Anyone who’s ventured out on a last minute camping trip with little to no planning knows that camping can be a real pain if you don’t properly prepare for it. Especially if you’re trying to “rough it”, you need to make sure you do some research and make a list of everything you need, because forgetting one necessary item can mean the difference between a restful or a sleepless night. There are also some important things you need to know once you get there too! Here are the five most common camping mistakes, and how you can avoid them.
Didn’t Check the Weather
“Let’s go camping at the Grand Canyon!” Sounds like so much fun, doesn’t it? Well it will be, if you check the weather ahead of time and notice that nights are as cold as 22 degrees Fahrenheit if it’s in the winter. Maybe that trip should wait for the summer. Having heaters in our homes has made many people forget how cold it can get outside at night. Be sure to check the weather before your trip, and make preparations if it’s going to be cold. Put a pad under your sleeping bag to keep yourself off the cold ground, or better yet bring an air mattress. Be sure to bring a beanie and mittens as well, and perhaps a heater too if you’re bringing propane.
Didn’t Bring Enough Supplies
A rule I always live by when it comes to camping is, “It’s better to have more, than not enough.” As I mentioned previously, you need to make a list of everything you’ll need, and don’t rely on what you think you know. Ask a friend or family member who camps a lot what they normally take with them. Here’s a short list of items many people don’t realize they will need or forget.
- Things to bring: Tent, tent stakes, pillows, sleeping bags, air mattress, headlamp, flashlight, lanterns, extra batteries, bug spray, lighter, lots of water and food, folding table, chairs, tools such as a pocket knife or multi-tool, hammer, garbage bags, first aid kit, propane, camping stove, cooking and eating utensils, sunscreen, ice, cooler, weather appropriate clothing, toiletries.
Last but not least, be sure to test your equipment before heading out to your camping spot. Nothing worse than getting ready to set up your tent and realizing it’s broken!
Arrived At Camp Site After Dark
Setting up camp can be rough enough as it is, but arriving after it’s dark just makes a bad situation worse. Constantly losing tools because it’s dark doesn’t help the setup process, and being a noisy neighbor isn’t a good first impression if your site is nearby someone else. Do yourself a favor and plan on arriving with at least a couple hours of sunlight, ideally three or more. That way you’ll have plenty of time to get it all done with plenty of visibility.
Didn’t Properly Put Out Campfire
Many people don’t realize it, but even if a campfire looks like it has died out, embers may still be there and can stay hot for days. These embers can lead to forest fires or can burn someone if they accidentally step in the area. Be sure to thoroughly drench the campfire area with water or another liquid when you are done with it. Alternatively, you could look into getting a propane fire ring, which eliminates the need to find firewood and you won’t need to worry about embers when you’re done.
Didn’t Keep Tent Flaps Closed
We’re going to journey through time real quick. Picture me and my good friend, Joel, in a tent after a long day of fishing. We hear something moving around on the floor of the tent that sounds big enough to be a small mammal. After turning on a lantern, we see a giant spider the length of a business card. We had left our tent flap open for a few hours earlier. This is the kind of thing that happens when you leave your tent flap open. Don’t be like me and Joel. Keep your tent flaps closed, and in the process you’ll keep all spiders, scorpions, centipedes, and other insects out of your tent.
Have you ever gone camping and made a preventable mistake? Tell us in the comments!