Categories: CampingGuides & hacks

Relationship Goals: 5 Tips for Couples Camping

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I can’t claim to be an expert at marriage as my husband and I are three weeks shy of our first wedding anniversary. But I can say that I’ve been able to convert a bookworm into a bonafide car camping nut. My conversion worked so well that my husband even helped me start a company that makes camping food. So in celebration of our nuptials I thought I’d share my top 5 tips to introducing a new camper to the joys of outdoor adventure.

Checking-in at Chanslor Ranch

Overlook offered a short haul from the car to our spot perfect for my husband.

1. Understand their misgivings and prepare for them

For my husband this what the fact that he has zero desire to lug things around. That is why for our first Hipcamp adventure, we chose the Overlook site, which is drive-in. But for other friends it has been a fear of bugs or bears. Take it slow and pick a spot that is known for not having whatever the trigger issue might be.

It also helps to work together to strategize ways to avoid encountering the issue. For example, they want a hot shower. Hipcamp lets you filter spots by hot showers. Or if it something they are sure to face (like a fear of tents) put together a plan and let them acclimate.

Oz Farm is close to swimming ready for those who love the water. Photo by Michaela Ravasio taken at Tower Cabin at Oz Farm.

Why not combine cooking, wine-drinking, and camping? Photo by Jo Stein, taken at Overlook Camp, Chanslor Ranch.

2. Incorporate activities they already love

My strategy here was to make time for the bookworm to get in his reading. We brought comfy camping chairs and a hammock so he had a couple spots to chill in and commune with his Kindle. The outdoors is a perfect place for photography, cooking, biking, painting, sketching, craft cocktails—you name it, you can enjoy it outdoors!

Just weave those interests into the daily itinerary. Plus, for outdoor sports lovers Hipcamp lets you filter to sites that make it easy to enjoy your favorite athletic endeavor. The Tower Cabin, for example, has wicked swimming spots nearby.

The magic of the hot coals transforming our brussel sprouts.

Nothing beats cooking with a stick over a fire 🙂

3. Cook with fire

I am not sure why, but a good campfire inspires a sort of visceral response. Maybe it is our cave people roots, but roasting marshmallows or breaking out the cast iron and roasting a big slab of meat or a bunch of veggies just feels right.

This tactic worked particularly well on my husband who is obsessed with cooking and kitchen toys. We now have every camp cookery toy under the sun. Campfire panini press anyone? Beware though! You might have to listen to a debate about the merits of different fireside meat preparations.


Our perfect sunset snuggle set-up includes pup supervision

We’ve got his and hers chairs perfect for fireside sunset watching

4. Snuggling

I can think of nothing more romantic than outdoor snuggles. From inspiring sunsets to “catching” shooting stars, taking in the scenery gets you in a romantic mood. Plus, you can even zip two bags together or “mate” them. The endless jokes to be had just discussing that should inspire your significant other to take the plunge and try camping.

Keep it cozy

5. Make sure they have the right gear

There is nothing worse than going camping and being unprepared. It is worth the time and effort to either buy or rent the appropriate gear for your partner.

The absolute worst is getting cold in the tent—talk about a romantic buzzkill. Make sure you’ve got sleeping bags that are rated the for temperature range you expect to encounter. You can check the temps on the listing before you head out.

Another pro-tip is to make sure that you’ve got a sleeping pad for insulation. If you want to go deluxe I would suggest a couple’s sleeping system that includes a bag for two and integrated sleeping pads. Best purchase ever in my (obviously humble) opinion.

If you aren’t sure what gear you need, check out this trip planner that includes a checklist. Plus, an investment in the right equipment will likely lead to more camping in your future!

As I look back over my first year of marriage I’d like to give camping some props. Getting outside as a couple has allowed us to decompress and reconnect. There is nothing I like more than spending time with my partner in the crime in the outdoors. I can already see us… that little old couple 60 years from now trying out some new gadget in a beautiful spot.

Hopefully, my pro-tips get you and yours outside and snuggling under the stars.


Words and photos by Jo Stein

Jo is the co-founder of CampEats. She and her husband sell meal kits that make it easy to add a little YUM to vacation. Check out her how-to videos and download free trip planning tools on her website You can also see what she is cooking up fireside on Instagram or Pinterest.

Still got love on brain? Read more stories about finding romance in the woods.

Hipcamp is an online marketplace where you can list, discover, and book campsites and accommodations on private and public land. Hipcamp is your go-to guide to getting outside. If you’re a landowner, Hipcamp creates new revenue streams for your business, which can help conserve your land and keep it wild. #FindYourselfOutside #LeaveItBetter

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