
SNACKS TO EXPERIMENT WITH ON THE FIRE (everything tastes better over a fire)
POCKET KNIFE (a multi-tool is even better)
A TROWEL (for primitive camping bathroom)
WOOD SAW (a pull chain for backpackers)
A GOOD BOOK (we recommend “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson – an entertaining classic and “The Ultimate Hang 2” by Derek Hansen – a guide to hammock camping)
REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLE
HIKING BOOTS AND CAMP SANDALS
TOILETRIES AND A TOWEL
FAVORITE GAME (I.E. EXPLODING KITTENS!)
SOLO TRIP ACTIVITIES
Hike or climb to get to the site where you’ll camp.
Don’t get in too early.
Write or Journal.
Play music (even if it’s bad).
Go on walks and try to see how many birds, plants and flowers you can identify.
Or don’t do anything but laze in the sun to enjoy your time alone.
Treat yourself to a special “Me” meal – don’t forget a few “luxury items” like Oreos.
Take your dog.
Look back on those two tough items after the trip.
KIDS TRIP ACTIVITIES
Start with easy hikes to see how they feel about it.
Consider a National Park. They offer great infrastructure for trips with kids.
Scavenger hunts are great for kids.
Older kids enjoy hide-and-go-seek.
Coloring books and cards are great.
Get them involved by helping with camp, preparing food, gathering firewood.
Bring food treats they are not normally allowed to eat at home like s’mores to make the trip special.
Be sure to take photos to document the experience.
Share stories of family that your children haven’t heard before or that they enjoy. Bond over conversation.
FRIENDS TRIP ACTIVITIES
Just make it a party – drinking is optional.
Bring an instrument, or make one.
Divide up tasks so everyone feels involved.
Take turns cooking, setting up Air Camp, and making fires.
Bring fold up travel games or playing cards.
Create the Hammock Stack.
Go exploring – car camping: go to nearby towns, wilderness camping: find waterfalls and overlooks.
Watch “caveman TV” (zone out in front of the fire).
Games like light-up frisbee, cornhole, chess and checkers, or gamefy chores to see who can set up their Nubé the fastest or pack up their gear first.
Do a mid-trip check-in with everyone to gauge how folks are dealing with hikes or the weather. Nobody wants to be the wet blanket of the trip so it’s good the make adjustments for less experienced campers.
Toss around a football or anything that isn’t noisy.
COUPLES TRIP ACTIVITIES
Try a little romance under the stars in a Pares Hammock.
Make a nice meal together.
Bring wine, hors d’oeuvres, and cheese to class it up by the camp fire.
Bring the Pares and xPlor hammocks so you can hambunk in your Nubé.
Sleep in for some extra snuggle time.
Practice yoga or meditation.
Take time to talk and take a few selfies.
Make sure your significant other is into camping and the outdoors, if not start out with a drive into the country and a short picturesque hike. Or a bit of Glamping to show off the beauty of the outdoors!
LARGE GROUP TRIP ACTIVITIES
For the more experienced group: technical rock climbs, running rapids, and fly-fishing.
Be conscious of everyone’s setup needs, do you need trees or flat ground?
Camp fire time with a group of friends is always epic.
Folks are more likely to try something new when surrounded by friends.
Pool resources and splurge on a guide service to tackle adventures that wouldn’t be safe to try on your own.
Or… just laze with a group of fellow lazies. It can be great.
National Parks are really great for large groups because they offer so many facilities.
Group campouts can be great because they will often include people who otherwise might not even interested.
Play music, play kickball, pull out the Cards Against Humanity game.
Plan a canoe trip.