10 Common Camping Mistakes to Avoid

Common Camping Mistakes

By Lucy Gomez

In today’s hectic schedule, everyone feels tired and stressed with their daily responsibilities at home or even at work. The feeling of being suffocated and wanting to get away happens from time to time. Who would not be tempted by the idea of spending a night under the stars, the comforting warmth and the dancing glow of a bonfire, the chirping of insects, the sound of flowing water in a nearby stream or river and the awesome stories and laughter shared with friends while drinking a bottle of wine or beer?

Only by being one with nature can a person truly feel refreshed and escape life’s responsibilities and pressure. Only through camping can one could feel a simple joy and have the most relaxing holiday. Camping gives us a chance to bond with our loved ones and be amazed by the beauty of the world.

However, there are instances that things don’t go the way as planned. The idea of spending a simple and wonderful restorative holiday break turns quickly into an awful event where everyone complains about the weather, food and comfort.

Camping doesn’t need to be that way. Most common camping mistakes can be avoided if things are well-planned in advance. Even when you’ve camped out many times, you still need to prepare things carefully to avoid frustrations and possible safety risks depending on the campsite you plan to go to.

So what are common camping mistakes?

The following are ten common camping mistakes every camper should avoid in order to have a fun and memorable holiday.

Selecting an inappropriate tent

Common Camping Mistakes 1Tents have different features, style, quality and ease of set up. You should get the right one that fits your needs and gives you comfort when you sleep at night.

The size of your tent should be at least 30 sq. ft. per camper and it should be able to stand up to severe weather conditions.


Forgetting to research the location

Common Camping Mistakes 2Are you camping at a campsite?

It is very important to know what amenities the campsite offers to help make your packing easy.

If it is not a campsite, be sure it is suitable for your needs and equipment.


Failing to test and check all equipment

Common Camping Mistakes 3A camper should also check if the tent’s poles, fabric and zipper are not broken to avoid arriving with a damaged tent at a campsite.

In addition, make sure that your cooker works, your air mattress has no leak and your sleeping bag zip is not broken.

You don’t want to travel a long way just to discover that something just won’t work for you.


Arriving very late at the campsite

Common Camping Mistakes 4It is a nightmare to pitch a tent when it’s too dark. You don’t want to ruin the start of your restorative break just by being late.

Also if you arrive early, you are often guaranteed to get a good spot and you don’t need to worry that you will wake up next to the toilet the next day.

Have some time to familiarize yourself with the site and look for a good spot with a flat surface and dry grass without any overhanging branches.


Being dependent on weather forecasts

Common Camping Mistakes 6There are instances that the weather forecast is wrong and it is always better to be prepared.

Pack some equipment and clothing that is suitable for different scenarios.

Get some waterproof gear during the summer and prepare some lighter clothing for winter.


Having Inadequate Lighting

Common Camping Mistakes 5It is very important to bring with you lighting that will be sufficient for all the activities you have planned to do at night.

A good way to light up the whole tent is to get a camping lantern. A head torch is also ideal for this as it keeps your hands free.

It is not advisable to rely on your phone’s light as this will drain the battery quickly.


Being Dependent on Campfires

Common Camping Mistakes 7Campfires are the most important aspect of camping. However, there are circumstances that it is difficult to build them up and it can take some time.

This is not pleasurable especially for hungry and tired campers waiting for their food.

It is better to cook using a camp stove to avoid having an empty stomach. There are also local authorities who prohibit campfires in some areas and campsites so it is ideal to check before going.


Bringing Unnecessary Stuff

Plan properly and take note of the things that you will need.

If possible, avoid wasting too much space with unnecessary clothes, gadgets, and gear.

It is very important to be comfortable when you’re travelling and having packed so much stuff like sardines can ruin it.

If you are going with your friends or family, suggest that each should only bring one bag.


Poor Planning and Practice

Camping is more than just a good tent, a good knife, and lighting a campfire. Avoiding common camping mistakes requires a lot of planning and preparation. If you pack without a list, you’ll end up missing something. And if you camp without preparation, there are some possible dangers that you will be unprepared to meet. It is important to prepare yourself for various scenarios.

It is also important to practice building campfires, assembling your tent, testing necessary equipment and learning basic first aid. The more you know, the better.

There are also other online resources such as this one to give you more ideas to avoid common camping mistakes.


Failing to Have Fun

All these tips will be in vain if you fail to remember the most important thing of all – having fun. Don’t get yourself so busy with the chores. Make sure to have time to enjoy and relax. The experience may not be so perfect and there will be instances that things will go wrong, but it is better to just laugh at your mistakes and learn from them. That way, even if you make some of the common camping mistakes, it won’t ruin your trip.

Remember that you are out camping because you want to escape from the pressures and stresses of life and not to be bogged down by stress and chores. That was half the reason you wanted to go camping in the first place! So just have fun and enjoy!

Multiple Contributor at

Lucy Gomez is a camp editor at Getcampingwild.com. She has been camping her entire life and Getcampingwild.com is a place where campers can share everything we’ve learned along the (sometimes prickly) way in the wilderness.

11 thoughts on “10 Common Camping Mistakes to Avoid

  • September 30, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Some great tips for a beginner or a well-experienced hiker I must say. It’s quite easy to get carried away and make mistakes but this surely will help. thanks.

  • March 16, 2017 at 11:31 am

    So important to check all of your equipment before heading out. My family embarked on a massive road trip a few years ago, and the first night in, we realized that we had a missing tent pole. For a week my husband crammed into the kids’ tent and I slept in the car. We tried to find a replacement pole, but ended up having the missing pole shipped from home.

  • March 15, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    This list targets so many easily made mistakes for those new or experienced to camping and believe I have been guilty of many.

  • March 15, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I love this list. At first we overpacked and we started to leave things at home until we figured out what we can’t live without.

    • March 15, 2017 at 8:00 pm

      For most, it is trial and error, until you find a system that best works for you.

  • January 24, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    I’m surprised by the statement: “Campfires are the most important aspect of camping.” Really? I think many campers would disagree. Staying hydrated, warm, and safe would be the most important aspects for most people I know.

    • January 26, 2017 at 6:46 am

      It’s certainly true that every camper has their own views on what is important. I would think the author meant this statement to be said more in the context of the atmosphere when camping, rather than the obvious importance where one’s own safety is concerned. You make a good point though and we hope you found the other points she raises of some interest and value. Thank you for sharing your feedback and happy camping!


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