Stuff I stuffed up and how you can avoid making the same camping mistakes…


We all learn from our mistakes and we’ve all heard the sayings but personally, I rather like it when I can learn from other people’s mistakes. All gain, no pain 😉

So, here’s some of my camping mistakes to help you out…


My camping stuff ups –


Leaving the chairs, table, swimmers, towels and other miscellaneous stuff out overnight on a windy day. And then having to trudge from campsite to campsite in the morning retrieving everything.


Neatly bagging up all our rubbish in plastic bags before bed and sitting it outside, only to find out that the bush turkeys, goannas and possums had a wild party with it while we slept.


Rocking up at a BIG4 (large caravan park full of families with young kids) with two preschoolers and absolutely nothing with wheels. No bikes, no scooters, no skateboard. I had the saddest kids on the block.


Thinking I could get two wriggly toddlers to stay in slippery nylon sleeping bags when camping in winter. Bloody impossible, they just shoot out the top! I’m all about grow suits for babies and doonas for toddlers now. (Check out camping with kids in cold weather for some ideas on how to keep kids warm when you’re camping in winter) 


Assuming that my plan A camp site was going to be available and suitable and so not leaving enough time to hotfoot it to plan B when plan A didn’t work. Which is exactly what happened and meant that I ended up setting up camp in the dark with two cranky toddlers and a whole lot of camping neighbours who were understandably pissed about the late night intrusion. 


Not bringing a dirty clothes bag and then ending up having to smell test the kids clothes for a whole week while deciding what was clean what wasn’t. Gross I know. I take dry bags now and put everything dirty straight in there and ignore it until I make it to a washing machine. (The dry bags I use are in this list of my fave camping gear)


Toilet paper. Not taking enough. Not taking any. Assume that every public loo you come across will have run out, just to be safe.


Not packing spare tent pegs (or a stronger set) and killing three pegs in row while trying to set up on rocky/hard ground and then having none to replace the ones I stuffed.


Driving off with the roof up because I didn’t do the final walk around the van check after pack up. I may have done this more than once.


Remote camping with two kids under three and not taking antihistamines. Our kids aren’t even allergic to anything but Ivy got bitten by something and came out in full on hives. I had to make a mad dash to the nearest 24 hour pharmacy. (She was fine after a dose and I never worked out what bit her)


Setting up camp with the awning facing towards the place the sun sets and then sweating it out for a few hours every arvo. Now I use the tent or the van to take the brunt of the afternoon sun and set up seating on the other side.


Going to a six day festival and forgetting to fill up the water before I got there. I feel silly even mentioning this one cos it’s so ridiculous but if it happened to me I figure it’s worth a mention! (On a side note, if you’re keen to get out there and go festival hopping then check out this list of family friendly festivals in Australia)


Basing my entire meal prep and shopping list around food that I was going cook on the camp fire. And then finding out that there’s a total fire ban. (I’ve done up this list of quick and easy camping meals for kids that can all be done on a single gas burner since then)


Not making sure the awning was at an angle and waking up to it totally collapsed and a little torn up after a rainy night. Which reminds me to mention that keeping some sail repair tape on board is a really really good idea.


Deciding that I was going to cut chemicals out wherever possible and rely solely on a natural insect repellent. Then getting to Sandfly Central and discovering that they ate that stuff for breakfast. Now I keep one bottle of the hardcore full of terrible stuff repellant for such emergencies.


Not taking enough bandaids and betadine. Every splinter, insect bite, blister, grazed knee and kicked off toenail gets the same treatment and we go through them pretty fast.


Taking kids for bush walks and believing the sign that says it will take half an hour, so only taking minimal supplies. Then discovering that when you’re doing it with kids you need to add at least three hours to any bush walk. Now I take enough food and water for an overnight trip just in case. Overkill I know but hangry kids and long walks are not my fave pastime.


Camping in a tent on sand without any device or system for removing sand from kiddos feet. Makes for gritty sleeping. Now I use a foot washing station with one of my collapsible tubs or a dustpan and brush


Taking wayyyy too many clothes and NEVER taking enough socks.



Well, I hope that helps!

Tell me about your biggest camping mistakes, come on, I love hearing about it as much as you do 😉

You might be able to save me from making the same mistake which would be bloody lovely…

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