Camping With Friends

Holiday weekends are best spent with friends enjoying the good life outdoors and on Christy's new boat at the lake!

Guest blogger, Christy Rogers, returns this week to share her thoughts about camping with friends. 

Camping with friends is one of my most favorite things to do! In fact, in my tribe, we plan large camping gatherings for MONTHS in advance. Particularly around holidays. Some of our favorite camping times of year are Thanksgiving and Easter. I’m telling you, these friends of mine are crazy with the spreadsheets and calendars! We have a mix of folks who join our adventures: married couples, little kids, bigger kids, long time unmarried couples and singles, like myself. I’m grateful to have besties who have an AMAZING camper and are always willing to share their space with me! In fact, we pretty much decided last year that one would buy the boat and one would buy the camper, and we’d be good to go! I bought the boat. ;) Let’s just say we’ve had a great summer and are looking forward to another great fall!

Hiking with friends on a camping weekend!

There is a saying that is so powerful—because it is true: “Expectations are a killer!” When we set ourselves up with an expectation of how we want something to go, we are really setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment. At least if we are having other humans join us! The number one thing I’ve learned about group activities like camping is to be flexible and not to hold on to my expectations. Things are much more enjoyable when I’m not disappointed about not getting my way. This is a key priority for any group activity and especially camping since you can almost guarantee you’re going to add being short on sleep and high on activity to the mix!

Tent camping before the new camper.

I don’t know about you, but as I get older, things like sleep, comfort, and downtime become more important to me. When we are camping, especially in a large group of people, we don’t always want to go to bed at the same time nor do we always want to do exactly what everyone else is doing in any given moment. I take earplugs with me EVERYWHERE. And I’ve learned that a Tylenol PM helps tremendously with getting to sleep when I’m not necessarily bedded down in the most comfortable bed in town! (i.e.—dining room table in the camper) Also, when you’re sleeping in a camper with other people, you can feel every movement. That means if you’re with an early riser, you’re probably going to rise early, too! I try to go to bed early enough to factor all of that in and I also try to work in a nap during the day whenever possible. Not to mention, camping should be relaxing anyway, so a nap is always a great way to relax. Even if I don’t fall asleep, I do have a chance to catch up on reading, podcasts, etc…and just get some rest.

Camping afternoons are best spent with friends in a hammock!

I know not everyone will have a spreadsheet and a dozen group texts from their group camping “leader” to help plan their trip, but do plan. Someone MUST take that action. Clear and complete communication about who is bringing what (although we find that just giving $ to one person is sometimes MUCH easier—especially for food!), extra activities and gear needed, as well as arrival/departure info are critical for packing gear, taking care of business at home and settling in easily once you get to your camping destination. And if you happen to be the “leader,” remember to ask everyone for their input. It’s always more fun when everyone is included and has a say in your plans as a group.

Easter weekend at Lake Lurleen.  This was our first morning brunch.

Most importantly, be kind. If you’re camping with these people, odds are that you love them! Remember to be kind and considerate when you’re inevitably faced with some unplanned or unavoidable hitch in your giddy up! Maybe it’s bad weather, sickness, being overtired, an equipment failure—whatever! IT WILL HAPPEN EVERY TRIP! Remember…. GRACE. Give it freely and it will be given to you. We all need it! Especially if we are tired or cold or wet…or especially, all three!

The kids love camping whether it be in a tent or in a camper!
Camping with friends is way at the top of the list of my favorite ways to spend time. There are lots of good things competing for my time and yours so making sure I make the most of it is very important to me! Some preparation, planning, getting good rest, making time for relaxation and letting go of my expectations have made the greatest positive impact on all my group activities—especially camping! I hope you and your friends have a wonderful camping season, too!

Christy loves camping with her friends and fur baby, Hatchi Bear Rogers.   You can hear her yelling Roll Tide at the campground, singing songs, playing guitar and her infectious laugh.  She exhibits her love of life and love for Jesus wherever she goes.  You can read her previous post on Camping Safely With Dogs from October 2017.