Best Camping Games for the River (Or Anywhere)

Camping Games Everyone Will Love

River guides need to have an arsenal of post-rafting activities up their sleeves, so thank goodness for camping games.  Here are a few we like to play on the river, but really, these games would be fun wherever you’re camping.  Guaranteed they’ll keep your group laughing into the wee hours.

Best camping games: slacklining - Photo: Jakub Michankow

1. Slackline

Slacklining has come into play on the river within the last five years or so, but it’s quickly gaining popularity among both guides and guests. A slackline, which is a thick polyester webbing, is placed taut between two anchor points, usually trees or rocks. The object is to balance, and eventually walk on, the slackline which is a foot or two above the ground. Slacklining is an excellent balancing workout and fun to do at all ages. Hang in there, it does take practice, but know that you’re providing excellent amusement for your onlookers.

Best camping games for the river (or anywhere)

2. Hunker Down

Hunker down is a classic river game, but with a few adaptations, this “tug-of-war” hybrid can be re-created anywhere. All that’s necessary is a wide open area, two ammo cans and a piece of rope (we use the line from our throw bags, but you could try a couple of stumps and a piece of rope). The ammo cans are placed about fifteen feet apart from each other. The throw line is pulled out of its’ bag completely, with the ends at the base of the ammo can. Then, two participants stand on top of the ammo cans facing each other. A countdown is called, “3, 2, 1…HUNKER DOWN!” and both people scramble to pull in as much rope as fast as they can. The object is to make your opponent fall off of the ammo can. It’s really not as easy as it sounds. Insider tip: Take off your sandals and go barefoot to get a better grip on whatever object you’re standing on.

Best camping games: bocce ball

3. Bocce

Italians may have invented it, but rafters have perfected this fun past time. A small white ball called a jack is thrown for the goal. Teams then take turns tossing colorful bocce balls at the jack, trying to get as close as possible. The team whose balls are the the closest at the end win that round and score points. You can make the game as quick or as long as you want by changing up how many points are needed to win overall. Glow in the dark bocce balls have brought this game to a whole new level of fun on the river. Just be careful not to get too close to the water!

Best camping games for the river (or anywhere)

4. Cribbage

Cribbage is even more fun when you’re camping. Sitting in chairs, beverage in hand, this classic card game can be played with two, three or four players. “Crib” has distinctive scoring rounds to it–the “play” and the “show.”  Players move pegs around the board as points are scored until someone reaches 121. Once you’re familiar with the rules (somebody in the group always knows them), you’ll find it’s an easy way to relax and chat with friends while trying not to get skunked (which basically means you lost, lost bad).

What games do you play when you’re camping? Chime in below.


Slackline photo by Jakub Michankow


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  • kwikwater

    Now a couple that you don’t have to bring equipment for.

    Pits. Invented on “Hatch Beach” in Split Mountain, Green River sometime
    in the mid 80’s. Take a kayak paddle, our yakker had a wooden one with
    square corners and a metal edge. Poke it in the sand at a 45 degree
    angle. Walk around in circles until you’ve dug your cone shaped hole.
    Now pace off 13 paces and dig another hole. This is like horseshoes.
    Get 2 pair of beverage cans of different brands. Fill them with sand
    &/or water to your preference.. You’re ready to pitch. Make up
    some system of points for standing up, leaning or just laying in the
    hole, or closest can to the hole, etc… You always have the equipment
    and the daily tide below dams doesn’t steal your horseshoes overnight if
    you don’t pick them up!!

    The other is Crotch Rockets. Find a
    rock around 3-4 pounds for guys and a smaller one for the gals. Now
    stand with your feet apart, reach BEHIND your knees and pick up the rock
    and toss it forward, through your legs. Great Lunch stop game!!!

    • Cari_Morgan

      Love this! Great additions.

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