The New Camping Mistakes We Make

Northern Dancer

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IN A CAMPY MOOD THIS LATE SNOWY AFTERNOON. I'm also preparing a module to instruct entitled "The New Camping Mistakes People Make". So this thread may not be of any interest to the pro-people.

There are all kinds of mistakes that we make, even if we are skilled, and they are not all listed here. I just want to highlight some of the major ones. I should say too - I'm thinking primarily of canoe camping but it also applies to drive-in camping as well.


NEW CAMPING MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE TODAY

NOT PREPARING TO UNPLUG

People, for whatever reason, just can't keep off their phones or the games or the movies or the gossip or the news or the...
for goodness sake, don't bother coming; certainly not with me.
It's called a wilderness experience.
Do something for your mental health - leave the gadgets at home. No buts.


NOT PREPARED WITH PROPER EQUIPMENT
What does that mean? It could mean that a tarp is really important.
Large garbage bags can keep your wood dry in the event of rain.
Forgetting the extra batteries for the headlights could put you in darkness.
Testing the new tent or other standard pieces of equipment is now a must practice.


NOT BEING ABLE TO BE FLEXIBLE

NOT BEING PREPARED TO CHANGE PLANS
CALLING IT QUITS.
Not everything will go as planned. In fact, it may not go as planned at all. You need to be flexible.
There are times you have to call it quits too.
This is especially true when there are real safety issues or dangerous situations.

Learn from your experience and head out again another time.
Know your limits and skill level and act accordingly.


BRINGING FIREWOOD FROM YOUR NECK OF THE WOODS
I'm often astounded and make my voice known when I get to a State/Provincial Park
and see the outlandish price they want to charge for firewood.
I have all kinds at home so why can't I?
Because we are faced with all kinds of invasive species that are ruining our natural habitat - that's why.
I mean...how do you think they got to our country?


IGNORING FOOD SAFETY AND HYGIENE PRACTICES
My Mom would be so proud of me now.

I finally got it, I wash my hands, food, utensils, wash plates, etc.
Handling meats of any kind can present some major health issues.

Remember, you are a long way from home should your body decide to go on strike.

CAMPFIRES AND FOREST FIRES
For goodness sake learn how to make a proper fire. How to build it, light it, and how to feed it.
It's simple - just learn it, and practice.
Remember - gather the wood and prepare the first fire in the morning.


GOING GOURMET
Just keep the food good, simple, nourishing, and easily packed. and cooked.
* Lots of leeway on this one when you are at a base camp.
Dunno camp fans - but we are starting to get ridiculous in our wants and demands.
What's the matter with having trout for breakfast?


3795


CAMP ETIQUETTE
If you are a serious camper or want to be.
Learn and practice camp etiquette.
I subscribe to Leave No Trace - it's a good and simple plan.


3794

Well, camp fans these are a few things to consider.
Do you have some you feel we should know about?






 
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Happy Joe

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Depending on the local I sometimes bring a propane fire-pit rather than try to collect firewood, (I like wood campfires better, but sometimes compromises need to be made).
When I have to walk more than about a quarter mile for standing/hanging deadwood (firewood), the area is over used/abused; and I shift my camping farther away from so called "civilization"...

I prefer to camp where there is no Wi-Fi or cell service (you tend to find a better class of people/campers there, IMO).
The look on their faces when they find out that they, MIGHT, be able to get a signal on the other side of that mountain... Priceless...

When I see the homeless encampments, encroaching; I also write the area off my list.

I learned long ago to bring enough canned or dried "emergency food and hot dogs" to get by; this is over and above my anticipated regular meals...
I also long ago gave up preparing 5-6 course (fancy) meals in favor of quick and easy (both to prepare and clean up after) meals...

I bring enough chairs for those riding in my vehicle + one (for a visitor or in case of breakage). (The emergency hot dogs/can of chili/can of stew, have saved several trips when friends forgot food)...

The can opener on the Swiss army knife, in my pocket, is often borrowed ...

An emergency sun/rain tarp (or a pop up canopy with sides, in case of cold/snow) has saved or improved many group trips...

Enjoy!
 

Happy Joe

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...almost every mistake leads to an improvement... (or should)...
A soaked sleeping bag as a result of a rainstorm (on the way to the campsite in an open jeep); resulted in sleeping bags packed and carried in military wet weather bags (not quite as water resistant as a dry bag but a lot lighter/easier to use).... also help keep the dust off/out of the fart sacks & pillows on dirt/gravel secondary roads...

