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5 Camping Nightmares & How to Avoid Them

4 August 2021 No comments
5 Camping Nightmares & How to Avoid Them

When you're in such close quarters with Mother Nature, it doesn't take much to make a camping trip go awry. Here are five common camping nightmares that all have simple solutions…


Tent flying away

Camping nightmare scenario:

You roll out your tent and watch haplessly as it catches the wind and sails itself across the campsite into the nearest hedge/tree/river/other people.


  • Check the wind direction. Always pitch your tent lengthways to the wind so it will pass around it easily. If the design allows, have the main entrance facing downwind as well.
  • Peg the end of the tent furthest upwind first. Once this is anchored you can build the rest without worrying about the sheets catching the wind and blowing away.
  • Make sure everything is taught and secure. Tents are designed to be rigid when they're pitched. If you have any flapping material, you could easily end up with a snapped pole. Utilise every anchor point you can, including guy ropes, and make sure you have enough pegs to go round!


Tent leaking

Camping nightmare scenario:

Ah, the wonderfully satisfying drum of rain on the outer fabric of a tent while you're sat inside, cosy and dry. That is, until you notice the steady, heavier drip-drip that signifies your line of defence has been broken. By the time the penny's dropped, your corner of the tent has been taking on water for some time.


  • Ensure everything is pegged taught. Tents shouldn't allow any water to collect on the outer fabric – if it is pooling, something needs adjusting.
  • A tent's DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment will wear off eventually. You can see this when it rains – water is meant to bead off the fabric, but if it has worn off it soaks in. The key is to treat your tent with a re-proofer after every few trips (at home, when it's dry) to bring your tent back to its former glory.
  • If your tent has a tear, Tenacious Tape is your best friend. Providing an invisible, durable, fully waterproof seal, it gives you a long-lasting solution. Duct tape can be used for a temporary fix until you get your hands on some.


Swarm of insects

Camping nightmare scenario:

You've got your tent pitched, your foldable chairs out and your plastic glass of wine in hand. Bliss. This is what camping is all about.
But savour that moment, because in 20 seconds, a frenzied cloud of blood-thirsty midges is about to descend on your face like a biblical plague of incomparable irritation.


  • Use a strong, long-lasting insect repellent. Unless you're camping in a more tropical environment, you don't need the really strong formulae; but a spray of Lifesystems Natural will provide long-lasting protection that is easy on the skin.
  • They may not be the height of fashion, but a Head Net Hat is an instant and unbeatable solution. Though it does make drinking that plastic cup of wine a little trickier, it's worth it.
  • Use Mosquito coils. If the air is still (when midges are at their most prevalent), these are effective at warding off most insects from your encampment.


Spoon bending

Camping nightmare scenario:

Okay, you've surveyed the site and you've chosen that perfect little spot well away from the family in the middle of a domestic. You lay out your groundsheet and start to push in your first peg, only to find it goes in an inch before bending into a perfect right angle, useless. On a positive note, you might be able to moonlight as a camping Uri Gellar impersonator.


  • Use channel tent pegs instead of conventional pin pegs. These are stronger and hold far better if the terrain is hit-and-miss. Their shape means they don't rotate, and they also anchor better if the ground is too loose (such as on a beach).
  • Drive your tent pegs in at an angle. Rather than sticking them straight down, insert them into the ground at 45 degrees, pointing away from the tent. This helps them glance off any subterranean rocks.
  • Use a mallet. Depending on soil type and weather conditions, soil can be surprisingly solid! If weight isn't an issue (i.e. if you're driving), a mallet will spare your hands and ensure pegs are secure.


blowing up a mattress

Camping nightmare scenario:

You've spent half an hour performing what looks to everyone else like a laboured River Dance, your right leg is twice the size of the other, and the rhythmic squealing as you pumped up your airbed has driven any nearby campers to the edge of insanity, but at last your airbed is full… for five minutes.


  • Never carry a blow-up airbed without a puncture repair kit. Cheap. Instant. Effective. It can be tricky to find the source of escaping air, but with patience (and the hearing ability of a bat), there's no need to bin your inflatable mattress!
  • Repair kits for self-inflating mattresses exist! Therm-a-rest produce special repair kits for fixing rips and tears, ensuring you don't damage the fabric.
  • Inflate it early in the day. Not always possible, but if you can get it blown up in daylight, it at least makes finding and repairing a puncture that bit easier!



Camping nightmare scenario:

You're in the middle of nowhere. You have no teabags.


Nettle tea? You might as well go home.


About the Author:

Mike Humphreys - Online Content

Mike is a keen cyclist, snowboarder, hill walker and Land Rover tinkerer. He has travelled extensively, spending a year living out of a van in New Zealand before joining Ellis Brigham four years ago. Can usually be found walking his dogs or tortoises.

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