12 Ways To Scream Amateur When Camping

Do you want everyone to know you are brand new at the “camping thing?” If you do, then make sure to do everything in the list below. It’s guaranteed to call attention to your inexperience and to the fact that you are a "camping newbie."

1) Don’t practice backing your camper before your first trip to the campground – If you want everyone in the campground to know it’s the first time you’ve driven your new camper, don’t practice backing it at home. Instead give everyone in the campground free entertainment and some chuckles while they watch you struggle to get the darn thing backed into your site.

2) Buy A little Tent – Here’s a little secret tent manufacturers don’t want you to know. A “4 person tent” does not sleep 4 people comfortably unless you want to find out what it feels like to be a sardine in a can. You will pretty much be packed in that tight. If you have 4 people buy a tent that will sleep at least 6 people.

3) Pull out the instruction manual on how to set up your tent at the campground and spend 3 hours setting it up (almost correctly) – New tent owners can be spotted a mile away. Instead of being able to get their tent up in less than 15 minutes like most seasoned tent owners can, they are the “3 hours later and I’m not sure it’s up right” people who have probably had at least 2 arguments about how to set it up with whoever they are camping with (arguments that everyone in the campground heard because they yelled and were loud – but entertaining at the same time)

4) Bring enough equipment and supplies for the entire campground – New campers live in fear of not bringing enough stuff whether it’s gear, clothes, or food. They’re the ones who bring along their kids bicycles, skateboards, scooters, and rollerblades along with armfuls of other toys (your kids will likely only use their bicycle) plus enough food to feed the entire campground for a week, and several suitcases of clothes for a 2 day trip. Bring one or two items for each child to play with, enough food for 2 meals a day (plus some snacks) and 2 changes of clothes per day (3 for kids) since clothes can get pretty dirty and messy outside. 

5) Bring a tiny hatchet to cut your firewood – Those little hatchets with a 10” or 12” handle will only cut twigs. They will not split firewood. If you don’t believe me, ask the two guys who camped next to us a couple years ago and spent an hour trying to split their bundle of firewood. We finally went over and offered them our axe because we felt so bad for them (actually my husband offered to split their wood for them because he was afraid they would cut off their hand if he let them do it themselves).

6) Bring one $5 bundle of firewood for a weekend camping trip – This is really just a continuation of item #5 (bring a tiny hatchet to cut your firewood). The same two guys who brought the tiny hatchet also only bought one bundle of firewood for their weekend trip. It had only taken them a few minutes to realize their firewood was not going to last so they were using their hatchet to split each piece of firewood into 10-12 smaller pieces in an effort to conserve what they had.

When we saw one of them trying to boost the other up into a tree to get at a piece of dead wood, we realized we needed to give them some of our firewood (we had plenty and were leaving the next day) or we would likely be needing to offer one of them a ride to the emergency to set the broken bones they were going to get after they fell out of the tree.

7) Forget towels – If you like to really get into nature and don’t mind getting a little "ripe" smelling during your camping trip, then by all means leave your bath towels at home. Otherwise take towels. You are camping, not staying at a hotel.

8) Forget chairs – New campers tend to forget they will want a place to sit outside while camping and forget to bring chairs. It usually results in a trip to the nearest discount store for some folding chairs, but I’ve seen some enterprising people go foraging in the woods for stumps to use instead (although they never sit on them for long).

9) Don’t bring water – Unless you have a camping unit with water hookups and water hookups at your campsite, you’ll want some jugs and/or coolers of water for drinking, washing up, and rinsing vegetables. Taking your plastic cup to the nearest faucet or drinking fountain in the campground every time you need water will get old in a hurry.


10) Don’t bring a flashlight or lantern – It’s fun trying to find your way to the bathroom at night without a flashlight or lantern, right? It might be, until you trip over a tree root or step on a dead squirrel that someone hit with their vehicle earlier in the day. Take a flashlight and extra batteries.

11) Make a Lot of Noise – Noise carries when outside in large open spaces. It carries really well. A conversation spoken in normal tones can easily be heard by the people in nearby campsites (unless you are very secluded) so don’t say bad things about your neighbors or the park ranger (he or she may be standing just a few feet away listening to everything).

12) Don’t Buy Antibacterial Wipes – You’ll be camping outside where it’s dirty and will likely be using the campground bathroom (a large number do not have soap in them). How dirty do you want your hands to be? Will you want to use those hands to eat food? I didn’t think so. Stock up on wipes and/or antibacterial hand wash.

These are 12 great ways to let everyone in the campground know you are brand new at camping and should be watched closely because new campers typically have a high “entertainment” value. It’s fun to watch them mess things up!