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The Gearzette
Top 10 camping mistakes

Top 10 camping mistakes

- October 20, 2023

Let’s learn from the mistakes of others. Check out 10 of the most common camping mistakes people make and how to avoid them.

© Craig Kolesky

1. Not prepared for bad weather​

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong gear. How prepared are you for a weekend of camping with 48 hours of non-stop rain? A quick-to-set-up awning on the side of your vehicle will easily provide great shelter from the rain and sunshine, thereby keeping you dry and smiling. Some awnings even have bug-proof sides and floors. Get properly geared up, and you can go camping in any weather.  ​

© Craig Kolesky ​

2. Forgetting essential items​

Some things are just too important to forget. Why not put all the things you don’t want to forget into one plastic storage box? This could include a first aid kit, essential tools, Leatherman, firelighters, matches, head torches, games for kids, cards, compact poncho, spare batteries, Gorilla duct tape and charging cables. It should be the first thing you pack before hitting the road. The water- and dust-resistant Wolf Pack Pro storage box is just perfect for this important role.

© Denis Savescu

3. Setting up your tent incorrectly​

There’s only one way to set up a tent, which is the right way, or a good night’s rest isn’t guaranteed. When sleeping in a roof top tent, always park on a flat surface; if this isn’t possible, place a few pieces of firewood or recovery boards under the lowest wheels to help level your vehicle because if you don’t, you’ll be sleeping on an angled mattress and probably not get a much-needed good night’s rest.​

Some people don’t put their tent’s outer fly sheet on when setting up because they don’t think it will rain, and then they’re woken by raindrops in the small hours of the morning. Don’t trust the weather reports folks. An experienced overlander once put up his tent in the dry Limpopo riverbed; the wind came up that evening and blew it over the border into Zimbabwe. He certainly regretted not using his tent pegs.

© Craig Kolesky

4. Arriving after dark​

Ideally, you want to arrive at the campsite with some daylight left to orientate yourself and set up properly. Sometimes, the travel gods conspire against us and arrival after dark cannot be helped; this is why several good additional lighting options are necessary. A decent headtorch is a good start, as it can be used in most situations. Other options include a vehicle light bar, string lights for ambience, LED strip lights or a decent standalone camp light. ​

© Bartek Kolaczkowski ​​

5. Lack of proper gear​

Great gear enables even greater camping experiences as it’s been designed to withstand all that nature and humans can throw at it. Buy gear that is not up to the task, and you might have to rebuy the same thing because it has failed. Look for a company that has a reputation for making tough, reliable gear that lasts and lasts. ​

© Craig Kolesky ​

6. Inadequate food storage​

Ensure you’ve adequate food for your camping trip, as a hungry camper is an unhappy camper. Carrying food and cooking it when camping has always been challenging. Front Runner’s Flat Pack heavy-duty rigid canvas boxes have adjustable compartments and are great for storing dry rations; they also perfectly fit into a Wolf Pack Pro

© Craig Kolesky ​

7. Gear good to go? ​

If you’re going away on a long journey, ensure your gear is 100% serviceable and every bit you need is in the box or bag before you leave. A campsite is not the place to find out that you forgot to put your roof top tent’s mattress and poles back in place after drying and airing it all at home. ​

© Janik Alheit

8. Booking and research ​

When not in high season, you can see where the travel winds take you, and then an hour or so before sunset, you can start to look for a campsite. This is different during the peak camping season when you might want to do some prior research and campsite bookings. Booking is optional if you’re set up for wild camping and in an area where it’s allowed. ​

© Craig Kolesky ​

9. Poor storage solutions​

It’s not good when something secured to your roof rack comes loose, especially at a high speed. Or if you’re driving along a rough track and the milk, yoghurt and feta cheese leave their containers and happily swirl about in your fridge. Excellent camping gear solutions are available to help you be more organized on your next adventure. ​

© PinePins ​

10. Forgetting creature comforts ​

Make camping a home away from home by bringing a favorite pillow, PJs, hammock, good food and comfortable bedding. If travelling with kids, take along some games such as Jenga. Or how about some marshmallows for them to toast on the fire? Camping can be as comfortable as you’re prepared to make it.