8 Rookie Camping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them - Panergy
Camping is awesome. Getting away from the hustle and bustle, and taking a few of your closest friends to enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer can be a truly enriching experience, and can really bring you together. At least it can be if you know what you're doing. If you don't, then there's a good chance that your first camping trip will be a huge headache, and may even cause undue strain on your relationships with those unfortunate enough to come along on your ill-fated adventure.
It doesn't have to be that way! Luckily for you, we've compiled a list of the 10 most common rookie camping mistakes, and what you can do to avoid them.
If you're a rookie camper, check out our list to avert disaster on your next camping trip. Here are 10 rookie mistakes how not to make them:
NOT MAKING A LIST
Yes, we know that your memory is the stuff of legends. We know that your mind is like a steel trap, and nothing escapes it? Until something does. Putting together (and then actually using) a checklist for your camping trip is a habit that is second-nature to pretty much any experienced camper.
There are a lot of little odds and ends go into a good camping trip, and it's near-inevitable that you'll forget something without the safety net of a list, especially if you're not accustomed to packing up for a camping trip. Trust us, arriving at the campsite and realizing that you've forgotten something like a sleeping bag can take your trip from great to terrible in record time.
NOT TESTING/PRACTICING WITH GEAR IN ADVANCE
Getting to your destination and realizing that you don't know how to set up your tent is no fun. Always make sure to familiarize yourself with your equipment before you head out.
It's tempting to assume that your gear will all be in perfect working order and that you'll understand how to use it when the time comes, but that's often simply not the case. So set up that new tent in your backyard, that way you can get comfortable with how to use it before it's the only shelter available and your friends are all watching.
NOT PLANNING MEALS
If you haven't picked up on the theme yet, I'll go ahead and enumerate it: things don't just work out when you go camping. In order for your trip to go smoothly, you need to do some planning and preparation in advance. In addition to your gear, you'll also need to put some thought into what you and your friends will eat while you're away.
Consider how many people you'll be cooking for and how long you'll be gone, and use that information to figure out approximately how much food you'll need. Also, don't forget to inquire about your companions preferences and dietary restrictions.
Write up a meal plan and stick to it. Make a grocery trip a day or so before the trip, so that everything's fresh. Don't wait until the last minute, though. Convenience stores aren't exactly the ideal place to stock up on camping supplies, and you'll pay way more than you would at a grocery store.
ARRIVING TOO LATE IN THE DAY
If you've only got the weekend to camp, then it may be tempting to head out at 5:30 pm on Friday to get the most out of your weekend.
Trust us, though; Don't do it. Leaving that late will mean that you'll be hiking to your campsite as the sun goes down, increasing your risk of getting lost on the way.
Even if you do make it to the site, you'll be setting up your tent in the dark, which is also a pretty huge hassle.
So get a good night's sleep and head out early in the morning. That way, you can enjoy cooler temperatures and also have plenty of time to explore, set up, and ask officials and other campers any questions you may have. You'll be glad you did.
NOT CHECKING THE WEATHER
The whole purpose of camping is to have a relaxing time enjoying the beauty of nature, but it's not very relaxing to be confined to a tent for hours upon hours as the wind repeatedly blows it down on you.
Any experienced camper knows that checking the weather is an integral part of planning a successful camping trip.
If you have little or no experience, we'd advise rescheduling your trip if there's severe weather in the forecast. Aside from the case of severe weather, checking the forecast will give you an idea of what clothing you should wear and pack for your trip.
NOT FOLLOWING CAMPGROUND RULES
You'll be out in the wilderness, so you can do pretty much whatever you want, right? Wrong. At most campgrounds you'll be well within earshot of other campers, so be considerate and observe quiet hours, as well as any other rules in place.
Make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the campsite you'll be visiting. Many campsites have designated fire pits so that campers don't build fires where they'd pose the risk of forest fire.
The rules at campsites are in place to make the experience enjoyable for everyone. Don't inconvenience others and risk getting kicked out.
GETTING TOO AMBITIOUS
Your first camping trip is not the time for a drive out of state and 10 miles of backpacking to your campsite. We recommend opting for a relatively low-difficulty trip that's close to home to ease yourself into the experience.
Even if you prepare well, you can bet that something will go wrong on your first camping trip. It may be a minor problem that's easily remedied, but it could also be something more serious. You may have technical difficulties with your gear, forget something, run out of food, encounter bad weather, or even just decide after your first night on the cold, hard, ground that roughing it just isn't for you.
Camping close to home will make any of these situations much more manageable.
NOT PACKING ADEQUATE CLOTHING
It's important to remember that you won't have access to laundry facilities while you're camping, so you'll need to pack enough clothing for your whole trip.
Depending on the weather, you may need some special attire (another reason to check the forecast). If there's a possibility of rain, then you should definitely take rain gear. If you'll be near a stream or body of water, you may want to bring swimwear. A hoodie or other jacket is great for cool evenings.
One more note: take at least one more set of clothes than you think you'll need. One fall in the mud can put an outfit out of commission for the rest of the trip.
Every experienced camper had to start somewhere. Sure you'll make mistakes, but so did every experienced camper when they were getting started. The important thing is to minimize their negative consequences, and learn from them. If you read our list, you've already got a leg up. Now it's time to get out there start preparing for your camping trip.