After all, a tent is basically a portable house you take with you, so just like living in your home, living in a tent requires you to have all the bare essentials. Without the basic camping essentials, you can run into some serious problems.
A number of things can happen that can turn your enjoyable camping trip into a holiday from hell and make you never want to go back. This is not what anybody wants as camping is one of the best things you can do, especially with the family.
The Things That Go Wrong, Can Be Avoided
The good thing about camping is a lot of the potential problems you might face are usually avoidable in most cases with some careful preparation and commonsense. So as long as you use commonsense and get ready in advance, your next camping trip will be a lot smoother and more enjoyable.
Whether you’re a beginner or a pro camper there is always something you can learn and improve upon. So stick around learn what potential problems you may face when camping and how to avoid them.
I have compiled this comprehensive guide on the things that can go wrong when camping from years of experience and dealing with many of the problems first hand. So learn from my mistakes, so you don’t have to make them yourself.
#1 Camping Problem We All Face
No matter where or when you camp, there’s no doubt in my mind that you will run into the number one problem people face when camping, unexpected weather.
Bad weather seems to follow you when you go camping and most likely, you will face some kind of weather that can cause a lot of problems when camping. These problems can range from minor inconveniences to sometimes in the worst-case scenario a fatality.
Bad weather doesn’t just ruin the mood or dampen the atmosphere, it can have a chain reaction of problems related to your camping equipment, plans, and activities for the trip.
Planning your trip around the weather is the best tip I can give you, but unfortunately, the weather gods have the final say. Especially if you are planning your trip months in advance, who knows what the weather will be like then. So it’s essential to learn what these problems are and how you can avoid them.
How Hot Weather Can Be A Potential Problem
A lot of the time this will be the main thing you’ll face when you go camping since it’s hot a lot of the year depending on where you’re camping. Hot weather can lead to a number of potential problems that are more dangerous to you then it is to any of your gear in most cases.
Camping in hot weather can lead to things like heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke which are all dangerous in their own ways. These things if ignored can lead to the worst-case scenario and you shouldn’t ignore any of the symptoms like weakness, heavy sweating, headaches, and if your skin is hot.
Stay Cool In The Heat
Thankfully there are ways of preventing these dangerous illnesses. Trying to keep cool is one of the best starting things to do, but not always possible. Learn the various ways to keep your tent cool in summer is the first thing you should do.
Wearing breathable clothes that are loose-fitting since they allow more air circulation is a good idea if you anticipate hot weather. Then there are things like staying hydrated, wearing a wide brim hat, sunglasses and applying plenty of sunscreen.
Running Out Of Water Is A Huge Camping Issue
Don’t underestimate the importance of water when camping, especially if you’re remote camping. Running out of water while camping can be a huge problem so it’s essential you bring more water than you think you will need. Yes, it takes up space in your vehicle, but without water, well you know the rest.
Bringing all these in advance will help with preventing this situation from happening. As with all forms of camping, camp smarter and you’ll have a much better and safer time.
Fire Is Rarely A Camping Problem, But Worth Considering
In some places, the hot weather can lead to fire which is one of the most dangerous situations you can be in when camping. People often think it’s the fire you only need to worry about, but the poor air quality is also a really big problem, especially for people with breathing difficulties.
There really is only one way in trying to avoid a fire and that’s to check with websites or ranger stations that are nearby to where your camping. By finding out in advance what the situation is you can avoid this danger all together.
While we are on the topic of fire, ensure that there is no fire ban in place if you plan on starting a campfire. If you do have a campfire, ensure you have a way to put the fire out in case of an emergency.
Wet Weather Causes Serious Problems For Campers
There is nothing quite like sleeping at night with the rain spitting on the tent. It’s one of the most relaxing things you can experience in your life. While the sound of rain on the tent material while you sleep is magical, rain also can cause a lot of issues for the rest of your trip.
Thankfully most cases of wet weather and camping rarely lead to something dangerous except in the most extreme circumstances like a flash flood. Most situations you’re going to get you or your gear wet which can be extremely annoying.
