Practice makes perfect, and there are plenty of things I’ve learned about camping for the first time and over the many, many years. Not only have I learned a lot of lessons and things I should do each time, but I’ve also learned the many things not to do. Some of these camping mistakes come from personal camping experience, and others are things that seem like common sense… but still need to be stated every now and then.
So here ya go. My top list of Most Common Camping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Next time you go camping, just don’t…
ATTRACT BEARS - Always, always, always keep your food tightly sealed and stored up high away from your campsite. Clean up really well after cooking and try to avoid cooking foods that have distinct smells (like bacon. Mmmmm bacon). Get some more tips for bear-proofing here.
OVERPACK - Make a list of all the things you didn’t use so you’ll be more efficient next time. Do not bring too much stuff. Space is a serious commodity in a camping trip. Do not waste too much room or space with unnecessary things like gadgets, clothes, big camping stove and other gears on a camping trip.
PICKING THE WRONG TENT - Tents vary in quality, features, style and ease of setup. You'll need to find the perfect tent for your trip in order to stay comfortable at night or really on your first night! Make sure that your tent will stand up to harsh weather forecast or conditions and check the zippers, poles, tent poles and fabric before you leave for the campsite.
UNDERPACK - Make a list of all the things you forgot so you’ll be more prepared next time for camping trip.
FORGET YOU NEED LOTS OF WATER WHILE CAMPING - If you’re not an avid camper, or a first timer, water can be one of those things you underestimate. Whether you’re car camping and out in the sun all day or you’re hiking to your camping spot, you need water. Lots of water. If you know you’ll be near a body of water, it’s a good idea, a best way or best practice to bring something to purify your water like a water filter and replenish your stash for a clean drinking water, but always make sure you have a few bottles or gallons with you as well to avoid serious risk of drinking non-potable water.
UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF CLEANING YOUR CAMPING GEAR - Sweep out your tent before packing it up. Clean your knives well in between each use. Wash your tent, tarps, sleeping bag, and other camping gear or camping essentials.
EAT POISONOUS PLANTS - I mean… you’d think this one’s common sense, but there are lots of folks who simply don’t know how to identify poisonous plants, edible plants, and plants that can help you in an emergency. Just do a little research about you meal plan, perishable foods and bring this handy field guide with you to avoid common camping mistakes with plants. Think about nutrition and plan out your daily meals. Remember to bring a few bags for your trash or in the instance you're a really bad at your first time camping and you forget your tents you might have to use extra trash bags to make an emergency shelter.
FEED WILDLIFE - ...Unless you want to attract animals, bug bites ( you might be needing a bug spray or insect repellent ) and share your campsite with them, that is.
NOT UNDERSTANDING THE WEATHER BEFORE THE TRIP - The biggest camping mistake you’ll ever make is to not research the weather forecast or conditions of the place you’re planning to camp at. It is very crucial and important thing to know the weather forecast before your camping adventure!
FAILED TO BRING FIRST AID KIT - Having these is essential too. If you end up really needing it, you'll be glad you brought a complete first aid kit for outdoor activity. It gives you tools to prevent the situation from becoming worse. By being able to provide basic care you can stabilize a patient until emergency medical services arrives.
LOSE YOUR TENT - Stake your tent down or else the wind might take it for a little stroll.
FORGET A RAINFLY/ RAIN GEAR - You don’t want to get caught sleeping in the rain without it -- or you could end up looking like a wet dog without your rain camping equipment or warm clothes. It doesn’t take up a ton of room and it’s pretty light, so there’s really no excuse for not bringing it with you especially during camping trip.
LEAVE TOO MUCH TARP BELOW YOUR TENT - If you have excess tarp poking out from underneath your tent, fold the edges or else you risk directing rain straight into your tent.
- THINK YOU CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT A SLEEPING BAGS - You just can’t. Or if you can, you have a back of steel. There’s nothing worse than waking up before a long hike with a stiff back and neck. Quality sleep guaranteed and a must have sleeping pad/Sleeping bag or sleeping bags.
There are plenty of other first time or non-first time camper mistakes have made in the past, and it’s okay to make mistakes -- that’s how you learn. But get ahead of your next trip camping experience trip by making sure you avoid these mistakes. Have any others you want the world to know? Head to our Facebook group to share them.
You can also check HERE the top camping faults to avoid for beginners of camping trips and cooking equipment, grilling hot dogs, BBQ or cooking off the grid.