Game Time! Have a Blast at Camp, Even When It Rains

You’ve just spent the last 6 hours slogging along a boot-sucking mudslide of a trail, have finally reached camp, got your tent set up, put some food in your belly, and are now warm and dry(ish) in your shelter. And it’s 3 p.m. And it keeps raining….and raining. Or, hey, maybe it's a perfectly lovely day, but it's the third day at camp and, well, you're bored (it's ok to admit it). Now what?

At this point, you’ve probably covered all the small talk and gotten a little too deep into conversation with your hiking buddy and, frankly, you're both kind of sick of each other. Spending the afternoon in your tent in awkward silence isn’t necessarily how you wanted to while away your time at camp; but before you go getting all sulky, might we suggest a GAME?

You heard me. Bust out that emergency flask of whiskey that we know you stashed, grab a few props, and let’s liven the mood in this tent! Here are a few games you can play with props found in nature, and some pocket-sized gear that'll up the ante for your next game emergency.


If you didn’t plan ahead…

Props required: Paper and pencil or sticks (to make the grid) along with rocks or other small items to use as markers.
How to play: Seriously? Ok, no judgment. If you really don’t know how to play, here goes. This is a game for two players, the X and the O (or the rock and the pinecone). Each player takes turns marking the spaces in a 3x3 grid. The player who places three of their marks in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal row first is the winner.

Rock Stacking Challenge
Props required: Six to eight differently shaped (the odder the better) small to medium sized rocks.
How to play: Each of you takes turns stacking the rocks (like a cairn, get it?) and whoever can get the rocks to stay stacked for at least 5 seconds is the winner. Challenge each other by choosing which rock has to be the base.

Hot Hands
Props required: Your hands and somebody else’s hands to slap
How to play: Caution, do not play this if the two of you are overly competitive with each other and enjoy upping the ante. We won’t be held responsible for what happens. Just ask any set of siblings anywhere. In this game, two players are face to face. One places his palms up, the other hovers his hands over Player 1's palms. Player 1 tries to flip his hand over and slap the back of Player 2's hands. If the second player flinches or if Player 1 makes contact, Player 2 loses and they switch hands.


Next time, plan ahead….

Here are a few small items that take up very little space and can really save a rainy day (or any long, slow day at camp). 

Bushsmarts Game KitBushsmarts Game Kit: This tiny game kit is the size of an Altoids container, yet it holds everything you need for an afternoon of old-school gaming. This kit, featured in the Cairn Winter Obsidian Collection, includes 6 mini dice, mini playing cards, pencil, score pad, and even some suggested games you can play. Rainy day hero!

Colter Co. Cabin Fever Bandana: We were stoked to include this multi-use essential in a Monthly Cairn Collection. Bandanas are a standby for any outdoor activity because they are endlessly handy – keep sweat out of your eyes, use as a towel, even filter water in a pinch. This version kicks it up a notch by featuring a game board design! Grab some rocks, sticks or pinecones and play tic-tac-toe, checkers, and more.

Pass the PigsPass the Pigs: Ok, this game requires no thought, but somehow is immensely entertaining…which sometimes is exactly what a rainy day in a tent needs. The game includes two tiny plastic pigs that you take turns rolling like a dice, earning and losing points based on how the pigs land. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, and it is. But trust us.

Stanley FlaskStanley Classic Flask: Hey, if you like to enjoy an adult beverage now and again, a chilly rainy day in a tent with nowhere to be couldn’t be a finer time to enjoy a nip of whiskey (in our opinion). But take it easy! This rain isn't going to last forever and you've got more hiking to do.

Here’s the bottom line that we can all agree on: an afternoon spent in a tent outside with someone you care about pretty much tops any day spent inside staring at a screen. So grab your games, a friend, and get out there!

It's a monthly reminder that what matters most to you is just outside. Inside every Cairn box is a curated collection of innovative products, gadgets, and gear that will inspire you to get outdoors. Gear up and get out(side)! Learn More.