Tips for planning an epic outdoor adventure with friends
It’s one thing to throw everything you need into a backpack, pile into your car and head for the closest national park for a little outdoor communion. It’s a whole other thing to do it with a gaggle of your best buds in tow.
Going on an epic outdoor adventure with friends can be a blast - if you plan things right. Otherwise, you may find yourself with not enough food, water, sunscreen, bug spray or the other camping and trekking essentials. With limited supplies, things have a tendency to go sideways real quick and even besties can start to turn on each other as the mood sours. To avoid going full Lord of the Flies on your next friendcation, here’s a few tips to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Avoid the Dreaded ‘Neverending Group Chat’
With the trip coming up in a few weeks, it can be tempting to just throw everyone on a group chat and start tossing around ideas. Resist this impulse! This is likely to devolve into swapping emojis, gifs and links to dumb Youtube videos. Even if you do get the whole “who’s bring what” hammered out, chances are it’ll get lost in all the noise and you’ll have to scroll back endlessly to find what you’re looking for.
Instead, keep your casual channels of communication clear and go with something like Google Doc that everyone can edit. A Facebook event or group can keep everyone looped in and talking without cluttering up each other’s walls. Alternatively, workplace apps like Slack, Basecamp and more allow you to start different threads and keep everything organized. That way, you can swap sports gifs all day long, and still have a separate space for the conversation about what you need.
Identify the Essentials and Plan for the Unexpected
Sure, there’s a few clutch items that everyone knows they should bring on a camping trip: Food, water, first aid kit, tent, flashlights, sleeping bag, swiss army knife, etc. But don't get cocky kid, because even with these no brainers, there are always a few items that slip under the radar and can quickly turn a fun, breezy trip into Survivor: Friendship Ending Edition. For instance:
Biodegradable toilet paper. Because leaves just don’t cut it.
Cooking set like the Adventure Base Camp Cook Set. Because you’re going to get sick of grilled hot dogs on a stick after a while.
Coffee and camp ready french press. Because those early mornings after you’ve slept on rocks all night might need a little pick-me-up.
As you plan for your trip, have all your friends brainstorm the unexpected things you might need and add these items to your packing list. If you have camping newbies on your trip, let them borrow the essential supplies. Remember, packing light doesn’t have to mean going full feral.
Choose a Destination That Works for Everyone
Not everyone is a double black diamond, cozy in 20 degrees below “I can make a makeshift shelter out of only twigs, leaves and my own underoos” camper. Sure, we all wanna put on a tough facade when we’re roughing it, but try and choose your camping destination with the real physical capabilities or mobility limitations of your entire group in mind. If everyone is agreement that you want this to be a borderline harrowing “man vs nature” experience, great. But try and be realistic about how much walking, hiking and roughing it everyone wants to be doing and choose a destination that has something for everyone. Even if it means you don’t get to put your iron will and constitution to the test, it can be fun to just have a chill weekend tossing back beers outdoors with some friends.
Even if someone in your group has the most camping experience, it doesn’t need to be a one-man band. Try and split up tasks according to what everyone in the group is good at and choose designated roles. Have someone responsible for all the cooking, the cleanup, setting up camp, starting a bonfire. Heck, even that layabout Greg might take his job seriously if it’s his responsibility to keep all the growlers full!
Plan (and Maybe Even Make) Meals Ahead of Time
Food prep and cooking in the outdoors can be tough. You may not have reliable access to water, refrigeration or fire and after awhile, everyone gets sick of trail mix. That in mind, why not do your meal prep, and even cooking, ahead of time? You can make a big batch of chili, stew, pasta, curry, oatmeal or whatever else will warm your belly, throw it in an Adventure Vacuum Crock still steaming, and pop it open up to 12 hours later to enjoy delicious a hot meal. Fill an Adventure Cooler with ice, cold cuts, beers and whatever else you need to get days worth of refrigerated food and drink.
Got any other planning tips you want to share with the the Stanley fam? Tag #Stanleyness and tell us how you plan an outdoor adventure with friends!