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Camping Mistakes to Avoid

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 28 Jul 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Camping Tent Planning Camp Site Clothes

Camping is a joy, as all aficionados know. It’s one of the simplest and cheapest ways to enjoy a holiday, and one that brings you about as close to nature as it’s possible to be. But there are things to remember; camping involves equipment, supplies and preparation, and within those there are mistakes that can be made.

Everyone’s made mistakes at one point or another. Avoiding the obvious ones can make the camping trip much smoother, without any extra stress – there’s already enough when going on holiday.

Tents

Then tent is the most basic, and most important, piece of equipment on any camping holiday. It’s also the one that can cause the most problems. If you’re re-using last year’s tent, always erect it in the garden first before going on holiday. This will let you check that it’s still in good condition, and that everything with it – guy ropes, tent pegs – are intact and in working order. If there is a problem with the tent, such as a rip, you’ll have ample time to mend it, and leaving the tent up overnight will give it a chance to air.

If you’re buying a new tent, make sure, first of all, that it’s big enough for your needs. That might seem obvious, but in a good sale it’s easy to be carried away. With a new tent, take time to become familiar with erecting it before going on holiday. There’s nothing worse, or more embarrassing, than struggling with a new tent while other people are watching. Putting the tent up and taking it down a couple of times beforehand is worth the time.

Check Your Gear

Don’t bundle everything into the car and take off on holiday. Spend an evening checking things beforehand. Are the sleeping bags still in good condition? Does the camping gas stove work well – and do you need more gas? Are the straps on the backpacks secure? What about the lantern, does it need batteries? Looking at all these things prevents problems later. Don’t do it the night before you’re leaving, either. Make sure there’s enough time to replace and replenish if necessary.

Checklist

About a week before you’re leaving, make a checklist of all the items to take on the camping trip with you. By allowing that much time you’ll have a cushion to remember the few things you’ll inevitably forget. Assemble everything a couple of nights before your trip; that way, if there’s something you can’t immediately find, you won’t be scrambling around for it at the last minute.

Don’t hope you have everything in the car when you leave. Do an ‘idiot check’ to be certain it’s all there, and that everything is properly turned off and locked up at home. You’ll be on your way with complete peace of mind and return to a house that’s just as you left it.

Planning

Plan your trip before you go. You don’t have to account for every second, but do take care of the basics. Have a sound spare tyre in your vehicle, and the equipment to change it. Make sure you have a reservation at the campground and at any nearby attractions you want to see. That’s especially important at Bank Holidays and during the summer months to avoid disappointment.

Know how to find the campground and what route to take. It only takes a few minutes research – no time at all with a sat nav – but it’s better than driving round hopelessly in the dark.

On Site

Remember, tents aren’t houses. There’s no thick wall to shut out sounds, just a thin piece of nylon. A campground offers little privacy, so any shouting or arguments will be heard far and wide. It’s important, not just for you, but also for your neighbours, to remember to keep your voices down. It’s really part of campground etiquette, but it’s something often forgotten. You can’t act exactly the way you would at home. It’s vital to show more courtesy and thought for others (which most campers do). There are rules at every campground; reading and observing them makes the trip far more pleasant for everyone, especially paying attention to the quiet hours all places have.

Clothes

Be aware of what’s expected in terms of weather before packing for your trip. Never assume that summer in Britain will mean endless days of warmth. Pack a good rain jacket and a fleece or sweater, no matter what the forecast; it’s better to be safe than sorry. For autumn or spring trips, be certain you have adequate warm gear, and that the rain gear you own is properly waterproof – something that can be easily fixed with a spray.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Some mistakes, like forgetting a mallet or not having enough tent pegs can often be rectified by asking people around you on the campsite. However, I’d advise people not to do what I did once – drive three hours to a campsite and start to unpack the car only to realise I’d left the tent at home. That’s a mistake no one wants to make!
Art - 15-Oct-12 @ 10:49 AM
One of the biggest possible mistakes can be in where you pitch your tent. In a campground this usually won't be a problem but in a farmer's field, for instance, you need to avoid the low spots that can become waterlogged, and if possible stay in the lee of any hills to avoid the worst of a wind that can spring up.
John - 31-May-12 @ 10:29 AM
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