As summer starts to heat up it’s time to think about camping. We’ve covered places to camp, popular camping hacks and even tips for camping with a first timer. But now comes the all-important list of what absolutely not to do on a camping trip, most importantly so you don’t burn the forest down, but also so you aren’t embarrassed around your buddies.
Brought to us by Matt Branham with our partners at Mandatory.com, here are 10 things not to do on your next camping trip to avoid being a nube:
Arriving After Sunset
It takes a bit of time to set up shop. You may not think so, given your ability to grocery shop and pack for a trip in an impressively short span of time, but camping is a whole other animal. Not only does it take preparedness and a cool head, but it’s also a time-consuming yet fun hobby. Between finding your spot, hitting your mark, unloading supplies, assembling sleeping quarters, failing miserably, arguing with anyone in shouting distance, breaking a few key pieces out of spite, makeshifting a MacGyver-style tent and preparing a couple meals, you’re going to need all the time you can get. And you don’t want to do it in the dark.
Dressing Like A Hippie Gypsy
It pays to have a sense of summer style, but not really when it comes to camping. Walking barefoot and going all “Blue Lagoon” isn’t going to pay off in the end. We’re saying wear some socks for crying out loud. Ticks, mosquitoes and cold nights can get the best of you, not to mention blisters, if you go without socks while hiking. Even when you think you know Mother Nature’s forecast, remember she gets PMS with the best of them. Be prepared for anything, but don’t try to look cool when it comes to staying warm and protecting yourself.
Not Protecting Your Meat
We’re referring to actual meat products here, anything that might seem attractive to, say, a ginormous grizzly bear. Store it out of reach a ways from your campsite; maybe set up markers in case it’s hard to find. But don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Whenever you make assumptions about camping, that’s when you’re likely to make a mistake. To be a successful camper, you actually have to use common sense here and there.
Being A Slob
No one can see what a mess you’re making, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean up after yourself. Minimize your camping footprint and be a model citizen no matter who’s watching, and that should extend past camping. Basically, don’t be an eco-a-hole. Clean up your garbage, tidy your space when you go and, for Heaven’s sake, pick up your dog crap. Leave the place better than when you found it for the next people. This is how the camping world works, sport.
Being A Wimp
There’s nothing less becoming of a man in the wilderness than when he acts like a total pansy. Especially in the case of bears, you’re going to want to be a much bigger version of yourself than usual, but also when it comes to taking the initiative. You think Leo would have survived a bear attack if he had hesitated all day? (Not sure if that makes sense, but stay with me.) Get your act together and do some manly shit. Start a fire without looking it up on your phone, make some decisions for once in your life, then watch your fellow campers take notes while you roast some weenies.
Trusting The Sun
Camping, by definition, is almost the worst time to work on your tan. There’s nothing worse than trying to get a good night’s sleep in an already less cozy place than your bed than when you’re covered in sunburn. Sunscreen and smart clothing are the way to go. Don’t believe us? Try hiking or simply enjoying yourself when you look redder than your dad that one time he took off his shirt all day at the start of your family vacation.
Forgetting The Essentials
First aid kit, sizable cooler, clean drinking water, libations, flashlights (plural, with batteries); these are just a few of the must-have things to bring. Leave the cologne at home. What, are you trying to impress the animals? You’re going to attract bugs. Speaking of which, you’ll need insect repellent, a pot or pan for cooking, comfortable sleeping supplies, a can opener and, yes of course, a corkscrew. There’s nothing worse than being sleepless with bug bites in the middle of a hot day with no wine.
Assuming You’re An Expert
Chances are you’re going to want to eat, and if you’re camping long enough that you’ll need a decent cooked meal, you’ll want a fire. Despite what you’ve seen in the movies, it can be a bit tricky making one out of Mother Nature’s short and curlies, so bring charcoal, preferably the kind with the lighter fluid attached (and a lighter). Your matches are only classy when there’s not a heavy wind assaulting your camping game.
Packing Like A Girl Would For A Week Vacation
Not to be rude, but come on ladies, it’s true: You’re heavy packers. The space allotted in the car should be designated for supplies for sleeping, lounging, eating and staying safe, but also for having fun. You’re not going to need umpteen pairs of shoes, a number of wardrobe choices or all your beauty supplies. You need a basic uniform whose goals are to protect, warm or allow for comfortable movements. There’s nobody in heels climbing any large rocks. And don’t bring the dog if you’re not supposed to. Aside from taking up a lot of extra room, there might be a good reason dogs aren’t welcome where you’re going. If they are allowed, by all means, take them and have a good, safe time. Maybe leave the wife home instead.
Bring a compass, batteries, phone chargers, maps, and even walkie-talkies if you have them. There’s nothing worse than being someplace you don’t know without cell reception and no clues as to where to go while nightfall rolls quickly around. Learn how to use a compass, whether it’s old school or new (your phone) school. Study the sun and understand your surroundings. Take a camping guide if you need to, but don’t go it alone. But if you do fly solo, let people know where you’re going. You can leave a trail of itineraries behind, maybe even a Reese’s Pieces trail, but stick to the beaten path if you’re new to camping. Oh, and read the damn signs. Only then will you sleep comfortably. Am I the only one who saw “127 Hours” here?