We all have them. Camping-challenged friends who are wary of the outdoors, who shy away from anything with too much wilderness. As much as we love them, sometimes we just want to get them out into the great outdoors—and sometimes they agree. Here are five ways you can make the trip easier on your indoor friends, whether they've just promised to go, or you're still working on them.
Pick the Right Campsite
Some campsites offer more amenities than others, and if you're dealing with someone who's a little unsure about the great outdoors, you might want to learn more into the amenities that some will offer. Try looking for a campsite that offers private showers and clean toilets. Hot water is always a plus, and some sites might even have the option of kitchen access, a boon that your indoor pal will probably greatly appreciate. Pick a campsite that offers room for RVs or campers, in case your friends decide that they don't want to sleep in a tent.
Depending on the time of year you're going, it's a good idea to include the option for them to go inside—if it's too hot, the air conditioning might be just the thing they need. If it's too cold, they're not going to say no to a few minutes (or hours!) inside, where it's warm.
Keep Dinner Simple
Okay, first things first: food. Campfire cookouts are all well and good, but there's a good chance your buddy's going to shy away from cleaning a fish. Unless you're planning on doing all of the work yourself, possibly when they're not looking to be on the safe side of things, it's a lot safer to get something already cooked, or pick up something from the store that's not going to require much prep.
If they do decide that they're willing to give the "fresh caught thing" a go, make sure you know exactly how to cook and clean whatever you bring in. Check on whatever permits you and your friend might need, and make sure they're all up to date ahead of time. A little hassle before the trip can save you a lot of hassle later on.
Bring a Generator
This is probably going to be their biggest concern. Going off the grid can be a little scary for some people, even if it's exactly what the doctor ordered for others. If your camping friend is worried about a lack of amenities, ease their fears by bringing along a portable generator, to keep everything powered up, just in case. An RV can also serve as a generator if one of those is available.
Having the option of electricity, that doesn't rely on the campsite you pick or the current state of the wilderness all around you, will help them sleep a little easier. It's also a good option to have, in case they do have cell service, and want to take advantage of that during the trip.
Bring Inflatable Camping Mattresses
Sure, sleeping bags are fun, traditional, and if well-purchased, even pretty comfortable—but there's a good chance your indoor friend won't agree on that. Even if they do, they might not want to spring the big bucks it takes to maximize comfort, especially not if they're not sure about camping again.
Instead of letting them stress about their back problems, bring along an inflatable mattress. Because you're bringing along a generator, inflating it should be a breeze, and you'll keep them happier and more comfortable than if you'd let them "rough it."
Respect Their Limits
If you're the type of person who likes to have activities for every day of the trip, then involve them in the planning. Find out what they enjoy doing and include some of that! It's also a very good idea to ask them how much exercise they've done recently, and how much they'd be willing to do—if they're out of shape, a longer hike might not be a good idea, even if they're raring to go.
Pick shorter trails, easier days and activities, and let them be the one to call a halt, or continue on. Keeping what they can and can't do in mind will make it easier for them to keep going over the duration of the trip, instead of feeling like they're constantly playing catch up, or holding you back. If you get them to help with the planning, it might make them feel more involved, and therefore, more invested in the trip! It could be beneficial to hold onto the camping gear for them. If camping gear is improperly stored it may make the entire time feel like a waste of money as the items become ruined.
Wherever or whenever you decide to go, if you follow these five steps, you can feel much more confident that your indoor friend might actually enjoy their time outdoors, and even come back for more. Good luck!