Packing certain things will make the rain far less of an issue for you and your family. Things like ziplock bags are great for keeping those expensive items safe from getting wet. Having clothes that can deal with wet weather is useful and a rain poncho will never go astray.
When you first arrive at your campsite you should pay attention to your surroundings and work out where the best place to put your tent. Making sure you’re on flat ground and that there is no sign of water forming puddles nearby generally shows that water doesn’t sit there.
A Waterproof Tent Is A Must
The biggest issue most people have when they camp while it’s raining is that their tent leaks or it wasn’t waterproofed. This is why your tent is one of the most crucial things when it comes to wet weather camping since a quality tent can make wet weather a non-issue.
Having a really high-quality waterproof tent is one of the best ways to avoid some of the issues. If your tent isn’t waterproof, you can purchase your own waterproofing spray that can help with making your tent waterproof.
Setting up your tent on a waterproof tarp and having a good rainfly will help with keeping you and your gear nice and dry. A good rainfly will go a long way in keeping you dry and one of the most underrated items people ignore when camping during summer.
Rain Causes Other Potential Camping Problems
When the rain has set in and your family are all stuck inside the tent, this can lead to some issues for some families. It may be hot and sticky due to the humidity, but worst of all, for the next few hours you’re going to hear “I’m bored” over and over.
So having things that will keep your family entertained in the event of unexpected bad weather will certainly save your sanity. When it rains, we usually bring out Monopoly and UNO games for the kids to play. This keeps them entertained for hours while they’re trapped inside the tent.
Bring Additional Shelter
Having a gazebo or a tent with a large awning is ideal when it rains as well. This extra shelter will give you more space to move around until the rain passes.
For some people when they go camping it’s the cooking around a campfire that is the biggest draw and what they like most. Rain can ruin this and lead to one hungry family, so it’s a good idea to take a number of different foods that don’t rely on needing to be cooked.
Having a gazebo set up will also allow you to cook while it’s raining, which has saved me many times over the years. Even tho we have a tent for a family of 5, the addition of a gazebo has been well worth the cost.
Problems You Face When Winter Camping
While camping in the snow will lead to some of the best views you will ever see in your life, it has a lot of problems that most people don’t think of. Camping in the snowy weather requires you to do a lot of preparation in advance compared to a lot of other types of camping.
Having the right gear when camping in the snow will make your life a lot easier and safer. Since the biggest issue, you will have when camping in the winter months is a lack of warmth and things freezing that you weren’t expecting.
Appropriate Winter Gear
There are a number of things you will need to make camping in the winter much safer. Having an all-season tent is a good start as these have been designed to handle the colder conditions. They often have a stove jack that allows you to have a stove inside which will help keep the tent warm.
Something that gets overlooked when winter camping is having some kind of thermal protection underneath you when you sleep. This will help with keeping the cold ground from affecting you too much when you sleep. Having a sleeping bag that is graded for the level of cold you’ll be in is also a good way in helping with this.
If you are brave enough to go camping in the snow, one valuable winter tip is to bring a snow shovel. Snow can and will pile up on and around your tent. So you will need a shovel to remove all this excess snow.
A shovel is also good for building a wind break in the snow. As icy wind blasts are not the ideal temperature inside the tent, you will want to shelter your tent from the wind. Use the excess snow to build a wind break outside your tent. This will divert the cold wind away from the entry to your tent.
Unfamiliarity With Snow Camping
We all start somewhere and no one is a professional on their first trip into snow camping. So there a few things you should know if you want to go winter camping safely.
Before setting your tent up you will want to clear the ground and try to flatten it as much as you possibly can. You should also make sure to wipe any of the snow that fell on your tent during the night as build-up can lead to your tent collapsing on you or a CO₂ build up in a worst-case scenario.
Camping in the cold uses a lot more fuel then if you were camping in any other situation. It’s a good idea to bring at least twice as much as you’d normally use and bring even more if you were planning to melt the ice with it.
