How ToOutdoorSurvival

5 Common Camping Mistakes: A Weekend Warrior’s Tips

The weekend warrior. A champion of the 9 to 5 cubicle crusaders. The man who finds time to escape the concrete jungle and venture back into nature. The place where a man can find his soul. Where cell reception is spotty and Facebook’s feed is constantly lagging. Where a man can become the creature he always wanted to be; roasting hot dogs over an open fire.  Then the camping mistakes start to manifest.

The problems only start to rear their ugly heads after you’ve parked the car at the reserved campground. One hiccup follows another. And they are ugly. There’s nothing worse than falling to pieces in front of you friends, or significant others. This should serve as a go-to guide in preventing mishaps from taking shape while camping over the weekend. I will list 5 mishaps I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with.

1. Not Enough Batteries/Power.

battery backup, camping power source, extra batteries
The more the merrier…

The headlamp. Often overlooked, but often desired. Nothing says “rookie” like not owning a head lantern. Whether you’re trying to find the trail, or staking your tent after the sun’s gone down, a head lantern is key to weekend survival. A hands-free form of illumination. Yet without a power source, a dead headlamp is deadweight.

Too often we forget batteries at home, even though they only occupy a small space in your camping gear. Bring enough batteries to power at least once over. You never know when or where your juice will go out. Spare batteries ease that worry and provide you with a safety net, because the batteries eventually will run out.  Or you can be green savvy and buy a solar charger.  They have dropped in price in the recent years and can be a very cost effective way to power your devices/recharge the batteries.

2. Too Much booze. Not Enough Food.

camping flask, five outdoor essentials
Old school.

I get it. Camping is an excuse to drink beer and whisky by an open fire. The problem isn’t in the booze, but in the lack of cooler space. Some may say I’m a wet blanket. I’m just being rationale. Half the cooler for booze and the other half for water and edible rations.

Pack tight with the beers; use their shape to your advantage. Too often we forget about something as simple as breakfast or washing our hands with clean water. Pack some eggs, bacon and instant coffee. Trust me, your hangover will thank you.

3. Forgetting a Sleeping Pad (and a pillow).

camping mistakes, sleeping pads for comfort, tent outdoors
Seriously. Don’t forget the pillow…

The tent is pitched. The sleeping bags are laid out. The campfire is dying down to embers. It’s time to settle in for a night’s sleep. You crawl into the sleeping bag and hard objects jut into your back. You forgot the golden rule of camping. A sleeping pad will always alleviate some (if not most) of the issues preventing good sleep. I would recommend a roll up pad, rather then the inflatable type, as they tend to be sturdy and less noisy when you move about.   Sleeping pads are the difference between a good night’s sleep and waking up at 4 am with a sore neck.

4. A Dull Hatchet Blade.

sharp hatchet, whetting stone, dull axe, camping mistake
5 minutes with a whetting stone will keep your hatchet sharp enough to chop wood like butter.

If you’ve invested in a hatchet, or axe, then you know what you’re doing. Whittling down logs to kindling can be a difficult task if you don’t have a hatchet. Too often do we buy a tool then disregard upkeep. Invest in a whetting stone and you’ll never have to fear. Simply five minutes of rubbing and your blade will be as sharp as samurai sword. Well, maybe not that sharp, but good enough to handle the hardiest kindling requirements.

5. Not Bringing Rain Gear

camping rainstorm, tent rain gear
Plan for rain. Enjoy the sun.

As I’ve said countless times, never trust the weatherman. Prepare for rain and enjoy the sun. Always pack rain gear. I’m not talking just about rain jackets and pants, but also a rainfly for your tent. There’s nothing worse than waking up to a sopping wet sleeping bag from sleeping in the rain.

Final Thoughts

campfire coffee, morning cigarette, camping tricks
Nothing better than a morning cup of joe, the great outdoors, and a smoke.

Hopefully having read this, you won’t ever encounter these issues. Nothing is worse than getting out and not enjoying your time. Camping is a chance to explore your inner animal, but that doesn’t mean you have to rough it completely. Planning keeps you from frustration. Pack right the first time and you’ll never worry again. Enjoy the freedom fall camping provides. Enjoy the experience!

 

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The Author

Travis Mandell

Travis Mandell

Former South Florida Police Officer and Detective. Certified in criminal investigations, narcotics, tactical response and firearms. Now that he is in the private sector, he enjoys his constitutional freedom of speech once more. He's always down for some fishing, motorcycle adventures, or camping in the great outdoors.