Sorry, I keep thinking of more:
We have some friends that we camp really well with, and some... not so much.
For instance, Jenna, my best friend from college and her husband, Will, live nearby and enjoy camping. We have the same general idea of what makes a good camping trip. Good food, relaxation by the fire pit, the occasional walk or leisurely hike. We definitely aren't "wake up at dawn to do leg lifts with our canoe then go one a ten-mile nature death march." types. So we always have a lot of fun together.
Unfortunately, it has taken a few misfires for us to figure out that it's best just to stick to our two families camping together and not invite anyone else. Even if they try to invite themselves.
David and Dinah: We took a group camping trip once, with Jenna, Will, and their friends, David and Dinah and two other couples. David and Dinah hated everything we did. They spent most of the weekend huffing and pouting because we weren't eating what they wanted exactly when they wanted, we weren't using one of the other couple's pontoon boats as much they wanted, and we were sitting around the fire at night, laughing and chatting, rather than going to the local saloons for fun. They were being so pouty one morning that the group was hiking as planned rather than boating, that we literally left them behind. (Taking the boat keys with us.) They were purposely getting ready slowly and keeping us from leaving, so we gave them a 10 minute warning, then left.
Never again, I told Jenna. NEVER AGAIN.
Sarah: Jenna and I have a mutual friend, Sarah, who HATES the outdoors. I mean, can't stand being dirty or uncomfortable or hot. Shrieks at bugs. Thinks deer are out to murder her. We did not invite Sarah or her husband on our camping trips because we knew Sarah would be miserable the whole time. We were also careful not to discuss it in front of her, to avoid hurt feelings.
Well, a few years ago, Sarah asked non-chalantly if I was planning another campout with Jenna. I said we were and didn't comment further. Sarah ranted about how much it hurts her that we exclude her from these trips and it's not fair. I talked to Jenna and we decided that we'd give Sarah a chance, but we wouldn't change how normally do things. Sarah had to adjust to us, not the other way around.
Sarah's husband had a great time. Sarah... not so much. She didn't like eating outside and said cooking and washing dishes outdoors was too much of a hassle. Couldn't we just go into town for a burger? (No.) She hated sitting outside by the campfire at night to toast marshmallows and chat, one of our favorite parts of the day. There were bugs and her shorts were getting dirty. Couldn't we just sit inside the nice, clean camper and play cards? (No.) She was BOOOOOORED during the day, when we were sitting around reading or taking walks or fishing. Couldn't we go into town and shop? (Considering the biggest store in town was a bait store. No.)
She still insisted we invite her along next time. We declined and bean dipped every time she asked about another trip in the future. The whole experience, watching her have meltdowns over not getting her way, really cooled the friendship for me and I haven't spent as much time with her in the last year or two.
Karen: DH's friend, Mike is married to Karen. We got along just fine in the "Real world" and there was no indication that Karen was a crazy person until we got out into the woods. Isn't that always the case? Karen seemed convinced that she could teach us how to REALLY enjoy camping if she just pushed hard enough. She saw our more chilled out camping as "lazy" and said we were missing the point of sleeping in the outdoors. Even though we laid out our plans - wake up at 7ish, fix breakfast, take the kids to a nature center, come back, put the kids down for naps, fix lunch- she seemed to think that the will of one person (her) outranked the wishes of the eight other people in the group and woke us up at 5 (including the kids) for what she called REAL camping. This meant a much more laborous and less delicious method of making breakfast (weird dutch oven sausage bake casserole thing versus the pancakes we had planned), her demanding that we immediately walk off said breakfast with a super-long hike - not on a marked trail, of course, that's cheating! We declined, went ahead with our plans for the nature center, lunch, etc., and every time we went against her agenda, she barked, "That's not REAL camping!"
When she tried to get between me and my s'mores, ("Let me show you how a REAL camper makes apple pie over the fire!") I told DH and Mike that I was going to re-enact every scary "serial killer vs. terrorized campers" movie ever made if they didn't get this woman out of my face. Mess with my sleeping schedule? OK. Change up breakfast plans? Fine, then. BUT NOBODY GETS ME BETWEEN ME AND CHOCOLATEY MARSHMALLOWY GOODNESS!
Mike seemed to expect this sort of threat to his spouse, as it had happened on previous camping trips.
This may make us sound like elitist "too cool for you" snobs. But I think the real problem is that Jenna's family and mine respect each other's wishes and habits and no one person tries to steer the group's agenda to fit their own needs. In each case above, someone made the trip all about them and refused to believe that someone else might want a different experience.
Now, Jenna and I quietly arrange our trips and just don't tell anyone else.