25 Things I Learned From Long Term Camping

25 Things I Learnded from Long Term Camping

If it’s springtime, that means that camping season is just days or weeks ahead. Prepper Mom, who writes at A Prepared Mother, submitted a list for my List Contest that I thought was too fun to not post.  If you’ve ever gone long term camping, you’ll be nodding your head in agreement, and then will have plenty more observations to add to this list!

  1. Snails can CEMENT themselves to nearly anything, and often they will do it in the least expected places.
  2. You MUST make peace with the giant spiders. They eat mosquitoes.
  3. Raccoons have no respect for personal property.
  4. If you fall asleep in in the open, don’t be surprised if you wake up with wildlife curled up with you.
  5. Nothing shiny is ever safe in the open from raccoons.
  6. Armadillos like to lick plastic and exposed toes.
  7. Make peace with skunks or your life will stink (literally).
  8. Always look where you’re taking a squat (answering nature’s call) at least three times before going.
  9. Make sure you know what bull thistle looks like.
  10. Don’t allow people to throw cigarettes in the latrines.
  11. Cedar smoke may be hard to live with, but mosquitoes are much harder to deal with.
  12. Don’t camp by still waters.
  13. Clear well the area where you put your tent. Rocks, briars, and twigs don’t just disappear because you put a tarp over them.
  14. Racoons will chew through things they cannot open easily.
  15. It’s easier to appease the raccoon than to keep buying new things.
  16. Shake your clothes well before putting them on.
  17. Wet tobacco makes fire ant stings stop hurting.
  18. You may not react to the first, second or 100th fire ant bite, but someday you will and get huge welts from them.
  19. Don’t camp anywhere near fire ants.
  20. No matter how awesome that spot in a valley looks, and no matter how much your significant other likes it, don’t camp there. Water ALWAYS goes to the valley.
  21. Do not attempt to burn American literature books. It won’t work.
  22. Raccoons can chew through sterilite containers.
  23. You cannot protect your valuables from raccoons unless you half bury a box in the ground and set a small boulder over it.
  24. Dont piss off Blue Jays. They remember and have no inhibitions in attacking you.
  25. ALWAYS, I repeat, ALWAYS check your shoes before putting them on.

What do you have to add?


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  1. says

    Things to add to camping better.
    1. A tent with a floor is better than not, but it still needs a ground cloth – tarp.
    2. Always zip or tie your tent closed at night.
    3. Always change clothes at night (including socks and undies). Damp clothing from sweat will make you cold.
    4. Keep a small flashlight on a lanyard under your pillow. Keeps hands free for late night nature calls.
    5. Use Bear Bags, unless you want the bears to have your breakfast, toothpaste and clothing you cooked in.
    6. Sometimes Duct Tape is more precious than gold. Always camp with it.

    Little things and gal learned from camping with Boy Scouts.

  2. rightwingmom says

    1. Check your back pockets before going to the outhouse. Nearly lost my debit card that way!!!
    2. Urine has ammonia. Ammonia stops MOST stings…nuf said.
    3. Raising your cooler 10 feet in the air will keep black bears out…but not the rarely seen grizzly.
    (South Central Colorado!)
    4. Never run down hill…my youngest son can attest to that!
    5. Always carry your own roll of toilet paper. It's not fun to drip dry in a rest stop outhouse…or worse!

    • tacomom says

      Urine does NOT contain ammonia. <quote> Exhaustive detailed description of the composition of human urine can be found in NASA Contractor Report No. NASA CR-1802, D. F. Putnam, July 1971. That report provided detailed chemical analyses for inorganic and organic constituents, methods of analysis, chemical and physical properties and its behavior during concentrative processes such as evaporation, distillation and other phisiochemical operations. Urine is an aqueous solution of greater than 95% water, with the remaining constituents, in order of decreasing concentration urea 9.3 g/l, chloride 1.87 g/l, sodium 1.17 g/l, potassium 0.750 g/l, creatinine 0.670 g/l and other dissolved ions, inorganic and organic compounds. </quote>

  3. Dustin says

    1) Take care of your feet – use foot powder, change your socks, sleep with your shoes/boots off
    2) Personal hygiene is key – keep as clean as you can – contact dermatitis, prickly heat and monkey-butt are no joke and can RUIN a fun outing
    3) Take care of your skin – small cuts and scrapes come easily and will get infected very quickly
    4) That picture-perfect stream might kill you if you drink from it directly – purify > pasteurize > filter
    5) Have an alternate and a back-up for every piece of gear you rely on
    6) Let people know where you will be, how long you intend to be there, and who to contact if you don't come back at that predetermined time
    7) Putting a paper map in vinyl map bag or ziploc is find for a short day hike, but is not long-term waterproof – invest in getting the map properly laminated. If it's a big map, cut it into smaller parts and laminate it with small gaps between so you can fold it up
    8) If it's not waterproof and/or requires fuel or batteries, have lots of back-up plans for when it gets wet, runs out of fuel, or the batteries die

    • says

      That's one of my favorite tips for traveling and how I developed my master packing lists. Until you're actually camping or traveling, you don't know what will be the most valuable and useful. Conversely, there are things you packed that you never needed. Thanks for that extra tip!

  4. Jennifer Lovett says

    A box of extra garbage bags are handy for many things.
    Teaching good camping manners, takes time, but worth the effort.


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