I am not an expert by any means and I know what works for some doesn’t always work for other, but I thought I’d share my philosophy on group camping, since it seems to work out well for us.

The group

The group decided to all go peach picking

  • Try to camp with like minded individuals, if you’re a laid back type of person and you’re camping with another camper who feels the need to plan out every minute of their trip, then someone is going to get stressed real quick.
  • Most campgrounds will try to accommodate your group.  Just give them a call and let them know your plans. Some even have a pavilion you can use if your group is too large to eat at one campsite.
  • Set a basic schedule of things you’ll be doing for the day, then let those who want, go on the planned event and those who’d rather, can stay back at the camper or catch up with the group later.
  • dinner is served

    The group eating dinner at MFAE's camper

    What and when to eat can be tricky some times. My personal preference is to mix it up, some meals together, some with just your family. I feel this is a good mix so that you get to have some family time blended in with getting to visit with everyone on the camping trip. Try to decide ahead of time which meals you’ll be doing as a group, this way everyone can plan how much extra of a certain food they’ll need. Doing the main course in a crock pot can save having to have someone stand over the grill.

  • A nightly campfire is a great way to wrap up your day. I really enjoy sitting around the fire hearing what everyone thought was their favorite part of the day. Plus any excuse to cook a brat or make a S’more is a good one.

Above all just remember to relax and have some fun, because that’s what camping is all about. We just got back from our big family and friends camping trip this past week and it seemed like everyone had a great time. While we all didn’t spend every moment together, we created some wonderful memories. It must have been a good trip because no one was ready to go home on Friday. The only bad part of the trip is that we have to wait a year to do it all over again.

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  1. We have 5 families that camp as a group. We started cooking as together several years ago. First we all just sort put stuff on the table, then it progressed into planned meals. We each take a meal. We camp mainly over the holidays so with 3 suppers and 2 breakfasts it works out great. We do lunchs on our own as we are all doing something different at that time of the day and with the big breakfasts we really aren’t that hungrey. It makes it nice as I like I don’t want to be working the whole time we are camping. You are only responsible for one meal so the rest of the time is a little more relaxing. We have started doing crockpot meals and that has made it very easy and in case someone may not know it but you can get plastic bag liners for crockpots, they are like the bags that you cook hams and turkeys in. They make clean up a breeze, you just lift them out and throw them away. We recently started our own camping cookbook. If you make something, even if it is just an old family recipe, you are expected to bring the recipe to be put in our book. It has a picture of our group on the front and we add to it on each trip. Since starting the book we have all stepped up our game, you should taste the wonderful recipes people are coming up with. We are now thinking of have theme nights where every one will contribute to a theme, like mexican food or italian, or german, etc. I now look forward to camping not only for the friendship but also the good food. As for the cleanup, the kids do the dishes. We used to draw names for each meal for at least 2 to do dishes. We drew at the start of the meal so they didn’t disappear at the end of the meal. Even the little ones are expected to help, they do the rinsing with an older child. Now we don’t even have to draw names, they volunteer to do the dishes as they know what is expected, actually they try to figure out who is going to have the easiest meal to volunteer for, but that’s ok because we have alot of good sports. We have enough kids that they only have to do one meal for the weekend, even the friends they bring along are expected to chip in and do dishes. The rule is until you are doing the cooking of a meal you are expected to do dishes, as our children are know getting older and thought that once they were out of highschool they didn’t have to do dishes. We explained that it is a division of labor and if they wanted to provide and cook a meal they can get out of the dishes. After that there were no more discussions. As far as campfires, no matter how hot we have a campfire for laughter and visiting. We have even been know to build a fire in the rain and sit around it under umbrellas because we didn’t want to go in. We love camping. I feel sorry for people who don’t, they don’t know what they are missing.