BACKPACKING BASICS

Camping Games for Couples: Stoking the Fire in Your Hearts

Camping Games for Couples
Sean Nelson
Written by Sean Nelson

Have you ever been camping with someone who you barely knew? What about someone who is your longtime partner, companion, and romantic other half? If so, you probably passed the time with one or several camping games for couples. Taking time away from the grind of daily life, in an unfamiliar place surrounded by the beauty of nature, can be a great way to build and deepen relationships.

There’s a reason why so many companies and organizations organize camping retreats! Camping in the great outdoors peels away the layers of our modern world and we can get in touch with humanity at a new level, no matter your experience level.

camping retreats

There are folks in the outdoor community who are weekend warriors, and think very little about waking up early on a Saturday, throwing day packs together and heading out into the wild for two days. There are also newbies, folks who grew up sheltered or away from direct access to nature, who are testing the waters.

No matter if you fall in the first or second camp or somewhere in between, this article has ideas for how you can enrich your camping trip with your significant other!

What’s Your Camping Trip’s Purpose?

Are you going for an anniversary or celebration, a simple weekend getaway, or looking to take things to the next level?

camping-couple

We’ve separated this article into these three sections to help guide you towards planning the best camping trip you have ever had. A few things to keep in mind as you read the next few sections:

  • You can make a game out of nearly anything, with the right mindset and a little creativity
  • You can make a romantic version of almost any game
  • And, for most of the games we have here, you can modify any romantic game to fit your needs if you two are still just getting to know each other

Read through these games and activities with an open mind to get some inspiration for your upcoming camping trip with your significant other.

Romantic Getaway

Here are several games with instructions that you can try during your hiking trip.

Scavenger Hunt

What you will need: Imagination, memories of your time together, something to write clues with, and something to write clues on (think what’s going to be portable and packable, but won’t get ruined if it’s in your pack), and of course, a camera to document every step of the way. Consider what the final reward will be too – if you are celebrating an anniversary, maybe the final clue leads them to a romantic fireside dessert of wine and s’mores.

Scavenger Hunt

Set-up: Unless you have been to this particular campsite before and you know it like the back of your hand, you are going to need to find time to plan out your route.

We suggest against attaching your clues to trees or other natural places around the campsite and surrounding area, for the reason that it violates Leave No Trace guidelines, especially if a clue were to come untied or carried off by an animal (remember you are not the only ones around when you go camping).

Instead, have your partner meet you at particular places around the camp to receive their next clue, or perhaps include activities that involve both of you working together.

couple playing Scavenger Hunt

Why it’s awesome: For couples who have been together a long time and know each other really well, a scavenger hunt can be a really great way to remind yourselves of your story. You can embed the stories in the clues themselves, or maybe what leads your partner to the next clue involves them recreating a piece of your story. That’s the best part – it’s completely up to you how to show your partner a good time.

You can also adjust the length of time. Your scavenger hunt could last the entire time you are camping, or maybe you only want it to last for an afternoon, and lead your partner to a romantic dinner. Completely up to you! If you are planning to make it last beyond sunset, though, make sure you have flashlights and a way to get back to your campsite if you wander off, and of course follow those Leave No Trace rules after your romantic dinner.

Romantic Scrabble

What you will need: A Scrabble board game (the travel version of Scrabble might be best, to keep any tiles from blowing away and ruining that eight-letter word on the triple word score), and a dictionary, in case your partner likes to make up words like ‘romantize’ just to get that pesky Z off their tile holder. Playing on a flat surface like the bottom of the tent, on a picnic blanket, or at a picnic table is best.

coupleplaying Romantic Scrabble

Set-up: Each player starts off with 7 tiles, and plays one romantic word each turn, replenishing their letter stock to a full 7 after each turn. Try only using romantic words!

Why it’s awesome: Who said being romantic can’t also mean being intellectually stimulating? You can channel your inner Hallmark card and play with only love- and romance-related vocabulary, or take things to the next level: allow each other to use words that remind you of your time together (and allow yourself time to reminisce).

