When a guy wants to take you camping, things are going to get intimate.
I’m not saying that anything romantic is going to happen if you don’t want it to! I just mean that you’ll be sharing each other’s personal space, and you won’t have all the comfort and privacy that you are used to having when it comes to toilets, showers, and getting dressed.
So while camping can definitely be a fun activity between like-minded people, I wouldn’t go with a guy friend unless I trusted him and felt that we both wanted the same things out of the relationship.
Camping can be a brilliant way to build a friendship, but it can also be a romantic date idea—every circumstance is different, and communication is vital!
Warning: You Might End Up Getting Married
When I met my husband, he invited me for an epic wild camping adventure. I’d known him for only a weekend, but I headed off into Scotland with him, and we lived in his two-person tent for three months!
It was the most intense start to a relationship you could imagine.
We were constantly in each other’s personal space. We were often tired and hungry as we hiked long distances with our packs. We washed in rivers and dug holes to go to the toilet. My legs didn’t see a razor the whole time!
We kept joking: ‘We are going to end up enemies or married.’ And we were right!
The good thing about starting off our relationship in a tent is that if we could manage to be nice to each other in such exhausting circumstances, we know that we could survive anything.
Don’t worry; most guys aren’t going to invite you for such an intense camping experience!
You’ll probably just head out for the weekend, and you might even have the modern luxury of a toilet. But if you haven’t been camping with a guy before, this article will help you prepare!
What Does It Mean When a Guy Wants to Take You Camping?
When a guy wants to take you camping, it means he wants to take you camping. (Yes, you read that right.)
I’m not trying to be a know-it-all by saying that, but I do think we read into things way too much sometimes.
It’s a normal human trait to want to find the meaning behind everything that people do and say, but the truth is, we can’t know what other people’s intentions are unless we ask them.
So if a guy invites you camping and you’re not sure whether it’s a date, it’s probably simplest just to ask!
After all, it could be just a genuine gesture of friendship. I know plenty of guys who go camping with their pals, and it has no romantic or sexual connotation at all.
Having said that, I wouldn’t share a tent with a guy unless he was either my family or my boyfriend. (Or someone I was very much hoping would soon become my boyfriend!)
Of course, you can do whatever you want, but I will just warn you that tents are usually pretty small, and sharing a tent is often like sharing a bed.
My advice is slightly different for teenagers, so if you skip down to ‘a note for younger people,’ I’ll let you in on the secrets I learned while camping with guys when I was 14-18.
Sharing a Tent
The best rule of thumb is to sleep in a tent with a guy only if you would be equally comfortable sharing a bed with him.
That will prevent any awkward misunderstandings or tension later on. If you want to go camping with a guy, but you wouldn’t be happy sharing a bed with him, it’s probably a lot less confusing for everyone if you sleep in your own tent.
That will make the boundaries clearer, but it means you can still have a great time on an adventure with your male friend.
And if a guy is annoyed that you don’t want to share his tent? Well, I think that tells you everything you need to know!
Of course, you have the right to change your mind too. Just because you agreed to sleep in a tent with a guy does not mean you have signed a contract. Your body means your choice, and no means no, even if it comes a little later down the line.
There are, of course, some big family tents with separate sleeping areas, so that might be a bit different.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Only you know what you’re comfortable with!
What to Pack for a Camping Trip With a Guy You Like
What to pack will depend on the type of camping you are doing. If you are carrying all your kit in your backpack, it will be different from camping with a vehicle that you can load with your stuff.
For more information, here's an article on what to wear camping with your boyfriend or a guy you like. Spoiler alert: The most important thing is to be warm and comfortable!
Here are the things you need to consider packing as a minimum:
- Tent (Putting it up together will be an interesting insight into the guy you’re camping with as well! Does he go all alpha male and refuse to let you participate? Take mental notes!)
- Sleeping Pad and optional pillow
- Sleeping Bag or Blankets—Blankets are more romantic if you want to share your bed with the guy taking you camping. Sleeping bags make boundaries clearer!
- Food, Stove, and Cooking Supplies
- Water Bottles
- Clothes—Plenty of warm layers
- Toiletries—Suncream, mosquito spray, toothpaste, etc. Plus optional makeup and contraception
- Head Torch
- Comfy Flat Shoes
- Coat, Hat, and Gloves—You’d be surprised how cold it can get at night, even in the summer.
