The Most Common Camping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Camping is one of the best ways of enjoying a holiday immersed in nature and off the grid. However, if you don’t prepare your camping trip carefully, your great adventure could end up being a series of unfortunate mishaps. 

It’s not uncommon for poorly prepared first-time campers to find themselves in trouble through accidents, injuries, or illness. We want to help you avoid all of these issues and have a great time during your camping trip. 

For this reason, we prepared a list of the most common camping mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Planning Overly Complex Meals

We know that you want to enjoy good food during the camping trip, however, now is not the time to try some of your best and most elaborate recipes. 

Simplicity is ideal when planning your menu so avoid tricky meals that need lots of ingredients. Many things can go wrong when planning your camping spread, such as: 

  • Forgetting to bring essential ingredients
  • Bringing perishable foods that will go bad
  • Lack of cooking equipment and utensils. 

This is one of the most common mistakes first-time campers make and they end up creating unnecessary stress for themselves and their fellow campers. Instead, consider simple recipes that involve non-perishable, easily accessible ingredients and canned food.

2. Breaking Out Your New Gear at the Campsite

You are excited about your new tent or cooking stove, and you can’t wait to take them out of their packaging at the campsite. It’s a great feeling to have new toys to unwrap and setting up a brand new campsite is no different – however, try to resist it. 

Breaking out new gear at the campsite is a common camping mistake, even for experienced campers.

Always test and assemble new gear at home before you leave for the trip. This allows you to check that:

  • The package contains all of the parts and accessories
  • The product works properly
  • You understand the instruction manual.


3. Using Unsuitable Packing Gear

Camping boxes are essential items to bring with you on a camping trip as they will protect everything from food to cooking utensils to your clothes. These boxes need to be sturdy, because driving to the campsite may be an off-road trip on very rough trails or corrugations, and you want to be certain of the safety and security of your storage.

Weak and inferior boxes may break, letting your contents spill throughout your vehicle. For this reason, invest in durable and high-quality 4wd storage box for camping and outdoor adventures that can withstand the elements.

4. Leaving Food Unattended

Food should never be left exposed in uncovered containers. Both cooked food and ingredients must be kept in storage boxes with lockable lids. 

Why do we include this piece of advice on the list of common camping mistakes? Because food attracts wildlife. 

Just like Balloo in the Jungle Book, they are only looking for the bare necessities. However, unlike cartoon characters, real life wildlife may not be as friendly and could pose a real threat for you and your family. Bites from dingoes on Fraser Island have been becoming more common. This has been attributed to campers feeding them, attracting them into campsites. 

So, don’t give them any reasons to come close to your campsite. Remember your actions with wildlife have flow on effects for future campers.

5. Forgetting to Bring a Comprehensive First Aid Kit

Accidents can happen during a camping trip, and you may not be able to call an ambulance or reach a hospital quickly. 

For this reason, you should pack a comprehensive, well equipped first aid kit to treats potential issues, such as:

  • Iodine solution
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton balls and gauze tape (including vet wrap)
  • Elastic bandage
  • Vaseline
  • A pair of scissors
  • First aid booklet
  • Triangular bandages.
  • Disposable gloves
  • Thermal blanket
  • Adhesive tape
  • Dressing pads to help control bleeding and reduce the risk of infection.
  • Bandaids
  • Saline solution
  • A pair of tweezers 
  • Plastic bags of varying sizes
  • Notepad and pencil

Do not leave anything to chance, because even a small wound could become infected if left untreated.

For more information on essential first aid items head to Royal Flying Doctors.

6. Not Researching the Dangerous Flora in the Area

Nature is beautiful, but it can also be dangerous. Some of the most colourful mushrooms are extremely poisonous, and so are many plants and flowers. 

Although you are unlikely to pick mushrooms and unknown berries and eat them, you are still not completely safe if you do not know the full range of the dangerous flora in the area.

In some cases, it is enough to brush a hand or leg against a poisonous plant to get a severe rash. 

Therefore, ensure you have a good knowledge of the area you are camping, and the potential risks with the native flora.

7. Ignoring Fire Safety Rules

Last but not least, one of the most common camping mistakes, and one of the most dangerous, is not knowing how to build a campfire and how to put it out properly. This means ensuring the hot embers under the ground are fully extinguished. It’s  simply not good enough to throw dirt over the top and head off. Winds can pick up embers and a fire start hours or days after departure. Ensure water is used to take the heat out of those embers buried deep in the ground. This is good safe practice.

Remember other campers will be coming to your location after you including children. Covering a fire with dirt has consequences. It has been well documented the burn injuries received from children who do not see the dangers and run across covered and un-extinguished fire pits of coals. 

Take the time to properly extinguisher the embers. This may take some time, but remember to leave a place as you would want to arrive at it. 

Enjoy your camping and “Tread lightly”.