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Camping The Camping forum is for discussion that relates directly to wilderness camping (commonly referred to as car camping).

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Old 11-08-2008, 09:19 PM
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yippikiyo yippikiyo is offline
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Car Camping and Backpackers - Group Dynamics

It seems like this should be pretty easy to do yet my extended group needs a few suggestions from the experts. We have hikers and campers in our group. Some are campers because they don't want to carry gear any further than from the car to the tent site, others are campers due to injuries that prevent them from backpacking. Then some of us are backpackers and feel it's giving in enough just to spend a night or two on the trail when we could be doing the whole week.
We usually pick a big trip twice a year and try to accomodate everyone by having just a one or two night backpacking trip in the middle of a 4-5 day car camping trip. Yet when the extra-stinky and dirty hikers return and begin telling of the amazing sights and exploits, it just seems the group dynamics change. It's especially noticeable when it's a couple that has split into car camping and hiking groups.
Have you ever had to address group management from this perspective? What have you done for the car campers who are left behind?

Last edited by yippikiyo : 11-08-2008 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 11-08-2008, 10:47 PM
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big_load big_load is offline
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A lot depends on what's holding the group together to begin with. I've attended many such gatherings and never experienced any tension. Some are big extended family deals, where everyone joins whatever subgroup they want for the day and all get back together in the evening, usually forming different, shifting subgroups. It usually works about the same for more social non-family groups as well. Everyone has always enjoyed whatever activities they chose to participate in. The camp folks usually think ahead about what they want to do in camp and nobody hassles them about what they missed. Often it's something they wouldn't have enjoyed much anyway. I think it's important is to limit your expectations, let people do what they want, and enjoy whatever happens. The hard-core hiking folks (I guess that would be my group) have no right to expect that such an event would be one of their big trips of the year. In a week-long family gathering, I usually plan two or three day hikes of different levels and encourage people to step up a level from the last time. Mrs. big_load will often join me, but she'll just as often stay with the campers and do her own thing.
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Old 11-12-2008, 04:05 PM
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WildlifeNate WildlifeNate is offline
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I can't say I've ever run into a similar problem before. I've done big camping trips that split into different groups and never had any big changes in group dynamics upon return. Still, I've never had groups with injured people who couldn't find something to do that kept them happy. There's always been some kind of option for those folks, too.

That may be key to keeping the group happy. Make sure everybody has something to do that excites them or makes them happy. If there are injured folks who can't handle a long hike, make sure there's some car-accessible sightseeing they can do or something that would offer them something to contribute to the group at the end of the day.
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:42 PM
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djtrekker djtrekker is offline
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I guess I run into it on a minor scale. My folks enjoy hiking, and setting up a nice tent camp with a fire, marshmallows and hot dogs is fun, supplemented with day hikes. Sometimes family members want to go antiquing in the local area while some of us hike.

If we are gathering in my area of operations (so to speak) I'll find places to camp that offer a variety of options. For example, close to me is Seneca Rocks in WV - there is abundant hiking, fishing, rock climbing, biking, and even really neat children's facilities full of fun things to do. There are great developed campsites, cabins, and primitive camping to choose from. I find that it pays off often to offer cabins to an older or handicapped crowd that is a stone's throw from the campground where others are staying. We use our imaginations.

I guess it's no biggy because, as mentioned above, I never plan to backpack or get down in the wilderness on one of these. I am grateful that we can have fun around a campfire and spin yarns about the family history together. I think it's a question of expectations. Every outing has a purpose, and I adapt to its purpose. I don't do the Ritz because I don't have the budget for it (or Holiday Inn either); so I appreciate when the family is able to enjoy any level of camping experience.

I actually do not want to share my backpacking with just anyone either, it's a private and important aspect of my life, but it isn't the only thing in my life, so I'll do any kind of camping and enjoy.

It does, however, begin with the fact that everyone enjoys the camping scene and doesn't mind dousing with a little insect repellent or getting a little campfire smoke in their hair.
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:47 PM
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Hanr3 Hanr3 is offline
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Have an Itinerary for each group. Then when the group reunites, each will have stores to tell.
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