Making friends while camping can seem a bit scary and overwhelming. But, being armed with a few tactical social skills will take that pressure down a notch and have you enjoying the company of others without it being hard work at all.
Some of the most rewarding parts of travelling and enjoying the great outdoors are the friends you meet along the way. Bonding with others over your travels is unlike any other bond you’ll make.
With that, it can sometimes be intimidating to put yourself out there with other caravanners and campers around the campground. However, camping enthusiasts are traditionally known for being kind, friendly, and overall, a very relaxed group of people, whether it’s due to the effects of nature or the communal element of camping.
Here’s how to make friends while camping so that you can share your adventures with more people along the way.
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How to Make Friends While Camping
Spend time outside your van or tent
While it may seem obvious, one of the best ways to get to know people and make friends while camping is to spend time outside your caravan, camper or tent. If you’re at a shared campground, you’re likely to encounter others who are passing through and also looking to enjoy quality time outdoors.
Some campsites also have communal swimming areas, happy hour campfires and other activities where you can join in the conversation. Try to engage in the greater camping activities that are happening around you and you’re bound to make a connection or two.
Lend a hand
Another easy way to make friends while camping is to help out where you see a need. If someone is struggling with their gear or having trouble getting their fire to catch, ask if you can help. They’ll most likely appreciate the extra wo/man-power and you may even have a funny story to take away from your experience.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help as well. Most people at a campsite are friendly and happy to lend a hand. You can even thank them by inviting them over to your campsite for dinner or games.
Invite your neighbours for dinner
Speaking of dinner, good food always brings people together! Swap recipes or share dishes with others in your campsite as an excuse to get to know one another and build lasting friendships.
People often like to try foods that are iconic to Australia as they travel, as part of the experience.
There are also plenty of tools out there that can help make cooking on your campsite easier and more efficient! For instance, the swing-away BBQARM will have you cooking anywhere your travels take you.
Ask about their gear and rig
Who doesn’t love talking about their favourite hobbies? Chances are, the folks staying at the campsite you’re staying at will also be camping enthusiasts. Ask about their camper or their gear. If you have similar gear, talk about what you like and dislike about it.
Sharing about their rig can really give people the opportunity to talk about their unique preferences and their specific travels. It’s a great way to open a door for conversation and get great recommendations and camping hacks for your own rig.
Talk about their travels
Similarly, ask others about the places they’ve travelled, campsites they’ve stayed at, and where they hope to travel in the future. This is where you’ll find the best hidden secrets in a town, or learn the subtleties of an area. It also gives people a chance to talk about the places they’ve loved exploring the most.
You may find people who are heading the same direction as you who you’d like to keep up with as well! You never know what adventures you could discover by learning about the adventures of others.
Get the music going
Music is a great way to show that you’re up for some fun and visitors at your campsite. Obviously, it’s important to be considerate of others while you’re camping, but having some music playing at a modest volume in your area can often be a welcoming touch that invites people into your experience.
You can bring a portable speaker, or bring a guitar or other instrument and make your own music. Either way, music always brings people together.
Build a welcoming campfire
There’s nothing quite like a campfire to bring people together for some quality conversation. Something about the fresh air and warmth brings people together and breaks down any barriers.
Whether you prefer snags and marshmallows around the fire, sharing a cup of tea, or cracking open a beer, setting up some extra chairs around your campfire is a warm and welcome invitation for others at your campsite.
Ask for tips and recommendations
Another way to break the ice is to ask for tips and recommendations, especially if you’re just starting to delve into the camping scene. Caravanners and campers are almost always happy to share their insight and knowledge with others.
If you’re a seasoned camper, you may still benefit from hearing about others’ experiences, or you could share some of your own! Who doesn’t love more recommendations?
Connect over your kids or pets
Kids have a great way of making friends wherever they go. If you have kids, encourage them to make friends around the campsite with others their age. It’s a perfect opportunity to meet their parents and have something in common to talk about.
Pets are also a great conversation point that can allow you to bond with others at your campsite. Pets often like to meet other furry friends, so as long as the owners are open to a meet-and-greet, take advantage of the chance to make some new human friends as well!
Join online travel and camping groups
If you’re nervous about playing it by ear on your camping trip, consider doing some research before you set out on your next adventure. There are a number of online groups for campers and travellers that hold a wealth of knowledge.
You can get the best advice on gear and where to stay, as well as make some connections and friends to meet up with. You might even be able to plan a trip with other groups if you want to be really bold!
As you consider your next camping trip, remember that settling into your campsite can be a communal event. With a little boldness and awareness of others at your campsite, you can make lasting friendships that make your trip both fun and memorable.
With a desire to explore and a passion for conservation, Derek Edwards is passionate about camping and the outdoors.
When he’s not out on an adventure, he can be found enjoying a burrito on the beach. You can follow along with Derek’s adventures over on his Outdoor blog.