Things that go bump in the night. What’s that wet thing in my sleeping bag? Not quite really. As the team leader of a trekking club, making it to the pre-defined camping location one hour before nightfall was not negotiable. Camp would be set up by nightfall and after supper, there were a couple of hours before turning in. Right, the campfire is crackling and it’s time for fun things to do camping.
Fun Camping Pastimes at Night
By default, the genre is generally spooky stuff with haunted houses taking a thick slice. The narrator would swear to the authenticity though the prime witness was always a friend’s friend or somebody in the grandmother’s nebulous circle 50 years back. But it was truly enthralling and great fun.
2. Playing Music and Singing
Once, On a trek, in our group of twenty, there were six who had lugged their guitars along and one, a mouth organ. And all, without exception were good with their instruments and pretty terrific singers. It soon became a full-fledged concert with everybody participating in the sing-along especially the classic numbers like A Hundred miles, How many Miles, Row, row, row your boat, and so on. The performance went on till quite oçlock, the impromptu gigs keeping everyone rooted.
3. Whip Up A Camp Dessert
No need for a fancy Dutch oven or other deadweights to be carted around. Remember, the idea is fun. Plus on a trek, by the fire, under a starlit sky with friends around, everything takes on a heightened sense of pleasure. That goes doubly for campfire desserts. Believe me, you haven’t tasted anything so superb. All you need is aluminum foil which has been entrusted to someone to bring along.
Chop up fruits, wrap in foil and place it on the fire. Pull out chips or nachos, top them with the toasted fruit; Heavenly.
A variation, crumble some chocolate along with the fruit.
Buttered toast with sugar, lip-smacking.
You don’t have to be a Michellin cook to come up with your own dessert ideas. Just don your thinking cap.
4. Chew The Fat with Your Buddies
It’s a gladdening experience. One of the overwhelming things to do while camping at night is quality time sitting by the fire, feeding it, poking at it under a spectacularly lit celestial sky. You will sooner than later find yourself sharing experiences, jokes, pets, etc. with your pals. It’s a massive destresser. It is all about campfire bonding which will yield new friends.
5. Read a Book
Some are good readers, most lousy. It is perfect to read aloud a book, something funny, ghostly, something that will grab everybody’s’ attention. For god’s sake don’t choose The Alchemist or Godot. These are great tomes no doubt but for campfire narration, zilch.
Of course, you can read by yourself. Especially if it’s personally engaging.
The creative juices go into free-fall when camping. There’s plenty of food for your journal or blog-spot. You can back your writings with some nice photographs taken on your mobile or camera.
Top Campfire Games
1. Two Truths and A Lie
A simple game devised as an icebreaker. Here is how it’s played.
Everyone gets a go.
You tell the group three things; two of them are true and one is a lie. Mix it up to make guessing difficult. Everybody gets a chance to guess which one was false. You reveal the lie after everybody is done guessing. The person who gets it right takes the turn next. If no one can guess correctly, the game continues with the next person to your left.
This is an extremely popular parlor game so all are probably familiar with it. For those who are not, it goes like this.
The whole group is split into two.
The word or phrase is acted out. Talking is not allowed. The objective is to get your team to guess the answer.
Examples are words like Bounce, Chimpanzee, Spin, Golf, etc.
Phrases such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Jungle Book, Cinderella, etc. are some choices. Acting out a phrase is a shade more difficult.
All in all, this is good, wholesome campfire entertainment.
3. Never Have I Ever
This one is also called “Ten Fingers,” basically a ‘drinking game.’ It goes like this:
All stand-up. The person starting says something starting with ‘Never have I ever.’ For example, Never have I ever borrowed money. All those who did borrow at some time have a sip.
Here we replace the drinking part with points. Each person gets 10 points. In the example, all those who did borrow, lose a point. If only one person did the borrowing he has to come up with the story of the happening. It’s the next person’s turn. Persons whose points are exhausted are out of the game and sit down. The last person to still left holding points is the winner.
This is a cool game to get to know each other, expel any inhibitions and reservations.
Some examples of Never have I ever that you could explore.
Never have I ever shoplifted.
Never have I ever crashed a vehicle.
Never have I ever been cheated.
The aim is to get one guy with luck so that he has to narrate the story of the incident.
4. Who Am I
This game is another classic ice-breaker, a guessing game, the more the merrier.
On a sticky note pad, write the name of a famous personality. Each sticky note is stuck on everybody’s forehead. The player tries to guess the identity of the famous person stuck on his forehead based on yes and no responses from the others. You get an allotted time or the number of questions, say 15, you can ask to get to the answer.
5. Play cards or A Board Game
This pastime is great when dismal weather becomes a party-pooper. A deck of cards or a popular board game (also discussed in the pre-trip meeting by the Team leader) is an agreeable way to pass the time enjoyably confined to a tent.
Popular card games are Bray, UNO, Rummy, Whist, etc. Everybody knows a card game or two. He can explain to the others how it is played.
Board games, the more popular being Monopoly, Scrabble, and so on.
Great Night-Time Ventures Away from The Campfire
1. Flashlight Hide-And-Seek
Flashlight hide-and-seek is a lively game much in favor. All that running around is guaranteed to hit the sack, sound sleep assured.
The thrill is looking for something in the dark, a scuffle, a giggle, with a torchlight. The other players simply try to stay undetected. You don’t want to trip so everybody stays in an open area moving positions frequently.
2. Go for A Night-Time Ramble
There’s a bit of adventure tied up in setting off with a torchlight. Better still, turn off the light, wait for your eyes to acclimatize and you will be in a shadow world but enough to see. You can explore the vicinity of the campsite. It is not recommended that you stray afar. If you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of nocturnal life, a fox, a deer, etc.
Away from the city, the night sky really opens up. This is one of my more engaging camping activities at night. You don’t have to know the constellations to enjoy the grandeur of the Heavens but it can add value if you can identify some stars. You have some nice apps like Sky Safari, Sky Walk 2, SkyMap, etc. to help out. You can connect up a telescope to your iphone and have an indescribably fun time. Try collecting star trivia before setting out on your trip to regale your fellow campers. Examples, which are the smallest type of stars? Which star is located on the right shoulder of Orion? Which is the brightest star? And similar such. You can probably witness the death plunge of a meteorite or two.
4. Go for A Dip
Going swimming can be another delightful experience. Just don’t do it in the sea. Any natural water body close to the campsite is a good bet. The water is warmer than the surrounding air and it is like rolling in a warm-water tub. This one too is going to knock you out soundly for the night. So grab your towels, swimwear and head off to the water.
5. Play Flashlight Tag
It’s a version of hide-and-seek. The ‘it’ goes around looking for the others and instead of taking a player out of circulation by touch, a flashlight beam is used to tag out. The usual hide-and-seek elements remain.
Drawing It Together
This is a sampling of what to do when camping. The ideas to foment bonding are restrained only by imagination. The essence of camping is to be one with nature, embracing the outdoors. The bonhomie with your friends elevates it to a pleasure-filled conviviality. Treks and camping trips are organized by institutions and clubs who specialize in the planning and conducting of these trips. Search online for one close to you and go out into nature.
P.S. If you are planning to get lost into the wildness of a jungle, these tips may come in handy.