So I've been invited to go camping with a coworker that I get along with pretty well and his buddies. He says they usually go out to this area in the desert and go off roading and shooting. I've never really been camping but that's not what I'm here for. What is some etiquette I should follow when with these people? The things I can think of:

-ask if inviting me would create a burden

-Offer gas money (if I'm riding with them)

-offer to bring some food

-Bring my own tent

-have my own ammo and supplies ready

-bring beer(?)

-my own kit filled with necessities

The main thing is I don't want to make this guy look stupid for inviting me, and I don't want to be a burden. I figure I need to be on my best behavior, not be too rowdy or loud, and respect everyones things and space. But at the same time I don't want to be a stick in the mud. I really don't know. Any tips guys?

Also, I don't really like to drink. I can't stand the taste of beer. Should I just suck it up and chug it down like the rest of them?

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You pretty much hit the important things.

Ask how they cook meals and offer to chip in money or meat.  Take a few extra snacks and make a point of sharing.   A giant pack of hotdogs is cheap and will amuse campers most of the night.  Take beer and give it away.  I just cannot learn to like the taste of beer either but few guys complain about free beer.  Take a lot of something for yourself to drink so that you do not get dehydrated.   Offer to help cleanup after meals and you will be invited back. 

Dress correctly.  It is a bummer to have one camper show up in inappropriate town shoes and too light clothing which ends up limiting how everyone else gets to play.  If in doubt overdress since you can always take some off.   Bring earplugs for shooting and a hat for shade.  Sunburns make miserable campers too. 

Take a good warm sleeping bag, an extra little blanket like an old poncho liner, a pillow, and a cot or air mattress.  If you are miserable, everyone else has a little less fun.   Bring a light chair for sitting around the fire since the ground gets old to sit on.  If they don't have a tent for you try and borrow a descent one or go thrift store shopping rather than buying a cheap little earth-pimple. 

Do you have your own gun or bow to take and plink with? 

"Do you have your own gun or bow to take and plink with?"

Several, actually! I'm only bringing a few since I don't have too much ammo, and money is tight for ammo, not to mention how hard it is to find ammo...

Good advice! I'll begin packing tonight and do some shoppin during the week. What type of clothing would you reccomend? I'm thinking jeans/camopants/thermal underwear... upper body wear is never an issue for me, it's usually the bottom wear... heh.

Camping here means wearing pretty much wearing the exact opposite of what you would want in a desert.  BDU pants sound best there since they are tough and breath a bit. 

Do you have a .22?  That should still be cheap and plentiful.  It probably would not help for this trip but this is a good time to learn to reload:  Many local shooting clubs and stores will be glad to teach you and it is cheap to get set up with reloading gear.  Since you are in the l. 48 you should have little trouble mail ordering ammo, brass, or other reloading supplies.  

If it were me I tend to enjoy a "rover" shoot with bows.  The leader shoots one arrow and everyone else tries to get as close to it as possible.  Who ever is closest is the new leader and so on.  As folks warm up try and take advantage of terrain to make it harder and when you lose your one arrow you are out (in cut throat rules).  I used to spend afternoons BSing with friends like this but the local rain forest is just not ideal for this game.  It is just harder to BS when you have ear plugs in. 

Offer money for gas and food. Ask what equipment you should bring. If you don't own it, say you can borrow one from someone else, but let these people offer to share theirs. [If they have spares, it's easier to borrow from your hosts than from someone not on the trip, because:] If you borrow equipment from someone who won't be on the trip, make sure you know how to use it. Gear you don't know how to use is worse than 0 gear.

If you bring beer, say you will ahead of time. Some camping places don't allow alcohol.

Is this car camping or will you backpack in/out? Will you be at a campground? A campground will have drinking water and trash cans, so you'd bring your toothbrush, etc., and don't have to worry about packaging with any snacks you bring. If you won't be at a campground, it's a whole other ball game.

Consider that my etiquette book from 1958 for old-money types with town houses and country estates says it is not only proper, but necessary, for a weekend guest to ask what he should bring and how he can help the household. If it's acceptable for high-class society 60 years ago, surely it's acceptable for buds in 2013.

tl;dr Ask your co-worker what you should bring and how you can help.

Don't ask, you've already been invited.

If you don't want to drink, just don't, no need to bring bribe beer for the others

Don't bring up politics or religion. Even if they other guys are going to town, DON'T

Everything else sounds like you know exactly what you are doing and you should be having a great freakin time.

Chip in.  Bring your own gear.  Nobody will care what you eat or drink unless you make a big deal out of it (and if they do, they're the ones with the problem).  Have a great time!

   If you want to chip in on the shooting experience, and do something for the group, it's always fun to show up with some interesting targets. Maybe paper zombies or a few of those little ones that explode when you shoot them, they're fairly inexpensive.  Conserve your ammo if you're not bringing enough to subdue a small country, otherwise you might be standing around with an empty weapon while everyone else shoots for a few more hours.

   As to the drinking, don't drink if you don't want to, no one will think less of you. One of our outdoor crew is a dedicated teetotaller, but he doesn't mind the rest of the crew cutting loose. Be yourself.

   Finally, as for packing, you need to have everything you will need, but not to grossly overpack. Just use common sense and you'll be fine.  Have a good time out there!

Hey guys,

this is some great info! Just letting yall know I've read it. It looks like the camping trip has been post poned for a few weeks, so this gives me plenty of time to buy essential supplies and even ammo.

Ask your friend what they do about food. When i go camping with friends, we each take a meal and prepare it for everyone. That way we each only have to worry about one meal but everyone eats well the while trip. If that's not the way they do it, you'll definitely be eveyone's best friend if you get up early, get the fire going, and have hot coffee and/or breakfast waiting when the other guys get up.


I don't drink, either, and for lots of reasons. After a few times being asked why I don't imbibe, the guys I know respect my abstinence and wouldn't want me to. So, relax, be your own man. Follow the great advice  from the others who've posted.


Why ask whether you're a burden?  They already invited you.  Just don't be a burden.  Pull your weight, pay your share, and get your hands dirty.  Make sure you're doing your share, or more, of the work.  No need for your "best behavior".  Its a camping trip, not a church retreat.  Be yourself.  They invited you ... not a saint.


If you don't drink ... don't drink.  I don't either.  It ain't that difficult.  Don't apologize or explain yourself.  Just say, "I'll have a Coke", and don't mention it again.



I have to say your etiquette suggestions seem pretty sharp to me. I try expose people I know to the woods so I invite them camping when I can too. Definitely offer gas money these days, or offer instead to add to the food pot, or both.

Looking at your suggestions, I would guess you are not going to be a stick in the mud at all. That said, if you don't like to drink, don't do it. Sucking it up and drinking with the rest of the crowd is probably not necessary.

Greg C


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