In my experience over the past four decades of camping in the great outdoors, I've developed a theory that there are three different kinds of camping groups. There are those that go to party (group 1), those that go off-grid to enjoy nature with friends and family (group 2), and those that bring an awful lot of toys and games with them to spark competitive fires (group 3).

In my younger years--I'm talking teens and twenties--it was a combination of groups one and three I was attracted to when we'd gather for campouts. Plenty of beer, liquor, loud music until two in the morning, competitive games such as darts, ladder ball, horseshoes, and badminton, and a lot of trash talking.

Not so long ago, we created a sort of Olympic games for camping, complete with first, second, and third place plastic medals and ribbons. A large group of us would caravan to the Sawtooth Mountains and spend three to four nights in the backcountry. We would draw numbers for partners to compete with during these games, and often it started minor arguments and fracas.

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Badminton was the one activity where the competition got fierce. It's one of the easier outdoor games to set up. All you need is a little space, two trees, a net, and four rackets. I recall some games ending with people not speaking to one another for several hours. Let's face it, most of us can't go more than a couple of days without some form of competition.

Has competition ever ruined an Idaho campout among your friends or family?

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