Make sure you bring a lot more food and batteries for your flashlights when you go camping. In the cold, your body will need more a lot more energy so you need to bring more food to fuel it. It can get darker a lot quicker then you might expect when camping in snowy areas, so making sure you have a lot of light is essential.
Wind Can Be Devastating When Camping
A problem I have had to endure a few times while camping is strong winds. They can come out of nowhere and if you’re not expecting them they can have devastating effects.
After a week-long camping at Sandon River, the family and I went fishing not too far from the site. While we were fishing the winds picked up so much that fishing was not possible.
We returned back to base only to discover that our tent and gazebo were just about completely blown away. Luckily for us, our neighboring campers noticed what was happening to our tent and did what they could to stake it down. Otherwise, it would have been blown away completely.
Ensure You Stake Down Your Tent
The moral of the story is to stake down your tent and ensure you have a tent for high winds. Regardless of what the weather is like when you pitch your tent. Don’t be lazy like me and only stake down the tent without using the guylines. It hadn’t been windy for 6 days we were there, but the moment we turned out back on the tent, it almost blew away.
Now, this would have been a very expensive lesson to learn had our neighbors not saved the tent and gazebo from tearing into pieces and flying away.
Weigh Down Your Gazebo
On a separate occasion, we almost had our gazebo blow away in high winds. Again, neighbors saved the day once we arrived back at the site. Again, being lazy, I didn’t stake down the guylines 100%.
Fortunately, I had the corner poles of the gazebo weighed down with sand/water weights. This saved the frame from being destroyed, but the roof of the gazebo had in fact blown off the gazebo frame. Don’t be like me, tie down your gazebo correctly every time.
Problems You Could Face With Campsite Bookings
Every now and then you may run into campsite booking problems. These issues may arise due to untrained staff or poor research on your behalf.
On the very rare occasion, the campsite manager may have double booked your site out. So when you turn up, there’s someone already camping there. There’s not much you can do about this besides contact the site manager.
Other times, it’s your fault. When booking your site, ensure before you book that the site is in fact big enough for all your gear. This includes your vehicle, trailer, tent, gazebo, toilet/shower, etc. Whatever it is your taking camping, be sure the vacant land you plan to camp on is big enough.
For campsites where there are no bookings, as in it’s a walk-in campsite, always have a backup plan in case there are no available spots. This also includes free camping sites. Don’t think that there will always be one available because believe me, they aren’t always.
So have listed out a few areas in the vicinity of where you plan to camp in case the one you had your heart set on is fully booked out.
Camping Gear Faults And Breakages
No matter how prepared you are there are times where things will just go wrong. A piece of gear may just break on you for no reason or maybe you didn’t store your tent properly the last time you used it and now it has mold on it.
What To Do If Gear Breaks
When it comes to camping you always run the risk of something breaking and being left with very little options. In some cases, there will be nothing you can do but try and find somewhere that will sell something to replace it or be forced to give up entirely. Which is always a disappointing experience when it happens.
There are things you can do if you’re prepared enough and have the right tools. If your poles break there are tricks you can do if you’re lucky enough to find the right things and have things like bungee cords and straps.
If your tent gets a tear in it can lead to a number of issues like letting bugs and water in if it’s raining. Some tents come with repair kits that will let you fix it while you’re camping which is always a good thing to have. If the tear gets too bad and unable to be repaired you may have to pull out of your trip entirely.
Power Issues You Face Camping
Unpowered sites are cheaper than powered sites if you are car camping. So naturally, people are drawn to the cheaper unpowered sites. But this does leave you with one big problem, no power.
Having no power is not a big deal for some people, but when you’re camping with 3 kids for an extended period of time, it does become an issue.
The solution to this problem is solar power. These days you can power just about anything using solar power. The solar panels charge a spare car battery in which you draw power from to power up your camping fridge, lights, phones, etc.
Portable Solar Power Solutions
If you only need power for your smartphone, iPad, etc. There are smaller solar panels that you can use to charge your smartphone directly from the sun. I use these devices to charge my power banks, so that way I can charge my phone and gear at night when there is no sun available.
