This isn’t your first rodeo. You’ve been around the block a few times, set up a few tents, and painstakingly started more than a few tiny fires with minimal help. Maybe you’ve determined how to properly roast a marshmallow to the perfect golden-brown so many of us strive for. You’re an outdoorsmen. Or maybe you’re absolutely not and are just desperately trying not to drop the ball when you go camping this weekend. I got you. For all of us, new and experienced campers, here are some easy things to avoid when embarking on your camping journey.

1. Wrong tent size


Don’t assume that because you and your friends are reasonably fit you can squish 6 of you into a 4 person tent. You’re gonna have a bad time. Like, crowded showers in prison type closeness or newborn puppies piled on each other in a cardboard box. Only it’s going to smell worse and be way less cute.

2.Wrong bedding

That 29.99 sleeping-bag special at Walmart seems like an awesome idea right now, but it won’t later tonight when you’re freezing your buns off in your tent.

Make sure your sleeping bag can brave whatever temperature conditions you’re going to be working with come nightfall. Most well produced bags come with a temperature rating which is essentially the lowest temperature they will be effective in. Depending on the time of year as well as the camp location, you need to select a bag and bedding that are going to work for your needs.

3. Late to the campsite

Unless you know to assemble your tent blindfolded, doing this in the dark is not going to be easy. Also, why would you want to be setting up late when you can be enjoying some delicious beverages and listening to your best buddy play Wonderwall around the fire a third time? It sounds like he’s getting better at it.

4. Packing too minimally


While backpacking and camping are centered around the idea of minimalism and leaving it all behind, please don’t leave all behind. You won’t be a happy camper when you realize you didn’t bring a sweater and have to use your sleeping bag as a weird cape around your site, even worse: forgetting a solid outer shell if it ends up raining.The same goes if you forgot all of your camping flatware  and have to eat chili out of your cupped hands, like some sort of first world refugee.

5.Trying too hard with dinner

The opposing mistake to eating chilli with no utensils would be trying to be Gordon Ramsey while camping. Eating well in the great outdoors doesn’t need to be like eating in a michelin-starred establishment. Your dinner doesn’t need to be gas station hot-dogs marinated in tears, but it should be reasonably simple to avoid accidentally forgetting ingredients or needing to worry about complicated prep over a fire. Nobody is going to care that the ceviche is a touch too warm or that your quail eggs wern’t poached with panache.

6. Cooking in your tent

I understand that the outdoors is buggy and windy and not indoors, but cooking inside your tent is dangerous. Please don’t do it. It’ll probably catch on fire, and it’ll be very bad. Also, do you really want the delicious smell of burnt hot-dogs contained in a tiny area where you sleep, particularly if bears ar around? I think not.

7. Not putting away your food.

Do you want bears? Because that’s how you get bears. Make sure you take caution and hide your snacks from the hangry wildlife wherever you may be camping. While you might be temped to leave snacks out for the poor, homeless bears, you need to realize that we all need to make our own luck in this world, and hand outs will really only hurt them in the long term.

8. Forgetting a first aid kit

Even if you’re the type of seasoned outdoorsmen, like Bear Grylls, who likes to live dangerously, make sure you carry some basic medical supplies when you head into the forest. Nature is cray cray and you need to be prepared in the event that you hurt yourself and need to be patched up. You need to remember that you’re likely not a wise-woman of the forest and probably can’t whip up some sort of remedy from the plants around you. Even if you’re staying in an RV park, you need to realize that it’s a jungle out there.

9. Not telling somebody where you are

We all saw what happened to James Franco in 127 hours. Let it be a lesson to us all to leave a note, for the love of God. This note should have a few important components:

  • Your whereabouts
  • How long you’re going to be gone
  • Who is with you

Give this to somebody who:

a. Actually cares about you.

b. Isn’t on the trip with you.

Camp away, friends!