If you are planning on taking a camping trip, it’s important you avoid some common mistakes. The wrong decision can turn a fun weekend into a complete disaster. In this article, we’ll provide some of the key mistakes that you should avoid and how to make the right choices when preparing for your next camping trip.
Forgetting emergency supplies
You probably hate thinking about the worst-case scenario, but when you’re camping this is necessary. You need to think about what could go wrong and ensure that you are ready for it. That’s why you should have a first aid kit packed in your bag. This must include all the supplies you need to deal with a variety of small injuries and issues. First aid kits can be compact and will fit into your bag even if you are short on space.
Research your destination
It can be invigorating to pick a point on the map and plan to camp there without any research. As tempting as this is, it’s nearly always a mistake. At the very least, you need to make sure that camping is legal in the location that you have chosen. It’s essential that you understand where to go in an emergency. You also need to know what your campsite is going to offer. Think about the facilities that are available and what supplies you will need to bring with you for the time of year that you are camping. You will find a plethora of information on different campsites throughout our website.
Failing to plan for a disaster
You should always be prepared for the worst possible outcome because it can hit you when you least expect it. You could find that your tent is battered in a storm, or, worst still, due to poor weather conditions it might not be safe to continue to camp. You need to make sure that you understand where a safety point and shelter will be. This could be the nearest hotel or local facility. You should know what steps you are going to take if an emergency forces you to cut your camping trip short.
Cooking inside the tent
Imagine, you're a first-time camper, it’s cold outside, in fact, it's mid-winter, there's snow on the ground, it can be tempting to cook inside the tent. The issue with this should be obvious. It’s not the smell of food that is sure to linger.
When you cook inside a tent, you are creating the potential for a fire. Tents burn incredibly quickly so this is extremely dangerous.
Don't do it. There is also a significant risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Check the slope
You do need to make sure that you are thinking about the slope of where you are camping. Campsites nearly always provide a flat space which is suitable for setting up a tent. However, you still need to make sure the slope is suitable. A particularly steep slope is going to cause issues with practicality as well as comfort. This may not always be apparent when you check-in. A slope can cause issues with water too. If you camp at the bottom of the slope and it rains heavily, you could have problems with your tent getting wet. You may also want to keep this in mind if you are camping close to a river as you could find that you have problems with flooding. Ideally, you should always camp a good distance away from a river in case the weather does turn through the night. If you're unsure, always check at reception.
Forgetting to test your tent
It’s important to make sure that you check that you have chosen the right tent. Setting your tent up in the garden before you go camping is the easiest way to do this. You will be able to determine whether a three-person tent is a little too cosy for three fully grown adults.
You can also check whether a tent is waterproof and ensure that there are no issues with the overall design. A test run is a great chance to check a tent for leaks. This is essential if you’re dusting off your 15-year-old tent or using a tent that has been in storage for a while.
Checking your tent also ensures that you are able to set it up easily. Don’t forget to check that you can set it up in the dark as well. If you get lost or you run into issues you could arrive at the chosen campsite a lot later than expected. You need to make sure that you can still set up the tent the right way. Don't forget the pegs!
Of course, if you can, you should arrive at the campsite early on the day. There’s only so much you can do with a torch when setting up a tent, particularly if there are some surprises, such as the firmness of the ground. You will also almost always end up with the worst spot if you arrive late too. Flooding is not the only issue if you get stuck near the water. It’s also where insects and animals like to gather.
Choosing any old equipment
You need a lot of equipment for a great stress-free camping trip. This includes everything from the torch, sleeping bags and the stove. Each piece of equipment needs to work effectively when you need it to. This is why you should never opt for the cheapest products on the market. Instead, always explore the reviews and what other customers say, they will be able to provide an honest account of what these products are like in real camping situations.
Similar to the tent, you should also check and test these products before you go. Make sure that they work well and provide the solution you need in a variety of different conditions and situations.
Failing to have a backup
Technology fails all the time. Perhaps you've forgotten the charger or maybe your phone has just decided to die on you, this is when it pays to have a plan b. Make sure that you take a spare mobile phone that is fully charged and uses a PAYG sim. By doing this, you can make sure that you can always call someone and get help in an emergency. It doesn’t have to be an expensive phone, it just needs to be able to receive a signal.
This is only one of the backup pieces of equipment that should be packed for your camping trip. You need to make sure that you have spare batteries as well. You should have a supply of batteries for all your camping equipment including your torch.
Visual Design & Content Creation
Ben deals with all things design, working on the visual design of our annual guides, Destinations magazine, information leaflets, social media and email campaigns, and much more across the Alan Rogers, Rallies and Worldwide brands. He also produces written content for our blogs alongside our other contributors.
Largely self-taught, Ben studied Fashion Media at a university in London before realising graphic design was his calling and joined the Alan Rogers team in 2016. He is responsible for the design of all our Europe guides since 2018, Destinations magazines since 2020 and the ongoing development of our Worldwide business.