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John Roman

Camping Mistakes to Avoid

Camping Mistakes to Avoid

Practice makes perfect, and there are plenty of things I’ve learned about camping 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 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 camping mistakes to avoid. 

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.
      • Lose your tent. Stake your tent down or else the wind might take it for a little stroll.
      • Forget a rainfly. You don’t want to get caught sleeping in the rain without it -- or you could end up looking like a wet dog. 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. 
      • 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 pad. 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. 
  • Overpack. Make a list of all the things you didn’t use so you’ll be more efficient next time. 
  • Underpack. Make a list of all the things you forgot so you’ll be more prepared next time. 
    • Forget you need LOTS of water. If you’re not an avid camper, 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 to bring something to purify your water and replenish your stash, but always make sure you have a few bottles or gallons with you as well. 
    • Underestimate the power of cleaning your gear. Sweep out your tent before packing it up. Clean your knives well in between each use. Wash your tent, tarps, and sleeping bags. 
    • 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 and bring this handy field guide with you
    • Feed wildlife. ...Unless you want to share your campsite with them, that is. 

    There are plenty of other mistakes campers have made in the past, and it’s okay to make mistakes -- that’s how you learn. But get ahead of your next camping 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. 

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