Campsite with no mistakes

15 Common Camping Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them!)

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Camping can be a fun and exciting experience, especially when enjoying the beauty of Australia.

Even the most seasoned campers, however, can sometimes make mistakes that can turn an otherwise enjoyable outing into a difficult situation.

The following are 15 camping mistakes to avoid when camping in Australia.

1. Not Telling Anyone Where You’re Going

Some people may want to “get away from it all” for a while and make the mistake of not telling anyone where they’ll be camping.

Whether you’re camping in one of Australia’s many national parks or venturing out on your own, it’s imperative to give a friend or family member your itinerary.

It’s also a good idea to make arrangements to contact someone every so often just so they’ll know you’re still safe.

2. Not Being Prepared For The Weather

The type of weather conditions you’ll be having will make a difference in the kind of supplies that are needed.

Since the weather can change in a short amount of time, it’s important to check the forecast right before leaving to see if anything different needs to be brought along.

Even if rain isn’t in the forecast, it’s always smart to bring along an umbrella and a rain poncho.
didn't plan for bad weather

3. Not Packing a First Aid Kit

Even something as minor as a blister can make walking miserable without a band aid and other first aid care.

Everything from bug bites to rashes can turn serious in a short amount of time.

It’s a good idea to keep a larger first aid kit in the car and another smaller one with you wherever you go.

4. Arriving at the Campsite Late

Of all the camping mistakes that are often made, this may not seem like that big of a deal but it can have a major impact on your trip.

Setting up camp when you’re tired, hungry, and it’s dark out can make for a miserable first night.

Even worse, if you haven’t booked a camping spot, or are using a free public camping area, the campsite may be full and you’ll have to venture off in the dark looking for another one.

Set off early in the day to arrive with plenty of light and allow for delays like heavy traffic, or unplanned toilet stops!

It’s a good idea to collect any needed firewood before starting anything else and anything that would require you to leave the general campsite should be done first.

5. Leaving Food Out

Not storing uneaten food properly, as well as leaving food scraps and trash unsecured, are camping mistakes that can lead to disaster.

Kangaroos, possums, and other creatures may be able to smell food from quite a distance.

Campers may wake up in the morning to find unsecured trash and food that wasn’t stored properly strewn across a campsite.

Make sure you store food away from your tent in sealed containers, or coolers, so that the smell of the food is trapped inside the container.

It’s also recommended not to cook or eat inside your tent. The lingering smells may attract animals throughout the night.

6. Not Testing All Your Equipment

This is important no matter how simple or complicated each piece of equipment may be.

It’s necessary to know if everything from flashlights to stoves are in working order before taking off on a camping trip.

Setting up the tent in the backyard before the trip will not only let you know if there are any deficiencies or missing items in the camping tents but will make it easier to set up the second time around.

Tent was tested and set up perfectly

7. Not Adequately Knowing Where You Are Staying

Not knowing the area beforehand is a camping mistake that can affect how you cook, where you shower, and even if there are restrooms nearby. You don’t want to assume they have shared BBQ facilities and not have anywhere to cook when you first rock up.

It can cause even more serious problems when you venture out on the trails and aren’t sure where you’re going and what your surroundings will include.

It’s important to know both the facilities in the area as well as the terrain. Jump online and you can get all the information you will need from The National Park Authority and the campsite websites.

8. Wearing the Wrong Type of Clothing

The weather varies dramatically depending on the geographical location and the season.

Make sure to dress for the weather as well as comfort.

In general, warmer weather can be expected September through January, with the remainder of year being cooler.

It’s important to bring layers in case the temperature changes suddenly or you get wet.

Finally, bring along a good pair of tennis shoes or hiking boots, and make sure to leave dressier shoes at home.

9. Leaving Toiletries in the Tent

Toothpaste, shampoo, and other personal care items often have strong scents and can attract animals almost as much as some food items.

Keep these things locked in the car or at least stored in dry sealed containers.

Bringing along the proper personal items can be as important as securely packing them.

Don’t forget sunscreen, toothpaste, and shampoo.

10. Over and Under Packing

Doing your research and making a detailed list will make it easier to bring the right amount of items.

Make a specific list of exactly how much food you’ll need and always bring extra clothes.

It’s advisable to keep your sleeping area comfy with a pillow, inflatable air mattress or stretcher and blanket or sleeping bag from home.

Keeping a ‘camp kit’ box with cutlery, knives and forks, lights etc at the ready, with a check list on the top of it can be a great way to be prepared and save time.

11. Not Having Proper Lighting

Don’t rely on the moon or even a campfire to provide all your lighting needs.

Make sure to bring a lantern and a flash light/ head torch.

You’ll need to find out ahead of time if there will be electrical outlets where you’ll be camping or if you’ll need your own power source or fuel for all your lights.

Camping lanterns for dinner

12. Not Knowing Your Plants

A little research regarding the native plants in the area can go a long way to preventing an unpleasant allergic reactions from occuring.

A few of the plants that are poisonous in Australia include the Spurge, the Oleander, and the Strychnine Tree.

It’s recommended to get a book or manual that lists the poisonous plants and trees, with corresponding pictures.

13. Not Respecting Nature

It’s crucial to be aware of the many snakes and spiders that are native to Australia, especially in the Outback.

It’s important to learn what the poisonous ones look like and how to avoid them.

If you are camping in remote locations in the far north of Australia, it might be helpful to remember that fresh water crocodiles are usually harmless if left alone. Saltwater crocs are another matter.

Finally, the Outback Desert can be both beautiful and brutal. Take all necessary precautions when camping in this area, including having plenty of water.

14. Failing to Follow Camping Etiquette


Not following what is considered acceptable conduct at camping sites is one of the biggest camping mistakes many campers make.

The following are a few simple rules to remember.

It’s simply common sense to keep music, and all noises, to a minimum. This is especially true at night.

It’s also important not to crowd other campers, make sure pets and children are always supervised, and always clean up after yourself.

15. Rushing Pack Up

When it’s time to go home the race is normally on to get packed up and on the move as quickly as is possible. This can lead to items such as tent pegs being lost or things being broken.

It’s also important to remember if things are wet when you put them away that you will need to take them out to dry when you get home (otherwise they will go mouldy). Even if it’s not raining tents can be wet underneath from early morning dew, so it’s a good idea to take it down and dry it in the sun before packing away everything else.

Take the little bit of effort to put things away properly and you will thank yourself next time you head back out.