RVing trips often involve more than just your immediate family. When you plan that epic road trip to places like Yellowstone, Yosemite, The Smokies, Glacier, or a host of other spectacular locales, the chances are strong that aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends might want to join you.
And while camping with a crew can be a wildly fun adventure, it also begs the question: how do you camp with a large group?
The best way to camp with a large group often involves bringing a campsite setup that includes extra tents and possibly even an extra RV. With the right tent camping tips and tricks in place, you can be sure that everyone will have a spectacular time while joining you on your RV camping trip.
RV + tent camping tips
Camping as a large group often means finding a campground that can accommodate RVs set up right next to each other, tents set up in an RV campsite, or some combination of all of these. The good news is that many campgrounds will — at a minimum — have a tent camping ring that your travel companions can use as a sleeping area while you turn your RV campsite into the central gathering spot.
14 must-have camping setup items
The top tip we can give when it comes to camping in bigger groups is to bring these 14 essentials that make for a good time and comfortable camping.
1. Lawn games
2. Folding chairs
You’d be amazed at how many folks forget this uber-important tent camping set up item when traveling with a large group. By having enough seating for everyone in your group, you’ll be the unspoken hero of the camping trip.
3. Outdoor kitchen setup
Many RVs these days have outdoor kitchens built-in. Even if yours doesn’t, having an outdoor cooking setup like this one will keep your RV kitchen cleaner while providing your camp cook with ample room to serve.
4. Additional RV
If you’re traveling with an extra-large group, you might want to consider renting an extra RV to accommodate. You could pick up an extra rig for rent near your home or campsite, or you could even have a rented RV delivered!
Most campsites will have a picnic table included, but you’ll likely want to provide more space in your tent camping setup.
Yard mats, or camping rugs, are a great place for people to sit, for stuff to hang out, and for folks to gather — making them a camping setup necessity.
7. Canopy tent for extra large groups
If you’re camping with a very large group, you might have the need for additional covered areas outside of your RV’s awning. Canopy tents like this one are a great camping trick to expand sheltered space in your campsite.
While this might seem like an outlandish addition to your camping setup, inflatable pools can double as a large cooler for your traveling group. And when the pool isn’t being used as a cooler, it can be used to keep kiddos cool and happy.
When it comes to the ultimate camping set up, few things are greater than having couches at your campsite.
10. Pop-up fire pit
Because you never want to be caught camping without a way to roast s’mores. Solo Stove has some great smokeless fire pit options.
11. Walkie talkies
If you think you’ll be able to use your cell phones to communicate with your camping group, think again. Some of the most spectacular national parks and camping areas are also cell phone dead zones. Because of this, having a set of radio walkies will allow you to keep in touch with your traveling companions as you roll over the road or help each other back into a campsite.
12. Extra tent/sleeping bag padding
No tent camping setup should be without a sleeping pad like this one — it’ll help keep your guests who didn’t make the RV sleeping cut much happier.
13. Turkish towels
A top tip for camping is to find things that are compact and multi-functional. Turkish towels check all those boxes because they can serve as a bath towel, beach towel, ground mat, shawl, and blanket.
14. Solar Lanterns
Lanterns like LuminAID are solar-powered and will provide that much-needed light for your outdoor camping setup.
Tips for choosing where to camp
Along with the above gear for your camping setup, there are other camping tips related to the types of places and amenities you might want to look for when camping in a large group. Here are those camping tips:
Camp during the week
RV parks and national parks fill up primarily during the weekends. If you’re able to camp with your group during the week, you’ll stand a better chance of getting the space you need and being close together.
Camp at a campground with a pool
Many RV parks, and KOA Campgrounds especially, feature full-size pools for the family. If you’re camping in a large group with tent campers among you, a pool is an especially helpful feature.
Seek out an RV park with a clubhouse
Many RV parks and campgrounds these days have clubhouses that feature games, TVs, and even pool tables. One of the best ways to camp in a large group can be staying at a place that has these amenities so your family and friends can do their own thing from time to time.
Make use of extra RV sleeping areas
Another tip for camping with a large group is to make use of extra RV sleeping areas. Even if you have some of your group camping in tents, your RV will also have areas like the couch and dinette that can fold down into sleeping areas.
Other tips for camping in large groups
Beyond the above tips and tools for the ideal camping setup, here are a few other ideas for things you can do to make sure everyone in your camping group stays happy:
- Let other group members plan daily activities periodically
- Have a steady s’more supply at all times
- Plan dutch oven meals over the fire
- Do potluck meals where everyone contributes something
- Plan hiking and biking trips together
- Make use of RV park amenities such as pools, clubhouses, and game rooms for group activities
How to find cool tent camping spots
Another fun way to enjoy camping in a large group is to take an overnight trip where your whole crew goes even more remote and does some tent-only camping.
This can be a fun way to rough it and create some very special bonding time. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Check national parks and national forests for backcountry camping — While not for the faint of heart, backcountry campsites are often only accessible by foot trails and offer truly spectacular camping.
- Use a site like Campendium or freecampsites.net to find cool tent camping setups near you.
- If you have Bureau of Land Management land near you these can often be beautiful places for some remote tent-only camping.
- If you find yourself camping in Florida, it has some of the best tent camping options in the country.
Get group campin’
When figuring out how to camp with a large group, it’s important to be deliberate about the camping setup you want to have. The good news is there are many options for group camping from tent setups to multiple RV setups to tent-only camping. The camping tips above will help ensure that everyone in your camping group has the camping experience they’re hoping for.
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