Going camping gives you the opportunity to slow down and enjoy simple pleasures; taking in your natural surroundings, cooking on a fire, sitting out under the stars. But perhaps more importantly it’s a chance to defeat your friends in tests of skill and spacial awareness. Bring on some epic camping games that will keep everyone entertained for hours.
Now, we’re not suggesting you lug a croquet set along on your next thru-hike, but if you and your friends enjoy tossing camping gear into a car and getting out of town for the weekend, then bringing a few great camping games along will almost certainly equal good times.
16 super fun camping games
With this in mind, we present a selection of our favourite camping games that are guaranteed to fill the day with silliness and fun that even the most reluctant campers will love.
Fun camping games for families
Planning activities when you are camping with kidsis key to making sure the day goes as smoothly as possible. So having some super fun camping games for families up your sleeves is a sure-fire way to please everyone. It’s also a great way for adults and kids to really enjoy hanging out together. The simplicity and competition of camping games will bring out the kid in everyone in no time.
The quintessential French ball gameis perfect for whiling away an evening at a campsite, all you need is a small clearing and a set of boules. Players take turns attempting to land their metal boule closest to a small wooden target ball called the cochonnet (French for piglet). All ages and abilities can play together and the relaxing pace makes it very sociable. The French traditionally drink Pastis whilst playing, and who are we to argue?
The French aren’t known for their cricketing ability, which is perhaps how this game got it’s name. The batter stands rooted to the spot with feet together whilst rather awkwardly trying to prevent the ball hitting their legs with a cricket bat. Everyone else is trying to bowl or catch the batter out, and whilst they can’t move with the ball, they can freely toss it between themselves to change the angle of attack and attempt to off-balance the batter. There’s no running between wickets, in fact there’s no scoring at all. And it doesn’t last five days. A classic of picnics everywhere.
Mölkky is a fun Finnish game where the aim is to knock down wooden pins, numbered one to 12, by tossing a special throwing skittle, known as the Mölkky.
Players race to 50 points but the unique scoring system adds a fair amount of strategy to the game. Topple a single pin and you score it’s value, but knock over several and you score points equal to the amount of fallen pins. Starting in a cluster, the pins gradually spread out as they get hit, making it much harder to decide which pin(s) to aim for.
Super simple to teach and fun to play, Mölkky will be a sure fire hit on your next camping trip.
What is it with Scandinavians and tossing bits of wood around? This time it’s a Swedish game that supposedly dates back to the Vikings.
Players fling wooden batons across the court aiming to capture (knock-down) their opponent’s Kubbs on the other side. Captured Kubbs are tossed back to your side, boosting your defences and advancing your throwing position. Only after capturing all opposing Kubbs can you attempt to knock over the central King and win the game.
Offering a great blend of strategy and skill, this durable hardwood set will provide you with many hours of entertainment.
These regulation size gameboards fold in half, making them a great camping game for your next trip. Players of all ages will enjoy tossing bean bags (traditionally filled with a pound of corn) and getting them to slide up the gameboard. Score one point for bags that finish on the board and three points for any bags that you manage to sink through the hole. Cornhole is normally played to 21 points, though there are several different scoring systems that could lead to cornfusion, so just agree on one and have fun.
Horseshoes, Quoits, Muckers
All these games are very similar in concept, and involve throwing a hooped object over a stick in the ground. Horseshoes offers rustic charm, whilst Quoits and Muckers are more kid friendly. All will test your accuracy and patience.
Camping games for adults
Who said camping games are just for the kids? Some of the best camping trips are the ones where you don’t leave the campground because you are so engrossed in the hot competition of serious camping games! If you’re unsure then add a beer or two into the mix and you’ll soon appreciate the fun of camping games for adults drinking.
Hammerschlagen / Stump
These two games involve hitting nails with hammers whilst drinking, so probably not something to suggest for the family camping trip. In Hammerschlagen, players attempt to drive their nail into the flat of a tree stump using the wedge end of a blacksmith’s hammer. Stump is a variant where players are trying to hit their opponent’s nail and can be played with a regular hammer. The catch is that they must flip, catch and strike the hammer in a single motion. Obviously both games are more fun with a beer in hand.
You don’t have to be a freestyle champion to enjoy a casual game of hacky sack. Grab a few buddies and see how long you can volley the hack before it hits the floor. The general aim is for each player to get a touch (called a hack, and then a double hack etc), but it’s more about pulling off outlandish and often unintentional moments of greatness. And since you aren’t allowed to use your hands, it’s a great camping game to play whilst holding a cool beer.
The Norwegian Bucket Game
This is a great game if you have a fairly large group of robust campers. First you’ll need to create some sort of tower that is low enough to be jumped over but easy to knock over, buckets stacked end to end work well. Then join hands in a circle around the tower, making sure you get a good grip. The idea is to push and pull the circle until someone bumps the tower and brings it crashing down, or players let go of each other’s hands. Those players are now out, so the circle gets smaller, the tower is rebuilt, and the fun continues until you have a winner, or someone gets hurts.
Tossing a frisbee back and forth is fun, but is there any point? How do you compare skills, vanquish foes and gain bragging rights? Enter Flimsee, where you score points by accurately throwing a frisbee between two sticks, and deny your opponent by catching flying cups. It might sound bizarre, but it’s a thoroughly entertaining camping game.
Polish Horseshoes is along the same lines, but can only be played with a beer in hand.
It turns out people really like throwing stuff at other stuff. This time it’s golf balls connected by string (a bolas), which players fling towards a set of bars in the hope of it wrapping around one and scoring points. The gauchos used bolas to capture animals, and whilst this game isn’t quite as exciting as bringing down a lama, it’s pretty close.
If you enjoy hacky sack but want something more competitive, then look no further than goal hack. Mark out a small goal (you could also use a tent or back of a campervan) and setup with one goalkeeper, three strikers and anyone else queuing up to be the next in goal.
The strikers must get at least one touch each before shooting at goal. Failure to score results in a quick vote for who’s to blame and then that player joins the back of the queue. The goalkeeper takes their place as a striker and a new goalie steps up from the queue. Conceding a goal means being sent straight to the back of the queue and all manner of ridicule.
Camping games for kids
The best camping games for kids are the ones where you can get them going on a game and they love it so much that you won’t hear a squeak out of them for hours! So long in fact, that you’ll be dying to join in on the fun so that you don’t miss out.
This next camping game is a little bit of silliness that kids love. One person stands in the middle of the group and gently throws a ball (a kid’s soccer ball is ideal) to each player in turn. Whilst in the air the thrower says either ‘head’ or ‘catch’ and the recipient must do the opposite (not as easy as it sounds!). Get it wrong and you’re out. Play moves around the circle until only one person is left in and declared the winner.
This cross between tennis and tetherball can keep a couple of kids occupied for hours. Smash the ball around the pole, trying to get the leash to your end of the spiral first. Stabilise the pole by adding water to the base, which doubles as a neat carrying case for the whole set, making it an easy option to bring along to the campsite.
Sometimes the simplest games are the most fun, and they don’t come much simpler than this. Grab a bat each and knock the ball back and forth as many times as you can without it hitting the floor. Strangely addictive.
The Human Knot
Kids will love this silly game. Standing in a tight huddle everyone sticks their arms into the throng and joins hands with other people. Once everyone has found two hands to hold, the group attempts to unravel themselves without unlinking hands. With teamwork and plenty of clambering over and under arms you should finally end up in a single loop.