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10 Lessons Learned From My Camping Mistakes!

camping mistakes and how to avoid them

Follow These Good Suggestions & Take The Mistakes Out Of Camping.

Camping should be fun and getting back to the simpler things in life. Unfortunately, newbies to camping seem to make mistakes that, if they only knew about, they would never make.

The whole idea of camping is to get with family and/or friends, enjoy the great outdoors, sleep under the stars (via a tent) and connect with mother nature. But, if you are new at this and human, you are going to make mistakes. Some of the leading nightmares are; not enough food, you are either freezing from the cold or roasting from the heat and finally just miserably uncomfortable.

Most mistakes are avoidable by having a list of things you need to bring with you. Bring the right clothing for where you are camping, have a way to prepare food and make sure you have the right food to cook. Here are some very helpful tips to enjoy your camping adventure.

The Size Of Your Tent

People who sell tents are either very knowledgeable or will try to sell you something that is not right for your needs. The size of your tent is critical if you are going to have a pleasant time with mother nature. If you are new at this, you should get with someone who is a seasoned camper to help you out.

First and Most Important Tip: Buy a size that can accommodate 2 to 3 times more people then will be staying in the tent. If you have three people, get a tent that will accommodate 6 to 9 people to get plenty of extra space! You have got to have room to move around, and you certainly do not want to be cramped in, especially if you encounter a rainy day.

About Your Equipment

It’s critical you go over all your gear before you leave. It might sound lame, but trust me, if you get to your campsite and are missing tent pegs, your sleeping bag is torn, or your air mattress has a leak – you are not going to have a good time.

A few days before leaving on your trip, pitch your tent so you can inspect it for any flaws or problems. Once the tent is set up, pour water over the entire tent to make sure you do not have leaks, and it is properly weatherproofed. If your tent has a tear and it rains, you are going to get wet! Pitching the tent will also ensure you have all the posts and pegs needed. Notice I said a “few days” before; when testing your tent it’s going to get wet, and you need time to let it dry out.

After giving the thumbs up on your tent and its gear, go over all other equipment you will be taking with you. That includes bedding, cooking stove, containers for storing small items you want to keep dry, utilities for cooking and eating, plates, pans, pots, etc. Untested or unchecked items could surprise you in a not so pleasant way once you are at the campsite.

Think About Your Comforts

I doubt a lot of you will enjoy playing mountain men! Think about what you will need to ensure a good night’s sleep. If you always sleep with a pillow, better pack it up for the trip. Always consider the natural fact that it could rain on your trip or the evenings might get quite cold. You should always pack enough blankets, boots, and clothing that might be needed if the temperature or weather turns to the worst. If you have never used a sleeping bag, you might want to bring along an air mattress to give you added comfort from the cold, hard ground. With air mattresses in tow, grab an air pump, unless you want to spend your time huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf! If you are a light sleeper, consider bringing along ear plugs, nature can get noisy and so can neighbors.

Make A List Of Food Items & Utensils

Camping essentials

Decide what are good options for food over the period you will be camping. Don’t plan on serving 5-star meals. Keep it simple with a nice variety of choices so you are not eating the same thing every single day. You want to concentrate on non-perishable foods, canned foods and dry foods such as rice and/or pasta. When thinking breakfast, consider bread, jam, and peanut butter and if cereal is a must, not a problem, just make sure you bring along powdered milk. Powdered milk has come a long way, and all you have to do is add water and powder for the amount of milk you will need for one meal.

Next, make a list of all the cooking items that will be needed to prepare food. One good pot and pan should suffice for cooking. A large fork, spoon and spatula will be enough for cooking as well. Decide if you want to wash dishes after each meal or would prefer to buy paper plates, bowls and cups. Always include a liquid soap for cleaning up your cooking items.

Buy a box of plastic bags for cleaning up the campsite each day and throwing out the garbage. Also, make sure you have a good supply of paper towels for cleaning up the site as well as keeping everyone clean. You might want to bring along a large bowl for washing up each day and another for washing dishes and pots.

