Camping is one of the all-time best activities you can do, especially in the warmer spring and summer months. But what could make it even better? Sharing it with friends, of course!
Spending a few nights together in the great outdoors is a surefire way to build strong bonds with your loved ones while creating memories to last a lifetime. Not to mention it’s very economical to split all the expenses between a group of people.
As you start planning your adventure, you might come across the term “party size” and be confused. What does this mean? And how might it affect how you organize your trip?
So what is party size camping?
Party size camping is one of two things.
- For most campgrounds party size refers to the number of people in a group. You may see the term as party size limits, meaning the number of people are limited to a certain amount.
- There are some instances where this term stands for a group of 10 or more but almost always this simply means the number of people in your group.
Regarding campsites, the party size refers to how many people can be accommodated at a certain location.
Party Size Definitions
When making campsite reservations, various places may have restrictions on how many people are allowed in a certain site. They may also have varying definitions for these designations based on the size of the party.
Party size may also be categorized by age, with only adults or those over a certain age (usually 15 or 16 years old) counting toward the total. Young children and babies may not always be included in the party size.
When it comes to pricing based on the party size, you will also have to look into how many vehicles will be brought to the campsite. If you are driving an RV or hauling a trailer, there may be limits depending on the number of people.
Of course, a large party might need more room, so you may not have to pay extra for a second vehicle. Smaller parties, on the other hand, would be charged more if they wanted to add more recreational vehicles to their reservation.
There may also be limits on the party size per vehicle as well as minimums for the various age ranges. Usually, each party requires that there be at least one member who is at least 16 years old.
Some campsites may allow you to book a double site that allows family and friends to camp together. The campsites would be in relatively close proximity to one another and may share a driveway.
Double sites would need to be booked together so you would need to finalize plans with everyone in the party when making reservations. Other campgrounds may allow you to book a group of campsites all together if you need additional space for everyone.
Some reservations for large groups may also be categorized as event camping. However, this is usually quite a bit more expensive and you will need a very big group to make this affordable for everyone.
You may also be required to reserve a minimum number of campsites that would be much larger than you had originally planned. Some parks state that you must reserve at least 20 sites to qualify for event rates.
Party Size Camping Considerations
If you’re planning an adventure with your friends or family, the more people who attend, the more you will have to think about to ensure everything goes smoothly. Here are some of the common things to keep in mind as you prepare for the trip.
- Tent Size
If you’re tent camping, you’ll need a tent large enough to comfortably fit everyone in your party. This means space for all the sleeping bags and plenty of room in between for maneuvering.
Check the campsite ahead of time to see if there is more than one pad to set up a tent on. If the pad is on the smaller side, you may need to bring multiple tents along.
In the event of bad weather, you’ll also want your tent to be large enough for everyone to seek shelter inside. Make sure it’s ventilated well and has space for your party to comfortably spend time together to wait out the rain, for example.
The total height of the tent should be tall enough that even the tallest person can stand comfortably inside. Even though you’ll be protected from the weather, you don’t want to have to crouch or sit down the entire time.
Any tents that you choose to bring should also be easy to set up so no precious time is wasted getting your campsite put together. They should also be durable enough for the weather you are expecting, whether that be three or four season camping.
There are usually restrictions on parking at all campsites, even those which are designated specifically for a large group. This means a limit on how many vehicles you can bring and how much space there is to park other things like boats or trailers.
To avoid any problems, plan to carpool with your fellow party members as much as possible. You can also consider renting one larger vehicle if no one has a car big enough to transport a majority of the group.
Once you arrive at the site, make sure the parking area is close enough that you’ll have easy access to your vehicle if you want to leave or run errands. It should also be within a comfortable distance to the site to make it easy to unload your gear and set up camp.
The whole point of a camping trip is to have fun together, so you’ll want to plan activities to prevent boredom. Because there’s only so much hiking you can do in a day before exhaustion sets in, it’s a good idea to have some low-key things planned.
Bringing along games and other entertainment will make all the difference when it comes to having downtime at the campsite. If there will be any children coming along, make sure to bring age-appropriate activities for them as well.
Make sure to also have some games or activities planned that include the entire group so you can all interact together. This will provide opportunities to build bonds, strengthen relationships, and just have a great time!
With more people comes more of a chance that something could go wrong or someone could get injured. Safety should always be the number one priority and no one will enjoy the trip if there’s an emergency or worse.
Come prepared with a first-aid kit and do a lot of planning in advance so you’re aware of any environmental hazards. Check the weather so you’re ready for anything and will be sure to stay warm or cool, depending on the temperature.
If there’s a nearby lake or river, make sure you have life jackets for children and that everyone can swim. Bringing a few life preservers along is essential if you’ll be spending time in the water boating or swimming.
When it comes to wildlife, make sure to never feed them and make plenty of noise when hiking so animals are alerted to your presence. When camping in bear country, make sure to have bear spray on hand and store your food securely.
Feeding a big group of people is no easy task under ordinary circumstances. Trying to do it while camping just adds to the challenge. It doesn’t help either if everyone is tired from a day outdoors and has a huge appetite to contend with.
Cooking will have to be done strategically to prepare large batches of food. Anything you can make in advance will save you time and energy once you arrive at the campsite. Bring a lot of snacks to bridge the gap between meals.
Staying hydrated is also important so make sure to have plenty of water for everyone in the party. If there is no source of potable drinking water nearby, make sure you have a water purification method that can treat large volumes.
Getting a large group of people together is sure to bring with it a lot of fun and rowdiness which also means noise. If you’re camping close to other sites, you will have to keep your voices down so you don’t disrupt your fellow campers.
If you know your party is a pretty vocal bunch, try to find a place that is a little more private so you can let loose without disturbing others. Bringing kids or babies that may cry or shout is also something to think about as you plan the trip.
If you have a large party size, more people will always mean more of everything. This includes basic needs such as toilets and showers. Younger children may need to use the bathroom more often, so finding a site that can accommodate them will make your life easier.
While people tend to get a lot dirtier while camping, do yourself a favor and camp near a site that has running water and showers. Don’t make things unnecessarily harder on yourself by adding in a bunch of stinky people to the mix.
If everyone in the group enjoys going out for dinner and drinks, make sure you’re close to a place where you can do this. Being able to cater to the desires of everyone in the party will mean everyone has a great time and your trip will be much more successful.
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