Camping Tricks: The 5 Most Common Camping Mistakes

camping tricks: Three friends camping with fire on mountain at sunset

Whether you’re a seasoned camper or new to the game, there are some mistakes that come up again and again. These camping tricks keep you covered.

Seasoned camping enthusiasts know all the best camping tricks to enjoy their stays in the great outdoors. Newbies to camping, read on!

Everyone starting out tends to make the same mistakes. A little bit of extra knowledge from the pros can make your first camping trip a success.

1. Camping Tricks 101 – Plan, Plan and Plan Some More!

If you’ve never camped before, it’s easy to think that all you need is a good tent and supplies.

Any seasoned camper knows that planning is the most important part of the process. One part of the preparation process is creating lists.

Packing without making a list is like driving without your lights on. There are so many crucial items you need and it’s easy to miss one or two without a list.

You should make two copies of your list. Use the first one to check items off as you pack. Use the second one to check off items when you are packing to go home.

A good way to organize your list is to break items up into categories. Categories to include are Emergency, Food, Clothing, and Gear.

There are several key items to put on your list! Some of these are:

  • batteries for flashlights
  • first aid kit
  • items to make your campfire
  • trash bags
  • camping gear

Your food list needs special consideration too. A mistake many newbies make is to bring the wrong amount of food.

Plan your meals out day by day. Consider that you will need three square meals, plus snacks.

Remember that all the activity may make you and your camping buddies hungrier than usual, so don’t skimp on meal amounts.

At the same time, don’t over do it! You don’t need to bring an entire restaurant into the woods with you!

Most important, don’t forget the coffee!

2. Campfire Tips

If you can’t get your fire started, you can be in for a cold, miserable night at your campsite.

Make sure that you gather more wood than you think you will need. A good rule is to get about three times as much as you think.

Use the rule of 1-2-3 as well. You shouldn’t begin your fire until you have:

  • one armload of tinder
  • two armloads of kindling
  • three armloads of fuel

Wood needs to be dry to burn, so store the wood you gather in a dry, covered spot. If you buy wood, make sure it’s dry before you purchase.

Don’t forget to pack fire-starting supplies such as lighter fuel and matches.

It’s not a bad idea to learn, and practice, how to set a fire without matches and fuel. This gives you a backup plan if you ever run out of fuel and matches.

Finally, it’s important to make sure your fire embers are completely out when leaving your campsite. Embers can still retain heat for several days and cause forest fires.

Cover the embers with water or dirt to ensure they are completely out.

3. Be Aware of Wildlife

Seeing wildlife in their natural habitat is a wonderful part of the camping experience. You need to be careful to make sure they don’t ruin your outing.

Animals are attracted to the smell of your food. Make sure you wrap everything in plastic bags.

Trash should be bagged and put away in a safe place before you hit the hay for the night. Some campsites have designated trash cans or bear boxes you can use.

Another option is to hang the trash from a tree with a rope if a safe receptacle is not available.

Some wildlife is potentially dangerous. Research your campsite area before you go and how to handle an unwanted encounter.

You also should be ready for dealing with bugs. Pack an ample amount of bug spray for mosquitos and other bugs that may be in the area.

Finally not all wildlife to be wary of are animals! Learn about the plant life in your camping area before you go.

There are many poisonous plants that could make your trip miserable if you don’t know how to identify them. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac should all be avoided.

4. Get the Right Tent

Getting the right tent is critical! Your tent may be the single most important thing you pack.

Size is often judged wrong and campers end up squeezed into a tent that’s too small. Use a measurement of at least 25 square feet per camper.

Weather is also a serious consideration. If you will be camping in a cold or wet area, you need an appropriate tent.

There are many different types of tents to choose from.

Inflatable tents have many benefits (but require you to bring a pump).

Lightweight tents are a good option for campers who will be doing a lot of activity carrying their packs.

When packing your tent, make sure you test it out first. You don’t want to arrive at your campsite to find out your tent has holes or tears that need repairs.

5. Pack the Right Clothes

Research the weather for your prospective campsite. This includes daily and evening temperatures, which can change wildly depending on the locale.

Your clothes should match the weather patterns for your location. Packing, and dressing, in layers is a good strategy to stay comfortable.

Bring headwear, even if you may only need it at night. If you find yourself cold in the tent, a good warm hat can make a big difference.

Packing an extra set of footwear is a good idea as well. If you happen to slip and fall into a creek or get caught in the rain, having only one pair of soggy, cold shoes is very unpleasant.

Having extra clean socks and underwear is also important since these are the clothing items you’re most likely to want to change.

If you anticipate wet weather, pack some extra bags for clothes to keep them dry in.

Be Prepared, and Have Fun!

Follow these experienced camping tricks and plan your trip out wisely. You’ll be glad you did and quickly become a camping expert!

 

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