Purchase a few air-tight containers to keep items dry, such as matches for the fire.

Bring along a first aid kit just in case; it should have calamine, sunburn lotion, an anti-bacterial ointment, etc. Outdoors can have its nasty little moments so be prepared.

Arrive At The Campground In Daylight

Anyone who has tried to pitch a tent in the dark knows how totally futile it is. You will invariably choose the worst site in the entire place or will have un-even ground to work with. Get there when there is still plenty of daylight hours so you can select a really good site that is flat, convenient to toilets, showers (if applicable) and the main sources of water. You might want to stay away from a site that has too many overhanging branches, if it rains you could get a soaked. Become familiar with your site’s surroundings so if you go somewhere for a day, you will know where your campsite is when you get back!

Campfires & Barbecues

As much as everyone loves the notion of cooking out on a campfire or barbecue, over time, it can get really old. Constantly having to make a fire just to boil water is going to take a toll on your supplies as well. Before doing anything, check with the campground and find out if campfires or barbecues are allowed. Some campgrounds have their own pits and/or grills for campers to use. If these items are not allowed, purchase a good camping stove, they are not necessarily expensive and are safe. And Remember: Keep Your Matches Dry!

Would You Really Consider Cooking Inside Your Tent!

Believe it or not, there are people that think cooking inside the tent would be a good idea! One, a camping stove sends off fumes from the gas used to fire it up, two you could set the tent on fire and three you could get seriously injured or even killed! Sadly there have been some very tragic cases of people becoming asphyxiated from their stoves and suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. Even if you had a tent designed with vented vestibules, if you are in bear country, bear smells food – bear comes to food – it’s totally suicidal! Rule of thumb, do not cook inside the tent.

Let There Be Light

Too many times people overlook lanterns for those dark nights. Unless you plan on hitting the sack as soon as it gets dark, plan on having a lantern or two. Flashlights are ideal for finding your way to the toilets or water supply, but they are not good enough for reading or washing dishes. Smart choices are battery-powered or solar-charged lanterns; they are indispensable. Also, make sure you test your lights before leaving home. If you have battery-powered lanterns, you might want additional batteries as backups.

Books & Games

Sorry about this one I could not resist!

Inevitably, you will experience a rain day and will be stuck in your tent for the duration of it. Always pack a few good books and some board games. Especially if you have children, they are going to go nuts if they have nothing to do. For small children, make sure they have some of their toys, pencils, paper and coloring books will keep them entertained for a while. Board games come in different ages as well and are not audio loud, disturbing your neighbors. Keep in mind if you drag along your Kindles or large iPods they can get broken. Just make sure you have entertainment items on your list before leaving home. Should you have more than one day of rain, you’ll have fun stuff to keep you occupied.

Take Your Shoes Off At The Door

You’ve been out in nature all day long, the last thing you want to do is track mud and dirt into your sleeping area. A smelly, dirty tent will definitely ruin your evenings plus you’ll spend half a day cleaning up the mess left behind. Make sure shoes stay out of the tent but also, make sure you can stow them in a safe, dry place in case of bad weather. Get one or two large plastic containers that have lids that snap shut; they’re perfect!

Camping should be an enjoyable experience and will be if you have a checklist, follow up on all testing and checking of equipment, make sure you have included all necessary items and plan on arriving at your home away from home while there’s still a few hours of daylight. Follow safety instructions and use a little common sense, if you do, you will have a really great time!

Additional video so you can avoid any camping pitfalls:

10 Lessons Learned From My Camping Mistakes!
5 (100%) 2 votes

Mark Jonson
Mark Jonson
Outdoor enthusiast and rafting addict. From Cleveland Ohio born and raised (GO CAVS). Working for a professional kayaking company located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Ohio. I am a huge NBA fan and spend the rest of my spare time djing as a hobby.

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