How To Camp Responsibly in Large Groups

You can organize large group camping trips for a variety of reasons. These excursions could serve as team-building outings for employees or a bonus for a successful quarter or season. Some group camping programs even have a therapy element for military veterans or troubled youth.

The more people you have on an excursion, however, the more you need to take steps to avoid having someone get lost, injured, or attacked by an animal. You will need to adopt proper outdoor safety practices and ensure that everyone in the group understands these safety procedures so that they can look out for one another.

Here are factors that you need to consider when planning an outdoor camping trip


Consider What Type of Camping Would Be Ideal

You need to match the type of camping excursion with the needs and abilities of your group. For example, a business retreat might require a higher level of comfort, more amenities, and minimal physical activity. Meanwhile, a therapy or team-building adventure would focus more on challenging settings and activities.

Other considerations involve the amenities at a campground. Some pack-in spots merely have a cleared space for your tent, while other sites have built-in firepits, showers and running water, bathrooms with complete plumbing, and electrical outlets.

Choose A Location

The location choice will depend on planned activities and accessibility. For instance, if you want to include fishing or canoeing, you will need to be near a lake. Well-marked trails are important for hiking activities, especially if you have inexperienced people in your group.

Also, to avoid damaging the natural environment, it is better to use a dedicated camping area with a large group instead of camping away from an established site. Finally, if you need convenience and accessibility, drive-in sites are your best option.

Make Reservations If Necessary

Reservations are often necessary for group camping. If another group takes your chosen location or there are not enough spots available, it can be disastrous for your plans. Most public and private campgrounds take reservations to avoid overcrowding. Others may allow you to reserve spaces even if they do not take formal reservations.

 You should make reservations as early as possible so that you can ensure adequate space and begin planning the other aspects of your trip.

Create a Checklist

A checklist will help ensure that each member of the group brings the necessary equipment and tools. Additionally, a master checklist that includes equipment, tools, and other things that the group will use. Group members can then provide these items. The person bringing the item can check it off the list to avoid duplicates that could create extra space, weight, and waste.

Build a Meal Plan

You can plan a menu once you know the number of campers, cooking facilities, and available food prep equipment. The general rule for group camping is to select meals that are easy to prepare and contain ingredients that you can buy in bulk.

Food storage is also a consideration. Unless you have access to refrigeration or coolers, you will want non-perishable ingredients. Dried items like pasta or rice are easy to carry and store without refrigeration. Also, these ingredients are less likely to attract wildlife to the campsite.

Finally, you need to consider any restrictions or allergies that campers may have. If you prepare meals for the entire group, everything will need to meet the dietary needs of everyone.

Bring Extra Supplies

If you are camping with a large group, it is essential to bring extra necessary supplies. This tip can be challenging because you want to balance weight and waste with ensuring everyone has what they need during the trip.

You should have reserves of essential items, such as water, first aid supplies, and dried foods. If a water container leaks or wildlife gets into the food, it could cause a premature end to the trip. It is also good to have an excess of necessities like camp stove gas or fire-starting materials. Also, depending on the nature of the trip, you may want to pack an extra tent or sleeping bags in case of unexpected damage.

Designate Duties

You will need to allocate duties to the different campers to ensure everything runs smoothly during the trip. Furthermore, you confirm that people aren't wasting energy doing the same tasks as someone else. You can assign duties according to people's skills. Some people may be better at making fires or cooking, while others have the knowledge to set up the campsite or make tent repairs.

If you bring dogs or other pets on the trip, you can assign group members to ensure they are safe and fed and not in danger of getting lost or encountering dangerous wildlife.

Create a Plan for Waste Disposal

Large groups usually create a lot of waste during a trip. You will want to have a waste disposal plan to limit this impact on the environment. Also, many campgrounds and state and national parks have regulations that you will need to follow for waste disposal.

If you would like to recycle, you can set up separate bags for trash and recyclable materials. Designate someone in the group to pick up any litter that does not get thrown away.

Campgrounds will typically have places to throw away garbage and recycle items. If you camp in the wilderness, you will need to carry both recyclable materials and waste with you when you leave. You can limit waste by using washable dishes and reusable water bottles.

Put Fires Dead Out

Improperly extinguished campfires may cause wildfires that can cause significant damage and endanger people's lives. Camp stoves, lanterns, and candles also pose dangers.

You should check on fire bans at your chosen campsite. Some places may issue burning restrictions during, especially dry periods. Many campsites have fire rings or pits designed to contain flames and ash. You should avoid making a fire without these safety structures.

Even after the fire burns out, you should ensure it is fully extinguished before leaving the campsite. To do this, pour water on the ashes; then gently spread them out and add more liquid. You should only leave the grounds once the entire fire pit is cool enough that you can touch it with your bare hand.

Clean Up Every Night

There are two reasons to clean up the campsite every night. First, it prevents the spread of litter and helps you keep track of all waste so that it does not blow away at night. Secondly, even trace amounts of food waste can draw wild animals to your site, putting both the campers and the wildlife in danger.

To minimize waste, you can rely on reusable drinking vessels, even when drinking beer or soda. You can wash these along with plates and utensils using biodegradable soap to limit the environmental impact.

Choose Reusable and Biodegradable Products

Reusable drinkware, silverware, and dishes help limit waste, and biodegradable cleaning products ensure your group remains eco-friendly while in nature.

If you do opt for disposable plates or napkins, ensure that they are fully biodegradable so that they will not damage the surrounding nature, even if they happen to blow away or get scattered by an animal.  

Reusable items can provide other advantages, as well. For example, you can keep drinks warm or cool with insulated vacuum bottles, and travel mugs offer similar benefits.

Pack In, Pack Out

The pack in, pack out philosophy focuses on leaving your campsite exactly as you found it. You bring in everything that you need and harvest nothing from the area surrounding your tents. You then leave with all your garbage and items, cleaning up any spills or food waste as you leave.

Pack in and pack out is a good strategy if you want your group to engage in eco-friendly camping practices. If previous campers didn’t do a good job cleaning up after themselves, your group can leave the site in a more natural state than when you arrived.