Alright, it’s time to have some fun! We have all seen videos of the five kinds of Christmas guests or the five types of hunters. Let’s talk about the different kinds of campers we meet. Camping is a bit of a controversial subject. Some people love it, some people hate it but come anyways, and some people are in between.
What I try to do is make the camping experience as enjoyable as possible for every type of camper. This is not always easy. You need to put yourself in the shoes of the other campers. In this article, we will cover the different kinds of campers that may show up. We will also cover how you might help them have the best time possible.
We have all seen these types of campers. Some of them show up in a $30k camper that looks like an apartment on wheels. Some show up with a tent that has four bedrooms and a front porch. Don’t be surprised if they have an outdoor shower or pull out the projector for movies. These are folks that will order delivery food at a campsite or set up an inflatable hot tub.
Don’t get me wrong… I like to be comfortable. However, if I wanted to be fancy I would have gotten a hotel or a bed and breakfast. This is camping. It is meant to be a little bit inconvenient.
That being said, you should do what you can to help. If your glampers need help setting up, do what you can. At the same time, try to get them to engage in traditional camping activites. Get them out fishing or hiking. Drag them to the fire to roast smores. Be sure they get the full camping experience despite living in their own comfortable bubble. You never know when you might convert a glamper.
Likes to Rough It
When I camp alone or with my son, this is us. I am a survival specialist, so I like to challenge my skills and my son’s willingness to help. We often head into the woods and build a shelter with natural materials. We purify water for drinking and build a fire with a ferro rod. It lets me test my skills and ensure that my son learns these skills as well.
Often on these trips we only eat what we can bring to camp. That means catching fish or hunting small game to supplement what we brought. Unfortunately, these methods do not always produce food. My son and I have spent many hungry nights in the woods.
This mindset is not the standard for campers. While you can maintain a survival mindset, you can still make others comfortable. If I am camping with others, I am sure that our survival games do not interfere with their comfortable camping trip. For example, sometimes my son and I sleep in a shelter but we bring the camper for my wife to be comfortable. If they ask to learn, I am happy to teach.
Often camping is associated with drinking. This is fine as long as it does not degrade the experience of other people, especially kids. Kids don’t need to associate camping with drinking. You want everyone to have a good time, but there is a limit. If there are any people getting too drunk, you need to say something. Maybe they need to take a nap, or maybe they need to just slow down. Whatever the case, make sure they do not ruin the experience for everyone else. If you know who this might be, talk to them about it in advance.
I Won’t Sleep on the Ground
This is my sister in-law. She loves to camp but has several damaged discs in her back. She cannot and will not sleep on the ground. She loves spending time with family in the wild but is not willing to risk her well-being for it.
For these folks, do whatever you can to accommodate their needs. Their pain should not prevent them from enjoying the camping experience. Bring in a better mattress or pad to help their back. Help them find a way to get off of the ground. We now have sleeping pads, air mattresses, and cots to make sure they have good options.
I love the sacrifice that my wife makes when she spends time with us camping. I know it hurts. I have my own long term joint pain and know it can be bad. Despite that, she does everything she can to be sure my son and I have a good time. Be sure you express your gratitude for that.
Fire is always part of the camping experience. The best part of camping is often cooking dogs or smores on the fire. Typically, you will have one person that wants to build and maintain the fire. This is a good thing.
Managing a fire can be a pain in the rear. If you have someone that want to take that on, just be sure they have everything they need. They should have plenty of firewood along with some way to start the fire such as tinder bundles or artificial tinder.
Safety is always a concern, so be sure the fire is not out of control. Remove any flammable material from around the fire vicinity. Be sure there is water or a fire extinguisher nearby in case the blaze gets out of control. Be especially careful if it is windy or dry out.
As a final note, be sure the fire master knows to put out the fire before going to bed or leaving the camp. This means dumping water on the fire and mixing it around until there are no more embers and there is no more smoke. Then you can go out and have more camping fun.
The Overly Competitive One
Once in a while you will have a camper that wants to make everything a competition. This means that setting up the camp is a race. The best dish for dinner is the winner. The first one to wake up in the morning is the master camper. The one to get to the end of the trail first or catch the biggest fish is the Alpha.
It is just kind of the nature of us. When we get out in the wild, we want to be the Alpha. Fact of the matter is that the only winners at camping are the ones who enjoy themselves. Competing can be stressful. A little competition is fun, but if it is taken too far it can get stressful. Have fun with competition, but if it gets too serious then just change to a different activity.
I Don’t Want to Be Here
This may be the toughest type of camper to deal with. This was me as a teenager, and you will find teenagers often fit this category. Some people just don’t want to camp. Perhaps they are too concerned with their image. Perhaps they have never been camping before. Perhaps they went camping and had a bad experience.
Whatever the case may be, you should do what you can to change their mind. Make the experience as fun as possible without pushing them into anything. Think about what they enjoy and incorporate that into the trip. If they like good food, be sure to teach them how to make a gourmet meal over a fire. If they like dancing, maybe play some music and get the whole group moving.
In the end, many of these campers will not be converted. If you make no progress, just be nice and try to prevent them from bumming anyone else out. You can only do so much. When I was 14, there was absolutely no way to get me enthusiastic about camping.
The Camping Coordinator
Often with camping trips you will have one person that plans bunches of activities. There have been times I went camping and had a canoe trip, hiking trip, and floating trip all planned for our camping time.
I am happy to engage in a few activities when camping, but there is a limit. For me, camping is about relaxing. I want to get away from work and city life and unwind. I do not want to come home from a camping trip more tired and stressed than I was before.
If you have a planner or someone who wants to max out activities, there is a way for everyone to be happy. Let them be in charge of the schedule but give them a limited list of activities that you are comfortable with. Also, limit the number of activities. Finally, make everything pending weather and health so you can blame a cloudy sky or upset stomach for relaxing for a day. Trust me… you may need that day.
I Can’t Unplug
Right now, this is my seven year nephew. He cannot function without his iPad or fire. We have done what we can to keep this to a minimum, but it has been tough. With him being stuck inside and taking classes online, it is a big part of his day. When we go camping, it is just natural for him to stick to his devices.
Take them away! I don’t mean ask them permission or suggest more family time. If anyone (including adults) is glued to their device, make a joke and take it away. Camping is specifically for unplugging. Everyone needs to know this. If they are working and cannot break away, ask them to do it away from the group. You do not want their priorities to bring down your camping experience.
I constantly work from remote locations, so there are times I have struggled with this. It became really simple a few years ago. Just leave your laptop or tablet at home. Only answer your phone if you know it is an emergency. That’s it. At some point you must make your camping time a relaxing experience. You cannot do that while constantly plugged in to the outside world.
Well this has been fun. Camping is my family’s favorite way to spend time together, but we all fit into these categories. These are not criticisms in any way. If you go camping, I am happy. Everyone camps in their own way. The point of this article is to show you that you might be able to make camping more enjoyable for someone that thinks differently than you do.
We are not all the same. We all have different priorities and go camping for different reasons. However, if you put in some effort you can help your loved ones enjoy camping even more. It looks like camping will be a big part of American vacationing for a long time. This is especially true while many of us are avoiding big groups of people. We hope this article has been enlightening on how other campers on your trip might be experiencing the same trip that you do.
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