Planning your first camping trip can feel a bit daunting, but even the most experienced camper had to start somewhere. And even an experienced camper can fall prey to common mistakes that can ruin an otherwise great adventure. Before you and your family set out into nature, make sure you’re prepared. Here are 7 mistakes you should avoid when camping and tips to help you do that.
1. Not checking your tent
Never take for granted that your tent has all the pegs, poles, and pieces you will need – even if it’s brand new. Open it up before you go and pitch it in your backyard, so you’ll already know where everything is located and how much time it takes to put it all together. You don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere with missing pieces to your tent and no clue how to set it up.
2. Forgetting items in a rush
Take time crafting a list of everything you’ll need on your camping trip. Then, designate a camping box, which you can pre-pack with the essentials. Laminate your list and stick it on top of the box -now you won’t lose the list, either! There are many items easy to overlook on a camping checklist, whether it be a bowl to wash up with or an air pump, so it pays to spend your preparation time considering them all.
3. Buy cheap, buy twice
Don’t underestimate your need for a quality tent or sleeping bag when camping. If you don’t yet know that you want to invest in camping as a regular pastime, it’s much better to borrow a friend’s good gear than buy cheap gear of your own. If the weather is absolutely perfect, you may not mind sleeping in a cheap tent. But it only takes the slightest bit of wind or rain to ruin your experience. Who wouldn’t be put off camping if they woke up in a puddle?
4. Not knowing where you’re going
We live in a technological age where satellite navigation can be second nature, and it seems feasible that it would help out a lot when you’re camping. But when you head into the wilderness, you are probably heading to a place that kids these days can hardly imagine – somewhere with no reception! Make sure you have good, old-fashioned paper maps, even ones you have printed off the computer, especially for the last leg of the journey. If it’s somewhere you’ve never been to before, research the surrounding area as much as you can before leaving home, in case of an emergency.
5. Not respecting nature
Researching your campsite should always include researching local animal life. You need to understand the possibility of spiders and snakes and how to best repel or avoid them. Depending on the area, there may be other local animals you could encounter, and it’s important to teach kids never to feed them or engage. It’s also important to know the temperature and what kind of weather you might expect, so that you can pack with extreme cold or heat in mind.
6. Not making sure items are charged
Electrical outlets are hard to come by in the outdoors, so an experienced camper will ensure all his gadgets and battery-powered accessories are in working order. These days, you can purchase products with batteries that last for ages, but everything deserves a check-up before you go. Air pumps, cooking tools, and portable heaters can all die easily. To charge your phone and other electronics, invest in an external battery pack, or simply stay off the mobile games for a couple days.
7. Not relaxing and switching off
Camping is meant to be fun and relaxing, not stressful. If you’re well prepared, you’ll have the best time possible and not have to worry about little problems that can come up. Enjoy spending time with family and friends out in nature, and take in the sights. If you’ve chosen the right location, planned accordingly, and avoided extreme weather, you’re sure to be glad you went.