First Time Camping: 10 Mistakes to Avoid
Picked a Bad Campsite1 of 11
If this is your first time camping, you may assume all campsites are created equal. Quite the contrary! Rookie campers often get stuck with that one spot that offers no shade, no grass and is in a high-traffic area.
Avoid it: A good tent site has shade, grass and flat ground. If you can't tell from the reservation site, call the campground to ask about site-specific features.
Animals Ate Your Food2 of 11
You are in the wilderness, after all. If proper precautions are not taken, it's not uncommon for critters to gobble up all your food and make a mess of your makeshift kitchen. This, however, is easy to avoid.
Avoid it: First and foremost, put all your trash and food away before bed; you don't want anything left lying around. Some tactics to protect your food include: hanging it from a tree or using a bear box.
Your Flashlight Battery Died3 of 11
When nightfall comes, your only light is from the flickering flames and any flashlights or lanterns you brought. Without batteries to power the latter two, you're walking in the dark.
Avoid it: If this is your first time camping, make a master camping checklist well before you leave, this way you can add things as you think of them. As you pack, check off each item, including batteries. You can also create a camping box, and keep extra batteries in it so you never leave home without them.
Left the First-Aid Kit at Home4 of 11
Whether it's your first time camping or your hundredth, you're never immune to cuts and scrapes in the outdoors. Between bike riding, hiking, and running around, someone is bound to get hurt. But, where's a bandage when you need one? In the first-aid kit you left at home.
Avoid it: Keep a first-aid kit in your car; even if you forget to pack it, you'll still have it with you at all times. With so much to remember on your first camping trip, this is one less thing to worry about.
Ran Out of Food5 of 11
With no restaurants, you eat all three meals of the day, plus snacks, at the campsite. It's easy to underestimate how much food you'll actually need if you don't sit down and plan it first
Avoid it: Make a food plan: take into account the amount of people who will be eating, and plan specific meals and snacks. Also plan for increased appetites—with all that outdoor play, your crew may be hungrier than they are when hanging out at home.
Brought the Wrong Clothes6 of 11
Whether you're camping in the rain, the sunshine or the cold, the right clothes make all the difference in how comfortable you'll be for the whole trip.
Avoid it: Check the weather up to the minute before you go. Plan your clothing accordingly and always bring extra layers, just in case.
Slept in the Rain7 of 11
With your sleeping pad, ear plugs and sleeping bag, you're ready for a good night's sleep. But, there's nothing worse than waking up to rain in your tent because you didn't attach the rainfly.
Avoid it: Don't forget to pay attention to the evening forecast. Though you plan for sunshine all day, summer evening showers are common. If rain is rolling in, be sure to put on your rainfly.
Couldn't Light the Fire8 of 11
What's camping without a fire? Unfortunately, without fire starters, you're doomed to answer that question. Though you can often scavenge for twigs and shrubbery at the campsite, its better not to rely on resources you aren't sure you have.
Bugs Got in Your Tent9 of 11
Sleeping with mosquitos buzzing around your head is not pleasant. And you certainly don't want spiders crawling in your sleeping bag.
Avoid it: Close your tent door every time you leave, even just to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Ran Out of Ice10 of 11
Even if you're not planning to cook a lot of meals, much of your food will need to stay cold for the duration of your trip. But, ice is bound to melt eventually, so it's important you plan ahead.
Avoid it: Call ahead to see if the campground sells ice. Otherwise, bring extra or plan to drive to a nearby store for more. Find a shaded spot for your coolers to keep the ice cold longer.