For many people, camping is the ultimate way to escape from the grind of daily life. Something about the fact of spending a night under canvas is exciting in itself, even if it is just in a tent right a the end of the garden.
But of course, while camping can take you incredible places and provide a way into amazing experiences it can also go horribly wrong, running your holiday. Here are… things that you need to immediately stop doing when camping if you don’t want the adventure to go awry. Most of them are rookie errors and avoidable with just a little advance planning.
1. Leaving the essentials behind
Packing 101: Should you want to carry everything on your back, you want to keep it as light as possible and not leave the essentials behind.
2. Forgetting to bring earplugs
Here’s a good accessory that won’t take up any space but will prove to be very useful in due time.
Walls in a family tent are as thin as paper. And should be sharing your tent with someone who snores, farts, farts, shouts in their sleep or gets over active one way or another when the lights go out earplugs will shield you from the worst of it.
3. Bringing insufficient lighting
The nights can get pretty long under the stars and unless you want to turn in as soon as it gets dark, battery-powered or solar lanterns are a good idea. At a minimum, a led headlamp is indispensable and leaves your hands free to do other things – like reading or (more likely) the washing up. Again, check if it works before leaving, better yet if it is waterproof (IPX6 standard) in case the heavens open for two days straight, and pack extra batteries.
4. Not testing all your equipment beforehand
When you’re four hours drive away from any means of sorting them out, you don’t want to discover missing tent pegs, a broken sleeping bag zip, a snapped washing line, a leak in the air mattress or a cooker that doesn’t work. Before you set off, pitch your tent somewhere and pour water over to check it is still weatherproof. Likewise get to know the rest of your gear by putting it through its paces, especially if it’s new and untested.
5. Trying to control all the variables
You cannot control all the variables that go into camping… so this attitude is very important in order for the experience to be positive. The more adventure you have… (new campground, new sights to see, new challenges to conquer) the more joy you will experience, and the more you will remember. Have a “Plan B”, like a “bored box”, in your back pocket for those days when it might rains too much.
6. Leaving your bag unzipped
If you don’t want to be surprised by creepy crawlies cuddling in your clothes, or worse still, creepy crawlies that don’t just gross you out, but also bite, sting or burn, it’s best to zip up your bags as soon as you’ve retrieved or replaced your items. To be safe, also shake out your sleeping bag before getting into it blindly. They’re not only a cosy retreat for campers, but also for snakes and spiders.
7. Bringing a yappy dog
No one thinks that their dog is annoying, but we all know that some pets are better off left home. The only thing worse than a camper who stands by idly as their dog barks at passersby, squirrels or for no reason at all, is one who leaves their dog or dogs chained up, unattended at their campsite while they go off for the day. If you have a dog that likes to bark, buy them a citronella collar or leave them at home.
- What’s The Best Way to Go Camping? Our Expert Examines the Options… And Tells You What Not to Do
- The 10 most common mistakes people make when they go camping
- Image credit: John Fowler