Romantic Scrabble

Scrabble, even though it does have little pieces, is relatively simple to set up and break down, and can take up a lot of time if you need it to.

36 Questions

What you will need: A smartphone with the app already downloaded (but no internet required to play), or take the game completely off the grid and create your own question deck, with one question per card. Take turns drawing and answering questions.

Set-up: This game is super easy. You literally just need to make sure either your phone is fully charged and functional, or if you are playing the offline version, that you have a place to set the stack of cards you will be drawing from, and a place to set the discarded ones you have already answered.

couple game 36 Questions

Why it’s awesome: It might sound like just a longer version of 20 questions, but it’s so much more. The questions are really creative and unique (such as, “Before a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?”), and there’s even a 4 minute reflection activity at the end.

The point is to really connect with the other person you are playing with, so take your time, work through the questions and really give them thought. Playing this game as a couple with a long history could give you new insights to the other person, and give you great topics for conversation down the road.

36 Questions

Additionally, there are some questions that play right into the “romantic” piece, such as “Name 5 things you like about the other person”, “What roles do love and affection play in your life?” and so on. You can pick up right where you left off, and sometimes games can go on for several days.

Writing Your Story

What you will need: Make sure you have something to write with and something to write on. This can be your phone and your fingers, or a pen(cil) and your journal, anything. you will also need your memory and a good view, and maybe a nice cup of your favorite beverage, too.

Set-up: Settle into your favorite camp chair in front of a great piece of scenery. The first part of this activity is just to put pen to paper (or fingers to phone screen) for one minute. It doesn’t matter what you write, or if your handwriting looks nice, or if your sentence structure is proper; all that matters is the muscular and mental act of writing. you will find that after a few sentences, things just start to flow, and this primes the brain to writing mode.

camping-couple-writing-story

After the one minute is up, focus your thoughts on your partner and your relationship. Think about things like, What was your first date like? How did you meet? What was the most spontaneous thing you have done together? How do they make you feel? What are some of your traditions together?

Start to write short stories of your time together, and switch after 30 minutes. Even if you are not finished when you switch, you will still be able to enjoy what the other person wrote, feel good, and maybe even draw some inspiration. Repeat this writing and switching process for as long as you want!

Why it’s awesome: For those who are more reflective and introspective, or feel they can express their feelings with the written word than with speech, this activity is a great way to show your partner how you perceive the relationship. You can demonstrate how you felt when they did or said certain things, what you did to get ready for the big first date, how they worked up the nerve to talk to you that first time, and so on.

life-partners

Plus, you will now have something to leaf through when you want to remember how it all began, or any other great memory you have together. This can be a great way to celebrate your love for anniversaries to come!

Just a Normal Weekend, or Getting to Know You

Several more interesting games for you to try with your partner during a hike.

Cribbage

What you will need: A cribbage board, and a standard 52-card deck. Otherwise, you will need a flat surface to place the small game board and your card piles, not to mention a place to put some snacks and drinks.

Set-up: If you are not sure how to play this two-player card game, check out the rules here.

cribbage-block

Why it’s awesome: Cribbage is a game more involved than your average Go Fish but less complicated than Settlers of Catan. There is a good mix of strategy and luck, and using the special Cribbage lingo is kind of fun, too. Playing this is a great way to pass a rainy afternoon, or any kind of afternoon, really. You peg your way around the little board, so it’s really portable, won’t blow away, and you do not have to keep score mentally (so you can put it away and come back to it as often as you would like).

Year 1

What you will need: No materials required for this one! Just your memory and the ability to count are all that’s needed.

