What Not-To-Do on a Camping Trip

There are a lot of ways to ruin a good camping trip. It's even easier to ruin the great outdoors for others. Sure, leave your trash in the fire pit, let the bears get into your cooler and have your raging party go all-night-long.

Beginner campers tend to make more mistakes and break more “rules” of camping, but most first-time campers don’t intend to have poor camping etiquette -- they simply just don’t know any better.

Then there are the campers, who simply need a polite reminder on how they can be a better camping neighbor and more environmentally friendly. And there are also the unexpected events that can throw off beginner or experienced campers.

01 of 04

Ten Cardinal Sins of Campers

Family putting tent up by the sea
Alistair Berg/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Most of us head out on a camping getaway to experience the great outdoors, relax in a natural environment and spend time with friends or family. A little consideration for our camping neighbors, wildlife and nature can go a long way to preserve the environments in which we love to recreate.

Don’t trash your campsite, don’t ignore quiet times and please, don’t walk through others campsites! These are just a few of the cardinal sins of campers; you wouldn’t want to make these mistakes, would you?

02 of 04

What They Don’t Tell You About Camping

men with truck pointing at camera
© Monica Prelle

Sure, you’re prepared for a camping trip. All the gear is packed, you checked your shopping list twice, made the campground reservation and are on the road. You even have a map and directions. All systems are ready to go.

The family is singing along to Simon and Garfunkel on the radio right about the same time the car overheats. No big deal, this is not your first road-trip. Once you’re driving again, you find the way to that windy mountainous road, which is going to take you to your dream campsite on the lakeshore, but inevitably someone gets sick.

Still, all is good. Everyone is happy and excited to set up the camping tents.

Now, there aren’t any level camping sites, the mosquitos are feasting on your neck, and your co-pilot didn’t buy enough ice. And what happened to that sandwich you left on the picnic table?

There are a lot of nuisances that can make a camping trip go wrong, but if someone (hint, hint) had just told you everything no one ever told you about camping, then everything would be all right.

03 of 04

Common Mistakes of New Campers

© Monica Prelle

Here we go again, picking on the beginners. Yep, beginners make a lot of mistakes, but it’s not just camping beginners that mess things up. First-time travelers are sure to ask for directions and still get lost, and beginner runners are likely to get hurt training for their first marathon. No doubt beginners of anything make mistakes, but that’s why we are here to help.

If it is your first time camping, how are you supposed to know that the tent poles are really important to pack and that it’s better to buy a six-person tent for a family of four.

Maybe this list of beginner mistakes will make the learning process a little easier and teach seasoned campers a few new tricks. Or maybe you want to ignore the mistakes of others and prefer to punish yourself. Sure, go ahead and plan a camping trip when the weather forecast is for category one hurricane conditions.

04 of 04

Leave No Trace: Camping Ethics

© Monica Prelle

Leave No Trace is a national program as well as a core set of principals that most outdoor enthusiasts would agree sets the standard for camping “rules” and ethics.

The Leave No Trace Foundation is best understood as an educational and ethical program that is designed to assist outdoor enthusiasts with their decisions about how to reduce their impacts when they are enjoying the great outdoors.

Core Principals of the Leave No Trace Foundation:

  • Dispose of Waste Properly
  • Leave What You Find
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors
  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
Was this page helpful?