Let Us Rescue Your Holidays By Reminding You Of These Common Camping Mistakes!

What a great thing it is to be man, master of all we survey. You can readily escape from the hustle and bustle of the city for a weekend or even for a week or two when you go camping in the wilderness. You will enjoy perfect peace and quiet in a totally relaxing and beautiful setting. However, this does not mean that you should not take the wilderness seriously. Quite the opposite, you must learn how to avoid camping mistakes which can get you into serious trouble.

With the new camping season upon us today is just taking some time to reflect on some of the stupidest camping mistakes we have made and which we have heard about. If you would like to share some of your stories for our website please comment below or join our social media channels on the right side of this page.

Remember, these camping mistakes are all actual things we have either done or seen done, they are not urban myths, which just goes to show how even the simple things in life like camping can be eye opening…

1. It is raining or windy outside so let’s start the fire inside the tent. One of stupid camping mistakes to make.

2. Pitching the tent or swag in a “dry” creek/river/gully bed with a storm coming.

3. Setting up camp below the high water mark on an ocean tidal riverbank. (That actually was pretty funny to wake up with waves washing through the swag). Again another one of stupid camping mistakes but people still do make!

4. Testing the pan toffee (liquid molten hot boiling sugar in a pan over an open fire, usually eaten AFTER it cools down and hardens) with a finger (I still can’t believe he did that) and the very next day putting an unopened can of baked beans in the fire to warm them up… Mental Note never go camping with this guy ever again.

5. Driving away from the campsite to get some supplies with the tent still set up and roped to the car. One of costly camping mistakes in terms of time and money.

6. Watching with no concern the kids go swimming at dusk, with dogs, in an ocean inlet next to where fishermen are cleaning fish and where signs are posted saying “beware shark infested waters” (When we told the local Police they just shook their head at the stupidity….anyone should have fatal campaign mistakes in their top priority to avoid).

7. Leaving dinner meat out to defrost inside a tent in bear/crocodile country and expecting the animal to not tear the tent to pieces trying to get at the meat. At least it was in a plastic bag so the flies wouldn’t get at it. This goes into one of fatal camping mistakes.

8. Camping near the edge of a cliff, getting up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, tripping over the tent rope and over the edge of the cliff. Seriously….this should not even be one of camping mistakes, but pure stupidity!

9. Doing the dinner washing up in crocodile infested waters. Have these people no idea how fast those things are? They can drag grown horses into the water. Oh yeah and then that night going swimming in the same river. They must have had some serious angels watching over them. Another one of fatal camping mistakes that people commonly make.

10. Using petrol or gasoline to get that stubborn fire moving along nicely in wet weather. I knew it was stupid but thought I would be able to step back quick enough, gee that fireball moves fast! One of dangerous camping mistakes caused by lack of cautious!

11. trying to hand feed (take your pick we have heard them all) that cute looking possum, baby bear, fox, fruit bat. The claws people, what do you think the claws are for?

12. Too tired at the end of the camping birthday party to clean up the leftover food and woke up in the middle of the night to find every possum within about 30 miles having a fight over the leftover chocolate birthday cake. But wait here is the good bit, when I went outside (in my undies) with a broom to chase them away they ran at me, actually ran at me and tried to bite/attack/slash me!

13. Not researching where you are going – Camping is meant to be relaxed and fun but it will not be that way if you are not prepared for where you are going. One of insane camping mistakes….at least no where you are going!

You (and your children) could feel that the 6 hour car trip to your campsite could have been avoided if you had heard that the roads had been washed away (simple call to the Park Ranger office would have given that information).

Read up on where you are going, conditions, weather and facilities (water, toilets, campsites). Spontaneity is all well and good when camping, but a lot of effort can go into getting you from A to B, so take the time to ensure that you give yourselves the best chance of having a good time.

14. Not trying your equipment out before you leave home – Put your tent up at least once in your backyard. Try that new light. Work out how the stove operates. Nothing worse than getting to a campsite, and finding out that whilst it looked to be a basic piece of equipment, you actually need to be a Rhodes Scholar to operate it. Or worse, it doesn’t work at all, and that piece of equipment was crucial to your cooking!! This is one of those camping mistakes that can destroy your whole holidays and force you to go back home the next day!