Set-up: To play this game is fairly straightforward. One of you will start, and say, “In Year 1, I was…” and name something significant, funny, or otherwise-noteworthy that happened to you that year. Then, the other person goes and says, “In Year 2, I was…” and you continue to switch back and forth.

camping-couple-in-the-tent

You can choose to play all the way up until the age you are, or go as high as you like – when you pass your age, the wording changes to be, “In Year X, I’d like to be/do/have/know…”

Why it’s awesome: This game is perfect for camping trips because you do not need to bring anything extra along to play. Like other great camping games, you can choose to start and stop whenever you want to pass the time, and it’s great for couples because you can choose how deeply you want to dive into your past/future dreams to reveal to the other person.

Would You Rather

What you will need: No materials required for this one! Just your creative ability (or maybe a smartphone to look up funny ideas if you are feeling not-so-creative) to come up with wild scenarios is all you will need.

Set-up: One person starts by asking a question in an either/or format. Something like, “Would you rather be a kangaroo in a pouch, or a kangaroo with a pouch,” for example. The other person has to pick one, and be able to explain why they made that choice. They can ask up to 3 clarifying questions. Then you switch!

hiking-couple-communicating

Why it’s awesome: Similar to Year 1, it’s great for camping because you do not need any supplies. Depending on the kinds of questions you ask, you can discover new things about your partner, whether you have only been together a few months or a few years. If you are feeling more romantic, you can always change it up so that the questions reflect that mood, too.

Battle Scar Galactica

What you will need: Again, nothing! Just the scars on your body and good story-telling skills.

Set-up: Start from the feet, and work your way up your body. Pick a scar and tell its origin story. There are several variations of this game, where you select a scar on your partner’s body, and they have to tell you the story, for example.

camping-as-a-couple

You could also try to tell the story in under a minute, or have your partner guess if the story is true or not (if you are a really good story-teller this might be a fun variation).

Why it’s awesome: Scars on our body reveal a lot about who we are. Depending on what age you met your partner, the scars might come from a completely different chapter of your life that they know nothing about. This is your chance to get to know each other on a deeper level! And, of course, to show off your awesome story-telling skills, and maybe have a good laugh, too.

Enjoy your romantic outdoor getaway

No one wants to bring a ton of extra stuff with them when they go camping – even if it’s car camping. Most folks are going camping to get away from the hustle and bustle and reconnect with nature and each other. So, make that the focus of the games you choose to play with each other while you are away.

couple-playing-games

Bring games that require little or no extra parts, can be done in any kind of weather, and are easy to set up and take down. Any of these games can be great ways to pass the time on a hike, while you are sitting around a romantic campfire in the evening, or enjoying a rainy afternoon at the campground.

Be open, be ready and willing to share a little bit of yourself and ready to receive that from your partner, and you will be laughing, crying (ina  good way), and feeling more connected to your partner in no time.

Have any great games you have played with your partner while camping? Let us know in the comments section below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson

Sean was backpacking since he was 7. He was born close to the RMNP and his father was a ranger, so life surrounded by mountains and wildlife is a norm for Colorado. He likes to explore, but prefers to stay in USA. In his opinion, there are too many trails and options in US to go abroad.

  • Lisa Hogenson

    I was introduced to “beersbie” on my last camping trip! Basically, this is where you put a couple of sticks in the ground, put a beer can on top, and if you knock your opponents’ can off with a frisbee, they take a drink. Silly, but fun!

  • Sean Nelson

    Ah, the things we do during camping. 🙂
    There are a lot of creative ways to bond and share the experience. You’ve just got to be aware of what your loved one prefer – and with that, make the time together memorable. 🙂

  • Grant Alan

    My wife and I always bring a board game with us on our excursions and Scrabble is a favorite because it’s easy to use on our trips. I agree, the travel edition is best. The clear plastic cover keeps the pieces in place, and it’s easy to spin the board.

  • Sean Nelson

    I love Scabble, too AND a game of cards. 🙂
    There are a lot of fun games and activities you can do to bond with you loved one. With no distraction around, make the most of the serenity of nature. Nothing beats being alone, nothing to do and just enjoy nature and each other, right?
    Happy camping and thanks for passing by Grant!

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