3 Fun Camp Games Using Items You've Already Packed

Playing camp games is part of the fun of camping, but sometimes packing these games takes up too much space. Camping games don't always require you to bring more. With just a little creativity, you can re-create classic yard games and board games using materials found at your campsite.

Here, we'll outline three lightweight camp games and explain the rules so you can play them on your next camping trip.

3 Lightweight DIY Camp Games

1. Rocks (AKA Washers)

If you've ever played washers using a box, a PVC pipe and, yes, washers, rocks will sound familiar. This yard game is like a combination between horseshoes and bags. The setup and rules are simple.

Camp Games Rocks

The Setup

Take a cup that doesn't easily break (steel or plastic are good choices) and bury it about halfway in the ground, or deep enough so it won't tip over. You can either use one cup and mark a throwing line 10 steps away or set up a second cup at this distance. Gather eight marble-sized rocks and something that is about a foot in length to use for measuring, such as a shoe or water bottle.

Camp Games Rocks

The Rules

This camp game can be played one-on-one or with two teams of two. The goal of the game is to score points by tossing a rock into a cup, hitting a cup with a rock or getting the rock to land within measuring distance of the cup. Players alternate throwing four rocks at a time toward the cup. To avoid being hit with rocks, we recommend all players stand on the same side while throwing. For this reason it would be easy to only set up one cup and mark a throwing line. Two cups can be set up if you'd rather play in an alternating style similar to horseshoes.

  • Rock lands in cup: 3 points

  • Rock hits cup: 2 points

  • Rock is within measuring distance of cup: 1 point

  • First player (or team) to 21 wins

  • Fill in holes when finished playing

2. Egg-Cala (AKA Mancala)

Again, this is a spin on a game many people are already familiar with: Mancala. If you'd rather not pack the game board and stones, just use half of an empty egg carton and stones at camp.

Camp Games Egg-cala

The Setup

Tear the lid off an empty egg carton to use in place of the game board. Gather stones or other small camp items (you will need 48) to use in place of the smooth stones you usually play with. Place four stones in each empty egg carton slot. The egg carton won't have a mancala, or space to place the stones you've collected during game play, so simply place them on the surface you are playing on instead.

The Rules

The rules to Egg-Cala are the same as those of Mancala. This is a two player game. Players sit across from each other, with each player having their own row of six egg carton slots and a goal. Players alternate grabbing all of the stones from one of their slots and moving these stones toward their goal one at a time until no stones remain on the board.

  • A player takes all of the stones from one egg carton slot, and moving in a counter-clockwise direction, drops these stones one-by-one into succeeding slots, which includes their own goal. (Players never drop stones into their opponent's goal.)

  • Once the player gets to their goal, they drop one stone into the goal and continue dropping stones around the board (including their opponent's slots) until they are out of stones.

  • If the last stone a player drops lands in their goal, they may pick up another group of stones from their side and go again.

  • If the last stone a player drops lands in an empty slot on their side, they may pick up the stones from the slot in front of the previously empty slot and go again.

  • When no more stones remain, players count the stones in their goals. The player with the most stones wins.

3. Cairn Topple

This Jenga-inspired Sierra Trading Post original tests the rock balancing skills of all involved.

Camp Games Cairn Topple

The Setup

To play this camp game, all you need is a few handfuls of rocks and stones of differing sizes. Look for flat stones that will be easy to balance.

The Rules

Players sit in a circle with a community pile of stacking rocks nearby. Players take turns stacking rocks on top of one another, creating a cairn. The player that causes the rock pile, or cairn, to topple loses.

Camp Games Cairn Topple

  • Players may either use a community pile of rocks or have each player strategically gather their own pile of stacking rocks.

  • If the top rock is deemed unstackable (too small or rounded), players may stack on top of other rocks at least one above the base rock.

  • If on your turn, the rock you are trying to stack falls without impacting the rest of the cairn, you may try again. If this happens twice in a row, you are out of the game.

  • In the end, the losing player must accept the topple. You may want to set a stacking time limit to prevent topple avoidance.

If you haven't already watched the video above, check it out for a simple bonus toy that can be used for a number of camp games.

What lightweight camp games do you like to play?
posted by
Lauren Seidl
Blogger at Sierra Trading Post
Lauren enjoys hiking, camping, climbing and exploring the outdoors. She's always up for trying something new, especially if it involves getting outside. When Lauren isn't out finding adventures in her home state of Colorado, she can be found writing as Sierra Trading Post's blogger.
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