Airbed Goes Flat
You may sprung a leak in your airbed, or it simply has gone down after a couple of nights. Airbeds tend to lose air after a couple of nights, unless they are as close to leak-proof airbeds as possible.
If you have sprung a leak, you first need to find the hole and repair the airbed. If you don’t have a repair kit, chances are the ground is starting to look like an appealing bed.
If your air mattress has just deflated because its been a few nights, simply inflate it with more air. But here’s a problem many people face. Their rechargeable pump has run out of power. The good news is, there are ways to inflate an airbed without a pump.
Ideally, you want to make sure you use one of the best air bed pumps available if you are camping for more than 2 or 3 nights. The last thing you want to discover is your pump is flat and you have no way to charge it.
Lack Of Light Is A Big Problem
Having a light source when camping is essential when it’s night time since no one likes stumbling around in the dark. So making sure you have a lantern or a headlamp is a good way of making sure you have plenty of light.
If either of these things breaks there sadly isn’t a lot you can do about in fixing them unless you have certain skills that would allow you to. Your best bet would be to take extras before you go camping and checking them over before going camping. Taking extra batteries for these devices is crucial if you want to avoid camping problems at night.
Store Your Tent Properly
This may sound strange to some people but there are people who get back from camping and just put their tents away. Then come to use it in 6 months’ time and wonder why it has mold all through it and or something else has damaged it.
You should always clean your tent when you get back from your trip and make sure that it’s dry before you store your tent correctly. Doing this will help in keeping mold from destroying your perfectly good camping tent.
General Tips To Avoid Potential Problems
There are a number of things that people do that they don’t realize can actually lead to some serious issues for them. Learning these things will help prevent you from hopefully coming into some of these problematic situations.
Bears, Food, And You
Bears are a fact of life when camping in the USA and trying to avoid them and keeping them away from your camp is essential. There is a good reason that most campsites have warnings about them and what you should and shouldn’t do to avoid them.
Bears are attracted to food and will come into campsites looking for it if it’s not stored properly. This is why it’s crucial that you should store and dispose of your food in the appropriate way. While it may be gross to take a garbage bag full of food home with you, this is something that you must do.
If you don’t take your food with you, this can lead to a lot of problems. A bear will come back to a site if it keeps getting food from there which can make the bear stop fearing humans, which is dangerous for everyone.
Learn How To Set Up Your Tent
Not knowing how to set up your tent can lead to a number of issues that can ruin your camping trip. Imagine you’re in the middle of sleeping and it starts raining and you haven’t set your tent up properly and all that water starts coming into the tent. This is a guaranteed way of ruining your camping trip.
Before you go camping, I always recommend practicing setting your tent up and pulling it down just to learn how to do it properly. Doing this will save you from a number of disasters that can be caused by not having your tent set up properly.
Camping Can Be Noisy
Most people go camping to get away from the noise of everyday life, which is a great reason to go camping. Unfortunately, it isn’t always what everyone does. Some people enjoy listening to loud music and partying when they go camping, which can ruin your trip.
There are a number of ways to try and minimize this but you can never fully stop it. Going camping during the offseason is usually a good way to avoid these types of situations. Avoid camping in a tent at Burning Man and other festivals if noise and people are not your thing.
You could try talking to the noisy campers and try and come to an agreement, but depending on the situation it might not be advisable.
There are two things that I’d recommend you can do to try and help with this. One is going to talk to whoever is in charge of the campsite and getting them to do something about it. Another solution is to bring earplugs to try and cancel out the noise which is frustrating, but something you can do. If you are not in a designated camping site, you could consider finding a more peaceful are to pitch your tent.
Avoid The Problems, Follow These Camping Tips
While some of you may be thinking, wow, there are too many problems with camping, I think I should avoid it. Absolutely not. The last thing you should do is avoid camping. Instead, you should gain as much knowledge as possible before you take on your first trip. This way you won’t be flying in the dark.
The best way to avoid potential problems when camping is to follow the essential guide to first time camping. By following these tips, you are minimizing the number of problems or issues that may arise on your first camping expedition.