This summer, we were lucky enough to camp with various friends before embarking on our annual trip to Algonquin, and I have to admit, I learned a lot.
We’ve stayed with friends and family before, but camping with them is entirely different. I didn’t expect to learn anything but I’m thankful I did. Camping with friends has taught us new ways of doing things, using new tools and doing basic things a slightly different way.
No regrets here. Read on to see what secrets we learned:
You don’t have to cook everything yourself.
This was a HUGE eye-opener for me, when our friends Matt and Angela suggested splitting up meals. I’ve been prepping meals for my little family of four for so long, this new way of looking at meal-planning really didn’t sit well with me at first.
While I’m lucky that my kids aren’t terribly picky, and have no allergies (thank goodness), it’s just not something I had ever considered before.
So, when we figured out we’d plan two breakfasts and two dinners each in our short stay there, I wasn’t sure how it would go down. But, in the end, it was so beneficial because one couple would work together to prep a meal and clean up, the other couple could relax or get cleaned up.
Wow. Total game-changer.
Fast forward to our time in Palmerston Lake with family, it was my turn to suggest this idea. It worked out just as well as it did for us the first time! Our hosts, Jen and Josh, appreciated the break as much as we did. So much so, they’ll be implementing it when they have visitors in the future.
Our friends like us! They really like us!
Another thing I was afraid of was that they’d never want to camp with us again. We have our quirks as a family, and sometimes there’s nitpicking, short tempers and kids who think this is a PERFECT time to test limits because guess what? Now there are witnesses!
It’s hard to show another family what you’re REALLY like… and yes, we definitely exercised a little more patience – with the kids and with our significant others – than usual. This is not a bad thing, not at all. It’s how we should be all the time.
However, despite all of that, it’s nice to hear, “Hey, so yeah, we’d camp with you guys again!” or “So, we’re free on such-and-such a weekend…”
It’s nice to have that confirmation that we’re not monsters! Ha ha! Even if we did stay up until 3 a.m. some “nights”.
There are more chances for new experiences.
My husband and I have camped together for a number of years. Since before we were married, and truth be told, we usually do the same things each and every year. It’s comfortable, it’s routine, it’s what we enjoy. We always have a great time and go home feeling blessed by the relaxation.
Camping with other families encourages different activities. In Long Point, we spent most of our time on the beach. We were right beside it and both of our kids loved being there (also, it was a great mosquito refuge!). When we camp in Algonquin, we dedicate one day to the beach, that’s about it. I think it’s partially because we aren’t as close, but still. It’s different.
In Palmerston, we did a variety of things. We went kayaking, we went on a pontoon ride, we sat and chatted with neighbours around a fire. I know that part of this is due to our host, Jen. Whenever we stay with her, she makes sure to plan certain activities so that we get to experience new things.
It just goes to show that when you camp with friends or family, you can be open to trying new and different things together.
Camping with other families is a great way to open your mind. Not only did I learn to share meal duty with others, but I picked up some great storage tips for our camping supplies and new meal ideas for our family trips. Seeing things done a different way really encourages us all to try things we might not have tried on our own.
I’d love to hear your suggestions!