If you have ever camped or spent some time in the great outdoors, you know the importance of bringing the necessary equipment and focusing on the details of your adventure. However, planning the perfect trip is easier said than done for some.
No matter how many times you have roughed it in the wild, it is always good to refresh yourself on the essential ways to stay safe and prepared while camping. Even if you categorize yourself as an expert camper, chances are you have made at least one of the common mistakes listed below.
It may seem obvious, but you should never start your trip in the dark or in the blazing heat. Setting up camp at night limits your view, opening a world of potential dangers around your site. And, your commotion may bother nearby neighbors, causing tension for everyone involved. On the other hand, it’s usually a good rule of thumb to plan your arrival either before 11 AM or after 3 PM to avoid setting everything up under intense sun. Unless, of course, you’re looking for some extra sweat. In that case, lay on the sunscreen.
Another rookie mistake that professionals often make is to underestimate the elements out of their control. Sure, you’ve set up a tent a hundred times, but there are other factors to consider. Remember, if you’re late, you can only get later. Traffic can be bad, it will take a while to check in, then it will start raining, and now you are trying to set up your campsite in the dreaded dark. Try not to let your ego get in the way of good decisions -- get there early!
2.) Forgetting the First Aid Kit
It is during the picture-perfect moments at the campground that you tend to get excited and somewhat prone to little mishaps like scrapes and minor cuts. So, you’ll want to make sure to pack a few camping first aid essentials. Be prepared for any camping accidents with a well-stocked first aid kit. This should include adhesive bandages, gauze pads, antiseptic creams, sterile wipes and rinse solutions, pain and anti-inflammatory medicine, hydrocortisone cream, tweezers, scissors, safety pins, sunburn relief, antihistamines, hand-warmers and instant ice packs.
Your kit may go unused for months or even years, but you’ll be happy you’ve got it when the accidents inevitably occur. Be sure to check your first aid kit annually and replenish any empty or outdated medicines and supplies before each trip.
3.) Not Planning out Meals
When preparing for a camping trip, you should ensure that each camper will be able to eat a full meal 3 times a day at the campsite. If you’re an experienced camper, you probably know how hard it is to plan for that, especially on a short trip. You might feel like you can skip on the meal plan and just bring some food along, but without a proper plan, you'll be shocked how quickly your food will disappear.
Once you’ve established a proper food plan for your trip, make sure to keep track of what you’ve brought-- it’s not just bears coming for a taste from your picnic basket! Make sure to put all food away when you are not there to guard it. Smaller animals such as squirrels would love to take advantage of a free buffet.
Water is another crucial component to your camping trip. Access to clean drinking water during your trip is essential! Be sure to setup camp where water is available. If drinking from streams or rivers, you'll want to bring along some sterilization tablets. If sterilization tablets are unavailable, you can always boil the water to kill any harmful bacteria and make the water safe to drink.
4.) Shedding Layers Before Bed
Even in the hottest days of summer, temperatures can trick you by dropping dramatically in the evening without any warning. The best practice is to dress in layers and shed or add as need be throughout your trip. Remember, to wear fabrics that will help wick sweat to avoid the dangers of overheating and hypothermia. In an effort to protect the environment, we recommend non-synthetic materials.
Don’t be fooled by the long-running myth that sleeping naked in your sleeping bag is warmer than wearing clothes. It is actually recommended to wear long underwear to increase the insulation between you and the cold air outside. Section Hiker even tested the theory (so you don’t have to).
5.) Not Researching the Weather
Checking the forecast may seem like a natural instinct when planning to spend time outside, but brushing up on changes in the weather can be invaluable on your trip. Knowing what you might face for the duration of your adventure will allow you to bring that one piece of gear that makes a world of difference. An extra blanket because it's going to be colder than anticipated, a rain jacket because of potential storms or an extra cooler of cold water due to a heat wave can all be the difference between an okay trip and a great trip. And, it only takes a few seconds out of your time.
Remember, the weather is far less predictable in the mountains than it is closer to the shore. There is a possibility of getting a few raindrops anytime of the year when you are up on the mountains, so even if you prepare basic rain gear for your hike, it’s always safer to know the weather forecast for the days you are planning to be out camping. If you have the luxury of finding service near your campsite, take the extra step to check the forecast on a weather app each morning.
6.) Forgetting to Keep Your Feet Dry
This one is quite possibly the easiest mistake to make. Letting your feet to get wet at the campsite is simply horrible. Think: your feet can go numb, you can ruin your shoes and socks, and it will make you simply miserable. Luckily, the solution comes as easy as the problem: bring some extra socks and a change of shoes!
Maintaining a rigorous “no shoes in the tent” policy is another way to keep things clean and dry. It might seem tedious to remove your shoes every time you enter the tent, but muddy boots are the quickest way to flip your sleeping space into an unpleasant place.
7.) Skimping on Bug Spray
Did you know that mosquitoes can smell carbon dioxide in a human’s breath from over 100 feet away? No wonder you can’t get rid of them when you’re outside. No one likes getting eaten alive when they’re trying to enjoy their time, but it’s not just mosquitos that you need to worry about. Spiders and ticks and other more dangerous insects are also waiting to get themselves to your skin.
Be sure to pack a bug spray and to spray yourself diligently throughout your trip. We recommend an all natural home made remedy that works quite well. You will also want to wear long socks while out on hikes, even in the summer. This will provide an extra barrier between you and the bugs.
8.) Packing Way too Much
With all the talk about being prepared for your trip, it’s easy to get caught up in packing for any possible situation. Just remember: it’s better to keep things simple.
Take a look at your camping kit. What takes up the most space? Are you able to purchase a smaller, more practical replacement? Think about things like chairs, saucepans, mugs, cutlery, sleeping bags and pillows and see if you are able to upgrade to more compact versions.
9.) Not Taking Care of Your Gear Post-Trip
Have you ever pulled out gear for your next trip only to realize it has not been repacked properly or that there are pieces missing! Searching for tent poles is certainly not something you want to do when you roll into the campground.
Worse than feeling unorganized is finding that your gear hasn’t been properly cared for or cleaned since its last use. Wet gear can rot, rust, mold, lose its waterproof durability and begin to smell. Always wash, dry and repack everything as soon as you return home, no matter how tired you are from travel.
10.) Not Properly Securing Your Gear
Going camping will most likely send you out on uneven terrain, increasing the risk of damage to your equipment in the back of your vehicle. This is just one area where having the best tie down straps is truly important.
Tie down straps can help hold down your equipment or cargo during travels, prevent bouncing or tipping and also be used for emergency purposes. They are also useful for securing overflowing packs, bundling wood and condensing your load.
Having a tie down strap can help ease your mind knowing that your equipment is secured and safe. WRAPTIE™ tie down straps are the ultimate all-purpose strap for your daily needs. Designed with functionality, durability and versatility in mind, each WRAPTIE™ tie down strap boasts our hook-and-loop Fastening System, so you don’t have to deal with damaging hooks or metal buckles. Available in three different lengths, WRAPTIE™ straps are safe, fast, and your options are limitless.
Leave the campground like you found it (or better)! No matter who’s responsible for the mess, try to improve the environment for the next group.Ready to start planning your camping trip? Kick start the process with some of our WRAPTIE™ tie downs. Visit our shop page today!