You would think after years or maybe even decades of camping we’d get really good at camping, making very few mistakes. Sure, we gained some skills and had a lot of fun, but we still tend to make mistakes, mistakes we know we shouldn’t be making. Here are 12 stupid and avoidable mistakes that we still make. Heck, you probably still will after reading this. And I’ll probably keep making them after writing this.
Once you’ve set up your tent and turned your campsite into a home about 100 times, you probably think you’re a pro. Then comes the time when you decide get to the campsite a little late. Traffic was bad so you go there even later. Then it took a while to check in. Then it started raining. And now you are trying to set up your campsite in the dark. A rookie mistake for a professional. Try not to let your experiences get in the way of good decisions. Get there early.
Not Reserving a Campsite
If you reserve your campsite every single month and when you arrive there are half the campsites available you might feel like skipping the step of calling in your reservation. It’s just another hassle, another time wasting thing you do. But then, when you don’t reserve it, the campsites are all full. There’s a wedding that weekend. Or a group outing. Maybe a college reunion. Whatever it is, it can happen. Just call it in. This time and every time.
Not Looking Before You Set Up Your Tent
Setting up your tent takes patience and awareness. It can get a little boring. We can easily forget to check the ground under the tent, the trees above it, and the area around it. When you forget to check the ground, and check it carefully, you might find yourself sleeping on hard rocks or roots, with dead tree limbs above your tent, and maybe even at the low point of your campsite, where water will collect. It just takes a few minutes to ensure you tent is in an ideal location.
Not Bringing a First Aid Kit
The First Aid Kit can take up some extra room in your pack. And it can go unused for months and even years. With time you may start to wonder what else you can fit in your pack, if you left your first aid kit at home. Heck, most campsites will have a first aid kit available anyway, right? You might enjoy the extra room until you get a cut or twist an ankle when the campground office is closed. Then you’ll realize how important your First Aid Kit really is.
Not Bringing an Extra Headlamp
If you want to be able to do anything at night, away from the campfire, you will need a Headlamp. It’s easy to become spoiled to the usefulness of the Headlamp. And you will be punished if you don’t bring one and an extra one just in case. That extra one might take up a little bit of room, but when the first one breaks on the first night, you’ll be pretty upset if you shelved the back up.
Not Planning Out Meals
You probably know how a proper meal plan ensures everyone has a good, decent meal 3 times a day at the campsite. But you also probably know how hard it is to set up. The times when you’re camping just for the weekend, you might feel like you can skip on the meal plan and just bring some food along. Without the right plan, you’ll be shocked how quickly all your food disappears. A very hungry Sunday will be your reminder that a meal plan should not be skipped.
Not Collecting Enough Firewood
Not collecting enough firewood is just a part of camping for most people. They just never collect enough for their whole stay. If the weather is good and you have the light, you must collect enough your first day. If you don’t, bad weather and bad luck can prevent you from collecting more, useful wood. When you collect the firewood, ensure you’re collecting tinder and kindling along with the firewood.
Forgetting Dish Soap
It’s easy to think Dish Soap isn’t that important. That is, until you don’t have any. When you don’t have dish soap, you don’t have clean dishes. After a week all your dishes, pots, pans, and cups are just covered in grease and film and dirt. Luckily, it’s easy to pack just one biodegradable soap that you can use for your dishes, your hair, and your face. Keep it with your camping stuff and you won’t need to ‘remember’.
Not Researching the Weather
Checking the weather does not take a lot of time, but the information you gather from it can be invaluable. Knowing what you might face will allow you to bring that one extra piece of gear that makes a world of difference. An extra blanket because it’s going to be a cold night, a rain jacket because of storms, or an extra cooler of cold water due to a hot summer can all be the difference between an okay time and a great time. Also, it takes like 10 seconds.
Not Keeping Your Feet Dry
This is the easiest mistake to make and people make it all of the time. Allowing your feet to get wet, at the campsite, is horrible. It makes your feet hurt and go white. It can ruin your shoes and socks. And it will just make you miserable. Bringing extra socks, a change of shoes, and making sure you dry them out is easy to do and makes such a world of difference. You should never have wet feet while camping. Just never.
These 10 mistakes are easy to avoid and they make us feel like damn idiots when we make them, again and again. But, maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t have to be like that. Maybe today is when we