15. Relying on a campfire – Campfires can take a while to build up sufficiently for cooking. To put a Camp Oven in the coals, those coals need to be very hot and that takes time. Great when you can do it, but if you are pressed for time and don’t have the commitment to getting that fire set well in advance of dinner, consider having a back up plan. Again, you do not want to head home on day 2 of your camping holiday…as this is another one of camping mistakes that can cut your vacation short.

16. Buying cheap goods instead of quality – When we started camping, we chose cheaper items because that is what we could afford at the time. But we have since had to upgrade much of that equipment because it wasn’t really suitable for camping more than once a year. Or, just when we really needed this piece of equipment, it fell apart or didn’t do what it was meant too. Cheap camping mistakes!

If you can, try and buy a quality name brand with good guarantees and after sales service. That extra money at time of purchase could save you a lot more down the track. See next point.

17. Buying up big on camping equipment when you are new – Hopefully you will heed Point 16 above, and choose quality items. But in saying that, don’t go crazy and spend a lot of money on all sorts of equipment in the beginning. Firstly, you have to find out if everyone loves camping and want to continue to go (otherwise you have a garage full of expensive unused items).

Secondly, it takes a few trips to work out what you do need and don’t. Take your time and purchase quality necessities not luxuries. Our Porta Pottie was a luxury item, but in my view, also a necessity! Not being carefully on this, you will become another one on the list of people who make costly camping mistakes!

18. Shivering in your tents – Suffice to say, that get your bedding wrong, you may not have a comfortable night ahead.

19. Arriving late at campsite – Turning up late at a campground, looking for an unoccupied space and then when and if you do find a place, having to set up and feed everyone. It is stressful for all. The children may be hungry or they just run off into the dark unknown, thrilled to be released from the confines of the car. Or you have no idea where the toilets are (if they even have any – once more, hope you have done your research as listed in Point 1). For those who have no time management skills….this represent common lazy camping mistakes people make, easy to avoid!

We don’t recommend late arrival at campgrounds as a harmonious start to the trip.

20. Underestimating the importance of lighting – We started out camping adventures with headlamps and hand held torches, because, we were going to have the moon and the campfire to shed light!! That illusion was shattered fairly early on, when it was time to prepare a meal and we had weak headlamps and as for torches, how do you use one of them plus do all the meal prep? We looked around at other campers, with their sites lit up like the sun and had experienced for the first time……..lighting envy. That was it – next trip we had our Coleman lantern (more of that in “Equipment we didn’t like” section of our website ), and have progressed from there to quality LED Lenser headlamps, LED lighting (doesn’t shed a wide light but a powerful directed light) and fluoro lighting (charged via our battery). It sure beats stumbling around in the dark, tripping over hazards, and the children all have their own headlamps too. Don’t underestimate its importance….otherwise you will be another static of people who made camping mistakes that cut short their holidays!!

21. Leaving food and garbage out – Come nightfall, and a quiet campsite, and you will get nocturnal visitors that you had not thought about in your camping adventures (and didn’t read about in the brochures). Foxes and possums and kangaroos are all ones we have encountered attacking garbage. We have woken to find the contents of the day’s garbage, strewn across the site. We quickly learned from that, and now lock up the garbage and sometimes put it on our roof rack. Hanging it high from a tree did not deter a fox at Deep Creek Conservation Park (South Australia), from jumping up and pulling it down.

If they don’t get to the garbage, they will try for your other food, so put it ALL away, and in lock up plastic tubs. In the USA we knew that bears would come looking for food, but we forgot about our own Australian animals and their love of food! This stupidity falls on the long list of camping mistakes that can be fatal because of laziness!

22. Forgetting that its meant to be enjoyable – Final point and the most important point about camping – it’s meant to be fun for all.

Know that it won’t be like home (that is the reason you are doing it surely?), and that some creature comforts may not be available, the kids are going to get dirty in the first 10 minutes of arrival, and sleeping in close quarters with family members may be challenging(!!). But apart from those trivialities, remember that you are there to enjoy the yourself, spend time with your family and experience life away from suburbia. So laugh at the camping mistakes (and learn from them), and don’t get disillusioned if your early camping experience is not perfection in the early days. The main thing is that you are out enjoying the great outdoors.

I had gone from a warm cosy bed to being attacked by possums in my undies in the middle of the night, all to save some chocolate birthday cake.

On that note hope you had a good laugh and hope none of these things ever happen to you.

Browse our Camping List and Tips category for more camping related ideas and information of your interest to guarantee yourself a smooth camping experience!