Categories: CampingGuides & hacks

Relationship Goals: Tips and Ideas for Camping as a Couple

As outdoor enthusiasts, it’s only natural that we love to share camping with the people we love. Maybe your significant other is big into backpacking or goes car camping with the best of them, but if they’re someone who has never slept in the wild before, you’ll need to take extra care to plan a camping getaway together. If their first camping experience isn’t fun, there probably won’t be a second one!

And for starters, we can ease your nerves with this one…

Is camping good for couples?

Yes, camping is great for couples to unplug from their busy lives and connect with one another. Romantic camping ideas include getting some alone time, stargazing, watching romantic sunsets, and exploring your natural surroundings together.

Now that we’re all on the same page on why bringing your loved one out on a romantic camping trip is a fantastic idea, here are some tips for making sure your first leads to many more.

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Kate Milford at Bold Paths Retreat, Vermont

Time it right

Be flexible about your plans and keep an eye on the forecast. If it looks like your weekend escape is going to include pouring rain or freezing cold nights, consider postponing. Spending the trip soaking wet or cold (or both) could turn your partner off camping for a long time to come.

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Nikki Neumann

Keep it short

Even if your partner says they’re up for a big adventure, make the first camping trip a short one. One or two nights in nature will introduce them to the experience without having to worry about any of the complications or discomfort that sometimes come along with long road trips. What they learn on a quick outing will give them the confidence to try a longer trip next time. If they’re nervous, try some outdoor day trips first.

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Ezequiel Gonzalez at Hawk Meadow Farm, New York

Get their opinions so you both can prepare

So maybe your significant other draws the line at cold showers. Or lugging camping gear around. Or hiking to the toilet in the middle of the night. Take it slow and share a few options for different places to go with amenities they want—your partner will be more excited about heading out if they play a part in planning the trip and have an understanding of what to expect. They need to feel like this is their trip, too.

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Jenny Morgan at Dipper Camp on Deer Creek, California

Be their #1 fan

A beginner camper is bound to run into some situations that make them uncomfortable. Your love and encouragement will make them feel good about how things are going. Even things you might take for granted, like helping put up the tent, are worth celebrating with someone who’s never done it before. And if there’s something they are sure to face (like more mosquitos than they’d like), prepare accordingly (with plenty of bug spray).

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Ezequiel Gonzalez

Make it delicious

Nothing turns a bad mood around faster than a good meal. Anyone who hasn’t camped before might think camping food is all instant noodles and trail mix. They might even be afraid that you’ll be rationing food. Go out of your way to bring really tasty meals and your loved one’s favorite snacks—ask them what they might want to eat and see what you can put together for a date night under the stars. Marshmallow campfire s’mores are always a win, while hot meals make up for any chilly day and get your partner out of their sleeping bag in the morning. (Camp coffee helps too).

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Blake Rafferty

Keep them comfy and set the scene for cuddling

Speaking of sleeping bags, it’s paramount that you’re comfy at night. A good air mattress or sleeping pad is essential—and you can try a couples’ sleeping pad or double sleeping bag to bring you even closer together. If you aren’t sure what you’ll need for a party of two, check out this camping checklist. Plus, an investment in the right equipment will likely lead to more camping in your future.

If you or your partner aren’t into tent camping, you might even want to consider renting a cabin or going glamping to spend time in the wilderness in true comfort. Battery-powered string lights, a nice playlist, and a bottle of wine can also go a long way—just saying.

Photo by Hipcamp Staff Madison Kotack at The Owl Pine Cabin & Camp California

Don’t be bossy

Just because you have experience doesn’t mean it’s OK to boss your partner around. Would you want to go on another camping trip with someone who acted like a drill sergeant the whole time? Suggest things they could help with, and if they ask how to do those things, show them. Let them try it their own way if they want, even if you know a better way—as long as it’s not putting them in danger.

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Megan Dunn at Rainforest Retreat Hideaway, Queensland

Build in chill time

You want your partner to experience all the amazing things about camping!  But trying to cram too much into a short trip can leave them overwhelmed and exhausted. Suddenly, camping seems like hard work. Give your plans extra breathing room. Spend some time just enjoying the moment and your surroundings together in your camp chairs or a double hammock. For a first-timer, camping itself is a memorable experience, so you don’t have to fill every minute with camping activities. Stargazing, reading, and board games are all simple and relaxing options.

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Nikki Neumann

Celebrate their successes

Plan to make your return home special. On your trip home, stop for a burger and a cold beer along the way, or perhaps an ice cream sundae. Have a treat after roughing it for a couple of days. Maybe indulge in some romantic things like a bubble bath for two back at home. This is an opportunity to create great memories that your partner will associate with going camping. It’s also a good time to find out what they liked or hated about it, and start planning your next trip together.

We hope these couples camping ideas get you and yours away on an outdoor adventure and snuggling under the night sky soon!

More on romantic camping and glamping getaways

Check out these additional articles for more romance in the outdoors.

Toronto-based writer and editor Michelle Waitzman didn’t start camping until her late 20s. In 2007, after hooking up with her now-husband, she wrote her first book, "Sex in a Tent: A wild couple’s guide to getting naughty in nature." She later spent seven years living in New Zealand and exploring its backcountry. Michelle still escapes the urban jungle whenever she can to surround herself with nature.

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