The LaBarge Family Camping Adventures

Washers -
A Fun Game for Campers

Here's a great game that's easy to build and a whole lot of fun to play. The first time we took this game along on a camping trip, the whole family had a ball with it.


Traditionally, the game of Washers is played on a court somewhat like horseshoes. Instead of stakes, of course, Washers uses holes in the ground. For portable use, however, special boxes are used which can be easily transported and stored.

Bear in mind that, across the Washers-playing community, there are wide variations in the equipment used and how the game is played. Although the version described here appears to be fairly typical, there is no absolute standard for the game; at least, not to my knowledge.


The steel washers used for "pitchin'" are typically 2-1/2 inches outside diameter and 1 inch inside diameter. I bought mine at a Sears Hardware store for a dollar each. To play Washers, you'll need at least 2 sets of two. Each set should be painted in a bright color that makes it easier to find them in the grass. Some variations of the game use 2 sets of 3 washers; it's up to you.

Boxes for Washers are available commercially but they are also simple enough to build at home using commonly available materials. Boxes typically have 12 inch by 12 inch inside dimensions with a 4-inch diameter PVC pipe "cup" in the center. The walls of the boxes are 3-1/2 inches high and are made from 2X4s standing on edge. The bottoms of the boxes are made from plywood. The bottoms of the boxes are lined with green outdoor carpeting. The pictures below are of a set that I made.

Click for full-size image  Click for full-size image

In use, the boxes are spaced 25 feet apart. The distance is measured from the center of one cup to the other.

Playing the Game:

The rules we use are similar to those of Horseshoes. Each player throws two washers followed by the opponent's two washers. When playing teams, half the team throws from one box and half throws from the other. When tossing, the player must remain behind the front edge of the box.

The scoring we use is:

Points from opposing players cancel each other out. For example, if both players each have two washers that land in the cup, the points cancel each other out and no points are awarded. Only the player scoring the most points in a round will receive points. Suppose, on the first toss, Player #1 lands a washer in the cup while Player #2's washer misses the box completely. On their second tosses, both players land their washers in the box. In this scenario, the two washers in the box would cancel each other. Thus, Player #1 would receive 3 points (for the cupper) and Player #2 would receive none.

Play proceeds until one player reaches a score of 21.

For More Information:

Check out the following websites for more information on playing Washers: