You Won't Believe How Bad a Tent Camping Trip Can Go

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“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” said Bernard of Clairvaux back during the 12th Century. This infamous quote is still one of the most well-coined phrases born during our dear Earth’s lifetime. Let’s face some facts: camping can be a hit or miss sometimes. The hits are when the weather is perfect, the bugs are minimal, and the food and company are equally amazing and drama free.

A camping trip that equates a miss is when you have a leaky tent, get a huge bug bite, or even worse get food poisoning or any other type of sickness. Don’t let any surprising elements that the world likes to throw at you ruin your vacation from reality.

You could have planned meticulously, bought all of the expensive equipment, and let your excitement bubble up under the surface of your everyday life waiting to explode like a freshly shaken can of Coca-Cola.

Wow, sorry that was a lot of words in a few short paragraphs. In a less poetic way of saying things; camping could be the long lost love of your life, and a bear can still crash your party and steal your food. BTW Read our bear camping tips here.

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When Camping Goes Wrong

When camping goes wrong, it can go wrong like a carton of rotten eggs! One of the most drastic ways for camping to take a turn for the worst is a sickness. Sickness can bring pretty much anything down and being out in the woods instead of in bed with some ginger-ale and a trash bin by your side is one of the worst ways to spend a sick stint.

At home firing from both ends still sucks but it sucks even more when you’re defecating into a hole and decorating a bush with your Christmas cookies while simultaneously being ambushed by mosquitos.

Spare yourselves, your camping buddies, the woods and its inhabitants and make sure you know how to deal with your food. Don’t let anything rot and cook everything correctly–and stay away from the romaine!

Cooking and preparing doesn’t matter when a salad will be the culprit for providing illness. Just run to the best local bakery in town and buy some donuts because they never tried to kill anyone.

Forget your warm clothing or your rain protection, and you could have an obnoxious cold that ruins your trip just as much like food poisoning. Stay warm, dry and well-hydrated to remain on the top of your game and comfort level.

Nature is the Ace of Spades

Sometimes you can plan your camping trip with purpose and tenacity, and yet nature can still resort you to a speck of nothing in a heartbeat. Whether it is the weather that brings on a game of survival of the fittest, a plague of insects, or bears and animals that wreak havoc on your site nature is all-powerful.

Once when I was a teenager, my friends and I planned a camping trip where we brought our best ghost stories, snacks, and one giant tent. It was only for one night, and it would’ve been a blast if the rain hadn’t made its deliberate way into our sleeping quarters.

It soaked all of our sleeping bags, and it was so cold that we ended up leaving before the night was even over.

We didn’t bring a tarp to put under our tent leaving all of our blankets, sleeping bags, pillows, and clothes subject to the wet and the cold.

Can you blame us? We were un-experienced teenage campers who didn’t pay attention to the weather in New England–A.K.A. the land of all weathery things.

One other important thing to remember regarding weather is keeping your eye on it. Plan and pack for it. Be prepared for it. A surprise rainstorm, snowstorm, windstorm, or even a heat wave can throw you for a loop if you aren’t well-prepared for it. It is best to leave yourself well-informed and unable to be surprised. Although meteorology being an unreliable science, you may still be caught off guard so stay vigilant.

Remember it’s not just rain that can ruin your trip! Raccoons are garbage mongrels, although that’s inaccurate since they take their food in their little hands and wash it before they eat it, bears like to ransack whatever they can because they can–and mosquitos exist.

They are disease carrying delinquents ready to deprive you of sleep by buzzing their soprano pitch in your ear or making you extremely itchy.

Pack up the witch hazel, tarp, earplugs, and bear bags so that your trip isn’t ruined by natures unpredictable surprises.

Little Inconveniences

Being prepared is key to survival while camping–but we’re all forgetful and unexpected things do happen. One of the most important things to remember is something that you have to actively think about. Shockingly it isn’t your tent, sleeping bag, or food but a can opener!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve brought along canned goods to cook delicious meals and am left beating a can with a butter knife and a large rock. Such a pain in the butt!

All I wanted was corn with my hot dog dag nab it!!

Another critical thing to remember is a wine bottle opener. No matter how many alternatives I’ve Googled, I’m always left struggling to push the cork into the bottle and subsequently drinking down some of its tiny floating bits.

The main point of getting past little inconveniences like being forced to fight your way into a tin can or creatively trying to burn the cork out of a bottle of wine is to write a list! A detailed list, and even better–find a generic camping list online that will help remind you of the random little necessities that you will struggle to remember on your own.

There are hundreds to choose from, you print it or copy it down onto paper and add your edits.

Another small problem that is a common mistake is getting excited about new equipment and bringing it along without the foreknowledge on how to use it. You could be an expert camper with decades of experience but new technology and equipment come into the market every day, and you probably won’t have cell service.

We rely so heavily on Google and having the world at our fingertips that we can forget what it’s like to unplug.

So enjoy this time in your serviceless land but be prepared and don’t bring equipment you haven’t tested or at least researched heavily. New equipment is fun and exciting to use but don’t let that cloud your preparedness.

The Bigger Inconveniences

Getting lost is one of the worst ways to spend your camping holiday in the wilderness. I don’t know about you, but this is the top of my list for what I don’t want to happen while I’m “shenaniganning” out in the woods.

Make sure you don’t wander off alone or even go camping alone. Typically you aren’t in familiar territory unless it is a regular camping site you’ve visited since you were a kid. Even then, it’s tempting to go exploring, or maybe your camping buddies are too much, and you need a minute.

If you do end up needing some time alone and decide to wander away from the herd then tell someone where you’re going and what time you intend to return. That way they know whether they should send out scouts on a rescue mission or to leave you to your brooding.

Along with getting lost another more substantial inconvenience that can ruin your camping trip is annoying, rude, and loud neighbors. Just like neighbors in your everyday life except they too are out there to let loose and escape. That can lead to loud music and boisterous noise that can ruin your peaceful vacation.

Even then, you could ruin theirs. Be aware of the people surrounding you and keep the peace so that you may all enjoy your camping trips equally.

The Sun is Setting

At the end of the day–you have planned a lovely, beautiful camping trip and you are ready for a journey into the wilderness away from the stress of everyday life. The last thing you want is to have added stress during your vacation.

Plan meticulously, be aware, and buy all of your expensive equipment, or not. No matter what, be prepared for the ultimate worst disaster.

No, I’m kidding because that’s aggressive. But you should remain prepared and be as thorough as possible so that in case of any camping tragedies strike you and your party can deal with it swiftly and painlessly.

Don’t forget the reason we enjoy camping. It is a way to get back to our roots as humans, surviving off of the land and disconnecting from the stresses of modern day life. At least, with the equipment available to us now it’s not as difficult to survive like our ancestors.

Enjoy your trip into the woods and don’t let the weather, pests, bears, and neighbors ruin your trip!

feature image credit: Photo by HAYLEY ALEXANDER on Reshot