Adventure happens; when plans or preparations fail...

Enjoy!
 
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ppine

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Why would you travel in rainy country in an open jeep? Not trying to be a wise guy.
My truck is a pickup with a canopy on the bed. To me it is like a sanctuary when camping. No matter how windy or snowy it gets I can always crawl in the back of the truck and get out of the weather. I sleep in my truck more than tents now.
 

Happy Joe

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Why would you travel in rainy country in an open jeep? Not trying to be a wise guy.
My truck is a pickup with a canopy on the bed. To me it is like a sanctuary when camping. No matter how windy or snowy it gets I can always crawl in the back of the truck and get out of the weather. I sleep in my truck more than tents now.
Here in Colorado it can be sunny on one side of the street and raining on the other. The situation can become worse as you travel in the mountains; I have been rained, snowed, drizzled and graupeled (tiny snow balls) upon, in camp, all within 20 minutes and then the sun came out.
Sometimes it doesn't matter what the forecast is ; eventually you are 'gonna' get wet.

Traveling in a topless Jeep often results in the question of "what do you do when it rains?"... the answer is simple; "I get wet."

For winter; I usually install the fiberglass top, though.

An open Jeep, for some (Me), is one of the better, convertible (top down), out door, experiences available... especially on a narrow, unmaintained, trail through the pines in a national forest at a slow walking pace... (sometimes/often needed to drive over the rocks/stair steps, moguls; look at the scenery and wild life etc. (to get to the better camping sites)).

Its, basically a matter of different strokes... (when the deer/elk stops 10 feet away and turns to look at you before walking into the bush; its pretty neat).

Enjoy!
 
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Roybrew

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I'm always finding a way to do dumb things, by mistake tho. Last spring when I was camping with my brother, he forgot to check his tent poles before we left. We were missing the pole that kept the rain fly up in front of the vestibule. It was no big deal rigging up a tight line to a tree to hold it up. It worked great till it rained. We were cooking and sitting by the fire under my awning while it was raining. When I got up to enter the tent, I lifted the rain fly up a little to duck through the door and right as I got under it, a good quart of cold water ran down the back of my neck soaking my fleece hoody and under shirt. It ran all the way to my, well it made it, let's say, all the way down.

The lesson I learned was, let your brother go first. He's the one that forgot the pole.
Roy


The Great Outdoors
 

ppine

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I used to live in Colorado. The weather in the summer changes constantly in the mountains. It is easy to get sleet, hail and even snow in summer. It was -36 degrees F in my driveway one winter.

I worked with a guy from California that had recently moved there with a bikini top Jeep. Within a month he replaced it with a regular top.
 

Northern Dancer

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A lot of good stuff here gentlemen; I can tell by the accumulated experience demonstrated by everyone. Like you, I've experienced everything you shared or facsimile. I remember cooking a can of beans for lunch and not putting any holes to let the steam out. Ya, I remember that one well. Times I underestimated river flows and depths, took the wrong sleeping system for the conditions, and failed to secure a dome tent properly. Then there was the time that I fall through the ice in the depth of winter - now that's a frightening experience.

I like to collect and cut the firewood in the morning for the whole day. Hardwoods, softwoods, and fire starters. Once I prepared a fire in the pit, left the site to explore the lake I was on, and came back to an empty pit. Wh...at? Yep, I built it on the coals from the night before. This little situation could have been disastrous.

From accidentally slashing my leg as I cleaned off a fillet knife, to picking up a hot white bolder with my bare hands out of a fire pit. Ya, I've done just about everything.

We all have "camping mistake" stories to tell and I sure want to hear a whole lot more. Don't be bashful now; it's not as if the whole world is going to know about (y)our screw-ups. :00:


3814
 

Northern Dancer

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THE GPS
3869

Wow!
Under the title "the New Camping Mistakes We Make"
you really have to include the use of the modern GPS.
I don't do anything risky these days and I know where I am and have made note of the dangers.
My use of a cell phone, as an example, is usually getting the latest weather forecast and
tracking the storm coming towards the little red dot that represents my campsite.
Though, I'm conscious of the weather conditions around me it's nice to have a "heads up" on occasion.