- Washing-Up Liquid and Sponge
- Swimwear—If there’s a pool, lake, or river you might swim in
- Toilet Paper—If you’re wild camping, you need a small shovel to dig a hole, too!
- Small Mirror
- Binbag to pack out all your waste, including toilet paper if you’re wild camping!
- First Aid Kit—It should include bite cream, blister plasters, and tweezers
If you’re going to be car camping, you have the luxury of bringing extra entertainment.
Card games and board games are a great idea because they don’t take up much space. A couple of camping chairs and a small camping table will make eating and hanging out more comfortable.
Why not bring along some candles if you have space in your bags? Candles make everything more romantic!
Is Camping a Good First Date?
For better or worse, camping will be a memorable first date. I recommend that you keep camping for someone you’ve met a few times and feel safe and comfortable with.
Besides, if it turns out that you hate sleeping in a tent, you’re probably not going to put your best foot forward.
I love camping, but my best friend can’t stand it. She is a fun and laid-back girl, but absolutely nothing will compel her to sleep anywhere other than in a comfortable bed!
It’s probably best to work this out before you head out on a trip with someone you want to impress.
Other than that, it really depends on the person. Camping can be an enjoyable way to get to know each other.
But if you decide that you don’t feel any connection with the guy, it can be awkward to spend so much time together, especially if you’re sharing a tent.
In my opinion, camping is a good third or fourth date, and only with someone whom you have a good spark with.
How you run your love life is up to you, though, and it’s best to listen to your gut than my advice!
Consider Your Safety
One more thing to consider on the first date front!
I wouldn’t recommend going camping with a guy you don’t know at all. If you decide that you don’t feel comfortable, it can be more challenging to get yourself out of the situation if you’re far from civilization (Yes, super hypocritical considering how I met my husband, but we did have some mutual friends at the time.)
I would always tell friends and family where I am going and agree to check in with a phone call at a particular time.
A Note for Younger People
I think it’s worth pointing out that a guy inviting you camping is quite different depending on what age you are.
When I was a teenager, it was normal to have ‘campouts’ in the countryside where I grew up. ‘Campouts’ weren’t much like camping; they were more a way to have parties without our parents knowing.
There would be a lot of alcohol, and pretty much all the young guys were hoping to have sex. (Success rates were variable.)
I wasn’t ready to have this kind of experience, and I ended up feeling pressured and uncomfortable. It was hard to say no when everyone was showing off for each other. I felt like I had to go along with what everyone else was doing because I didn’t want to be invisible.
So if you are a 16-year-old reading this and can’t decide whether to go to a camping party with your friends, I hope you know that you don’t have to do anything that doesn’t feel right.
While you can surely go camping with your friends safely and have loads of fun, just be prepared for some pressure to come your way if you’re at a camping party.
And if you decide later on that you’re not comfortable, your parents would rather get a text in the middle of the night asking for their help than know you were in a difficult situation and had no one to turn to.
In fact, why not ask your parents before heading out? You could say something like: ‘If I get into a situation that doesn’t feel safe, would it be OK to call you?
I have no reason to think that’s going to happen, but I just want to know where you stand on that.’
(And if you’re worried they won’t let you go camping, you can always ask them that question a couple of weeks in advance, so it seems less alarming!)
I know that it sucks to feel like you’re missing out when everyone else has plans, but you are going to have millions of opportunities for parties in your life.
You’re going to meet amazing people who never make you feel invisible and who appreciate and respect you for precisely who you are!
When a guy wants to take you camping, it can be romantic, or it can be a great laugh between friends. It depends on your existing relationship, but I think it’s a good idea to clarify what you’re both hoping to get out of the camping trip in advance.
As a teenager, I found a lot of pressure to hook up with guys at camping parties, so it’s worth planning how you would leave the situation if it turns out you aren’t comfortable.
Talking to your parents in advance can be helpful; I sure wish I had done that back then!
I hope you found this article helpful, and I wish you many happy camping adventures, no matter who you go with!
More to read:
Rachel is a freelance adventure writer and founder of Highly Sensitive Nomad. When she isn’t writing, she can be found wild camping in the mountains and swimming in the lakes of Europe.