Camping Mistakes First timers make
You have seen the first time campers in the campground, right?
The one doing some funky thing with his camper and you think to yourself “oh boy that is going to turn out badly for him!”
Gosh knows we have seen some crazy things over the years but at the same time we have all been there as well. You think you paid enough attention during your pre-delivery inspection but really you forgot everything the guy walking you through your camper said.
There are a ton of mistakes you can make with your camper and you hope and pray that none of them cause severe damage and are not too costly.
But with so many first time campers on the road this year we thought it would be helpful to talk about some of the top mistakes we have seen and how to avoid them.
Mistake # 1:
The first mistake we see is people not understanding how the basics of their campers work. (Again you probably didn’t take enough notes when you picked up your camper.). But we have seen people that aren’t even sure how to put their slides or awning out. Scary to think they pulled that thing out of their driveway.
There is a simple fix for this though. When you get home or wherever you are parking the trailer for storage run through it. All of it! Look at every button and figure out what it does. What is the function of the button and what is the purpose of its use for your trip. Run your slides out and run them back in so you can see, and hear, how they function. Hook your hose at home up and figure out how you will fill your water tank. After you have water in it run the pump (only when you have water in it) and figure out how that functions. Look for your low drain points and how those go on and off.
All those little things that will really ruin a weekend if you mess up.
Mistake # 2:
The second mistake we see, and this one is scary, is not have the right tow vehicle or hitch for your camper. No matter what the dealer tells you or what your friends say online never, ever buy a camper that weighs the same or more than your truck! Check out this link for some more information on hitches!
I know some people will say do it, with the right hitch. That to me is so scary, especially if you have a bumper pull. Always figure out how much your vehicle is rated to pull, if it can pull anything at all, and then account for 500-1000lbs of gear going in the camper. So if you can pull 7,000lbs and you want to be at least 1000lbs under that then you need a camper in the 4-5K lb range.
Do not, I repeat, do not try to pull your camper for the first time on a Friday night without knowing that you are safe. Go practice in a big parking lot. Practice pulling it straight, making turns and backing up. Have all drivers practice with it. Make sure that anyone that can drive knows how to drive the rig and can do it safely. No matter how nervous a first time camper is, knowing how to safely pull their rig is Key!
Mistake # 3:
The third thing is forgetting essential supplies. Obviously that is what our Last Minute Bag is for, so you don’t forget those things, but you need to make a list of everything you need for the camper and then just have a second set of everything in the camper.
(if you need an essentials checklist, check out ours….)
There are things you just have to have like a hose and poop pipe. Make sure these things are securely put away in your camper for the trip. Nothing like getting to the campground only to realize you lost your poop pipe on the way. (Yes it can happen… and here is the one we replaced our original hose with!). Also things like a first aid kit are essential items to have.
Mistake # 4:
The next thing I have been guilty of a time or two which is going too gourmet for your food. I don’t know what it is about camping but I always want to try new things, especially if people are camping with us. I like cooking and sharing food.
But for quick weekend trips you have got to keep it simple. Make half the food before the trip and just plan on reheating leftovers for the weekend. Don’t try to do the ultra extensive dutch oven recipe over the fire that takes four hours to make, first time camper mistake for sure. Keep the food simple for your first few trips and then expand as you become more and more comfortable with camping.
Mistake # 5:
Last, and this is a big one, not knowing camp etiquette. Yes I said it, there is an etiquette to camping. For instance don’t go traipsing through someone else’s campsite just to make your trip to the playground shorter. Go the long way and most importantly teach your kids to go the long way.
Other things are not hogging the dump station, make sure when you pull in you leave enough room for someone else if there are multiple spots. Don’t take forever at the dump station. Rusty always likes to flush our black tank but if there is a line 10 people deep on Sunday afternoon he will skip it, especially if it is 90 degrees out. Have courtesy for everyone else trying to dump and get home as well.
Keep in mind we are all there to relax and enjoy our time and no one wants a loud party going on at 2am and certainly don’t want kids screaming and yelling as they run through your stuff.
Come to terms with the fact that you will make a mistake or two in your camping lifetime!
But if you can try to avoid as many as possible by just being prepared and being conscious of others you will enjoy many, many years of camping adventures.