Camping Fails: 14 Common Mistakes You Should Avoid While Enjoying The Great Outdoors

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

Camping is a great way to get in touch with nature and spend quality time bonding with family or friends.

Of course, there are also a lot of potential dangers lurking around every tree branch that should be avoided at all times. Even if you think of yourself as an experienced camper, chances are you’ve still made at least one of the common mistakes listed below. Luckily, they’re all totally easy to fix.

No matter how many times you’ve roughed it out in the wild, it’s always good to refresh yourself on the essential ways to stay safe. Besides, you don’t want to have worries dragging you down from all the fun, right?

Take a look to see how many camping mistakes you might be making without even realizing it.

And don’t forget to SHARE all the important tips with your loved ones on Facebook to help them stay safe while enjoying the great outdoors, too!

Thumbnail Photo: Flickr / Mr Michael Pham

1. Setting Up After Dark

night camping

The lack of a clear view of potential dangers around your site is obviously not a great way to get your trip started.

On top of that, your commotion could also bother your new neighbors and cause unnecessary tension, dampening the whole experience for everyone.

2. Arriving At The Hottest Time Of The Day


It’s usually a good idea to plan your arrival at the camp site either before 11 a.m. or after 3 p.m. to avoid extra sweat while you get everything set up under the heavy rays of the sun.

3. Bringing A Pet Without Checking On Policies

dog camping

Your four-legged friends might love the great outdoors even more than you, but some campsites prohibit them from tagging along.

It’s usually for their own good when potential dangers are high, so be sure to look at the campsite’s policy carefully.

4. Buying All The Latest Gadgets

camping gear

You might think the fanciest tents and high-tech accessories will make your trip easier, but they can do the exact opposite when you struggle to set them up once you arrive.

If you do go on a shopping spree before camping, just be sure to test out all of your new things well before heading out so you’re not left in the dark out in the middle of nowhere.

5. Forgetting Toilet Paper

toilet paper

You do not want to rely on nature to provide this amenity for you and your family, especially if you’re in an area with potential poison ivy.

Even if the site has restrooms available, those aren’t always fully stocked. You should also keep disposal in mind for your used TP. If there aren’t any facilities available, designate trash bags rather than littering the ground. Your fellow campers will thank you.

6. Packing Way Too Much


It’s easy to get caught up in preparing for any possible situation while out in the elements of nature, but it’s better to keep things simple. Just don’t skip out on including a standard first aid kit along with your clothes and camping tools.

7. Not Packing Warm Clothes


Even in the hottest days of summer, temperatures can trick you by dropping dramatically without warning. The best practice is to dress in layers and shed or add as need be throughout your trip.

8. Wearing Anything Cotton


Experienced hikers and campers like the folks over at Section Hiker have a blunt phrase that gets right to the point: “cotton kills.”

Fabrics like cotton, wool, and rayon won’t wick sweat as well as synthetic options. This can lead to both overheating and hypothermia when wet clothes cool down at night.

9. Not Sharing Your Schedule With Others


Whether you’re in dense woods or climbing around on rocks like the photo above, there’s potential for injuries around every corner.

You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re lost for days without anyone realizing it, so be sure to share the details of your trip with a friend or family member before hitting the road.

10. Leaving Food Out

camping snacks

It’s not just pesky bears looking to steal your picnic basket, although they are of course a real danger at certain camping areas.

There’s a ton of other smaller critters like squirrels that would love to take advantage of the free buffet you provide by keeping your food out — and make a huge mess while they’re at it.

11. Picking A Low Campsite


Rain can suddenly strike in even the driest climates and flood a campsite super fast.

Look for higher ground in which to set your stakes and you won’t have to worry about any potential waters whisking you away.

12. Not Investing In A Sleeping Pad


Even the most rugged campers recommend including one of these convenient pads in your pack.

Getting a good night’s sleep is even more essential when surrounded by all the surprises nature has up its sleeve, so it’s well worth the investment.

13. Shedding Layers Before Sleeping

sleeping bag

Section Hiker laid down the law about the long-running myth that sleeping naked in a sleeping bag is actually warmer than wearing clothes.

They recommend wearing long underwear to increase the insulation between you and the cold air outside.

14. Skipping Out On Bug Spray

bug spray

It’s not just mosquitos that you need to worry about, but spiders and ticks and other more dangerous creepy crawlies just waiting to snack on your skin.

Be sure to pack a bug spray that has DEET and spray yourself regularly throughout your trip. You might also want to wear socks while out on hikes even in the summer for an extra barrier.

Have you ever made any of these common camping mistakes?

Be sure to SHARE with your friends on Facebook so they know how to stay safe while out in nature!