Six Mistakes to Avoid on Your Next Camping Trip
by Emily Jannet on Jun 27, 2022
The simplicity of a back-to-basics camping trip is where the bulk of its appeal lies. Even so, it’s also surprisingly easy to go wrong when packing and planning for an adventure in the great outdoors.
Quite simply, make things up as you go along without careful forethought, and you could find yourself paying the price.
With this in mind, here are six common mistakes to avoid when planning your first wild camping trip:
Choosing the Wrong Tent
First up, the right tent for a wild camping trip is a tent that is compact, practical and lightweight. Not to mention, robust enough to stand up to any weather conditions you may find yourself exposed to. Portability and practicality should always take precedence over prestige, when shopping for a tent. As should a tent of sufficient quality to avoid leaks, draughts and weather damage when things are a little wild outdoors.
Being Reliant on Building a Fire
Taking a reliable fire starting tool along for the ride is essential, as you can’t always count on matches or lighters. But at the same time, you also can’t necessarily count on building a fire at all. Plan ahead for the possibility that conditions may render starting a fire impossible, and consider how you’ll get by if a fire simply isn’t an option. While doing so, think carefully about the provisions you’re taking, and how you’ll feed yourself in the absence of a fire.
Not Timing Your Trip Strategically
With wild camping in particular, setting up camp in the dark can be an absolute nightmare. It’s hard enough to see what’s in your immediate vicinity - taking stock of your surroundings in general can be practically impossible. Where possible, make every effort to give yourself plenty of breathing room time-wise, in order to reach your destination with plenty of daylight to spare. In case you don’t, pack some high-quality lighting equipment you can count on to function in all weather conditions.
Failing to Anticipate Changes in the Weather
Speaking of which, it’s best to assume that the weather is (as is often the case) out to get you. Just because wall-to-wall sunshine has been forecast for the entire weekend doesn’t mean this is how things will pan out in the real world. Keeping an eye on the weather forecast is sensible, but so too is ensuring you’re prepared for all possible eventualities. This means taking along the waterproof protection you’ll need to safeguard yourself and your kit from an unexpected deluge, should it hit.
Packing Poor Quality Tools
If you’re planning on spending the weekend in full survival mode, you’ll need the right tools for the job. Knives, scissors, saws and so on - ideally in the form of a trusty multitool. It’s here that the difference between a £1.99 multi-tool and a £50 multi-tool becomes all too apparent - often at the worst possible time. You’ll be placing your health and wellbeing at the mercy of the tools you take with you, so it simply makes sense to ensure they’re up to the job.
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Overestimating Your Capabilities
Last up, real wild camping out in the great unknown is not for the faint-hearted. The further you plan on venturing from civilisation and the more demanding the environment, the greater the need for relevant knowledge and experience. If this is your first wild camping trip, try not to overestimate your capabilities - or those of your companions. Keep things simple on your first outing, gradually building towards more challenging expeditions as you gain confidence.