The Do’s and Don’ts of Camping: Learn From My Mistakes

There are certain things you shouldn’t do while going on a hike or camping. Now I’m not saying the serious stuff like litter and leaving stuff in the woods (which is something you shouldn’t do), I’m talking things you wouldn’t think about, the silly stuff that you wouldn’t think mattered, but it’s not huge (OK some of them are). But if you do do these things it isn’t the end of the world, but it’ll make for a good funny story tell your family and friends.

This post I bring to you will be about the things you should and shouldn’t do while hiking or camping, telling you some of my funny or horrific (however you want to take it) stories with my friends and family. Sit down and get ready to laugh or cringe.

Do not wear light colored pants or jeans

Even though they make them, I advise you to not wear them, because they will get dirty easily. I mean if that’s something you’re OK with and don’t mind trying to get out the stains go right ahead, but if you take a tumble down the trail be prepared to look like you pooped your pants or something. Once on a day trip while hiking my 14 year old cousin took it upon herself to wear light washed jeans. It had recently rained a few days before and the trails were still muddy, you can only guess where this is going. She took a fall at some point and her light washed jeans soon became brown washed jeans. Not only did she get mud all over her bum, but on the side of her leg, all over her shoe and one of her socks. Which resulted in her having someone put her sock on a stick and roast it by the fire to dry off, they held it too close to the fire and ending up burning a hole in her sock, but on a brighter note at least the sock got dried.

The famous light wash jeans, they had a good run.
The famous light wash jeans, they had a good run.

No matter how cold you are make sure you don’t sit too close to the fire

This might sound stupid, but you’ll thank me and your clothes later. As you can see from the last story getting too close to the fire can result in burnt clothing. On a camping trip I took in December the temperatures dropped really quick that night and the other two people I went on the trip with were huddled around the fire trying to stay warm. In the moment we didn’t think anything of it, we just wanted to stay warm, we knew from our parents past experiences that there was a possibility of burning our clothes, but it had never really happened to any of us.

Picture from a previously winter camping trip, probably should've sat this far away from the fire back in December. Photo taken by myself
Picture from a previously winter camping trip, probably should’ve sat this far away from the fire back in December.
Photo taken by myself

Then we all woke up the next morning and found that that was completely different story now. Between three people the night before we had managed to burn a hole in 7 articles of clothing and two pairs of boots, which none of us had noticed. The most impressive one was, one of us burnt through three layers of shirts. When one of my friends woke up the next morning he didn’t realize what had happened, he felt the back of his hoodie and turned around asking me to look at it to see if something was wrong. Next thing I knew I was almost on the ground laughing, because he had burnt through the back of his hoodie (which basically felt like a piece of tare), his fleece, AND thermal shirt. After that we all realized that even though you can’t see it or feel it, burning your clothes by sitting too close to the fire is a lot easier than we thought it was.

Make a list and check it twice, maybe even three times

As I wrote in my last post about winter camping, I said you should make a list and check it twice, maybe even three times. If you don’t do this you’re bound to forget something, trust me. On my most recent trip about a month ago, my friend and I decided to take kind of a spur of the moment weekend camping trip. Briefly the night before we discussed things we’d bring, notice I say discussed, not write down. Then Saturday morning rolled around and he got out of work and we packed up all our stuff in about 20 minutes and hit the road.

20 minutes into the car ride we realized we forgot about 5 things. Now they were things we could do without, but they would have been nice to have. We then spent the half of the car ride figuring out places to stop, while still being able to make good time to make it into the woods before it got dark out. Next thing we knew we found ourselves in a country store buying instant coffee, overpriced cheese (which I don’t know why, because we didn’t even have a pocket knife, because guess what we forgot it and all we had was a hatchet. Also we didn’t even end up eating it), crackers (again which went uneaten) and soup, only to have styrofoam cup that it came in (actually we used like 3 of those), because we forgot cups and bowls. We also took an unnecessary amount of the free forks and spoons, because guess who forgot those too.
woods
Moral of the story, just because you think you can remember it doesn’t mean you will the next morning. Honestly it’s amazing how either of us have gotten this far in life or made it out of the woods that weekend.

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