So...what should you be aware of?
Even though there have been remarkable advances there are still GPS and GNSS networks that have their problems.
Satellites, trees, buildings, solar flares, and the like will interfere.
Human activities like jamming, and spoofing can cause problems.
Read up, learn, and do the right thing to protect yourself.
And remember - some of the older skills will get you through when your device fails.


RECOMMENDED VIEWING
Backpacking Light with Rex Sanders
On the Web
GPS: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly [October 2020]
This is well-written and a short post with good references at the bottom.






 
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Happy Joe

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I actually made the mistake of buying a GPS, once. It was a pain to use and contributed nothing but hassles to the trip besides distracting me from important things like scenery, nature and living...
I promptly improved my life by throwing it away.... no worries about batteries, signal, updates, maps, or morons trying to mess with folks...

For local weather, in the field, clouds and their movements are a pretty good short term guide (forecasts, and forecasters, can't keep up with local mountain weather, anyway).
I have thought about bringing a barometer but never got around to getting one.

The only use that I have found for the cell phone is taking blurry pictures and to supply tunes for the blue-toot speaker.

Enjoy!
 

Northern Dancer

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TAKE THE TIME
I did a quick survey one time and noted the number of tents that were not properly set up.
I thought to myself, "Silly people, there is a reason why you set up a tent properly."
Then I returned to my own site and guess what?
To get the most value from your home away from home it is important -
❶ You peg the tent down properly, ❷ Insert the poles according to instructions, and ❸ Use all the guylines.
There is a reason why your model is made the way it is and it's prudent to take the time to do it correctly.
I'm surprised how many people don't know how to attach the guyline tensioner to the tent peg.
There are various kinds out there but they essentially all work the same way.
How do I use a tensioner? Thank goodness for the computer.


3877
 

Roybrew

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I think I have one of the tensioner on my tent that doesn't hold well. Next time I have it up I'll check it out, they are a simple thing.

And I need to practice tying a sliding knot, taught line hitch. It's always simple when you are looking at a picture, but can be difficult when you are in the field.tautline-hitch~2.jpg

The Great Outdoors
 

Northern Dancer

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3887 IMPROPER FOOTWEAR 3888
When showering this morning I looked down and noted that the blood blister in my right large toe is about halfway up the nail.
This is from a little escapade in early August. Let's see...I'm in my fifth month and it's only halfway clear.
Well, how did that happen?
I failed to wear proper water shoes resulting in this injury.

Campsites are full of uneven surfaces and natural tripping hazards.
Closed-toe shoes are a must, and they should be waterproof and well broken in.
Slips, (ya, I did that one this year too, and overturned my canoe in the process), trips, and falls are common with poor footwear.
And then there is the issue of ill-fitting footwear. Thus the blister.

Please, please - do not wear flip-flops.
There's a reason why they call them flip-flops.
There isn't anything good about them for a serious canoe/camping environment.
Here are some of what researchers had to say.
Affect your posture.
Hazardous for driving.
Can damage toes.
Increased risk of injuries.
No arch support.
Expose feet to viral. bacterial, and fungal infections.
To name a few.







 

Roybrew

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I don't like flip flops. I love and wear my, open toe, sandals except where there may be sticks and such stuff. In the woods and trails I wear hiking shoes. When I'm on the boat or in the canoe I'm usually barefoot, but I have shoes close at hand incase I have to get out. I hope your toe heals up soon ND, that's got to suck.
Roy

The Great Outdoors
 

Northern Dancer

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NOW THAT I'M EXPERIENCED.
Here are the top things on my mind when it comes to "new camping mistakes".
Fire, water, campsite neatness, and organization are at the top of my list.
Safety is always first and foremost.
I have horror stories of fires, "disasters" at sea, and incredibly unsafe campsites.
When I'm group canoeing one of the first things we do is to appoint a safety officer whose word is the law.
Then, we elect the trip master.
But always the safety/first aider first.
Got's Stories?


SAFETY NEVER TAKES A HOLIDAY
Check out the risks, and plan.
Remember, you are a long way from home to allow for a silly mistake.





 

ppine

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The most common mistake I see is people getting balled up in planning and making lists. Sometimes they get paralyzed. Learn to just grab some stuff and go. Over the years I have forgotten all kinds of things. It is how we learn to work around missing items.
 
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