25 Things I Learned From Long-Term Camping

Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If it’s springtime, that means that camping season is just days or weeks ahead. 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!

25 Things I Learned From Long Term Camping via The Survival Mom

  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 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. Here’s a list of more camping skills you’ll need.
  14. Raccoons 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. Don’t 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?

Are you wondering if you have the skills needed for camping? Read this to find out!


25 Things I Learned From Long Term Camping via The Survival Mom

21 thoughts on “25 Things I Learned From Long-Term Camping”

  1. 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. Pingback: Things I Learned From Long Term Camping | The Survival Mom

  3. 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!

    1. 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>

  4. 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

    1. 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!

  5. Pingback: camping – Tips For Family Camping at Disney World

  6. Jennifer Lovett

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

  7. If you need all or part of the tips above to go camping … Then Don’t.
    Camping is not for you, stick to a nice hotel.

  8. Meledie Knopf

    When pitching a tent, not only should you have a tarp under it (just to the edge of the tent’s footprint), but a trench about 3-6 inches deep should be dug all around it and, at the lowest elevation point, away from the tent about 2-3 feet to carry away any rainfall. There’s nothing worse than a wet tent floor (and it will get wet during a heavy downpour if the water isn’t channeled away) because that’s where your bag, clothes, etc., lies! Living in the rainy Pacific Northwest teaches you tricks to stay as dry as you can when tent camping.

    Enjoy camping!

  9. If you are accustomed to long term camping and the check points how to do a safe and secure, restful camp site, never bring a newbie to such camp with you. If you do you will live a training session for the long term of the camp. This is fine for the first 3 days or so, but is not very much good when you expect back up or common long term camping sense, and you do not get cognitive responses from the person or group that are newbies. Often there is a sense of, rely on someone else mind set, as they feel like a guest not a participant, and this takes them away from being a equal to support the effort in the long term. Take people that have a week under there belt of camping, at least 4 or 5 times before long term outings with you, and your group of long termers.
    Best is, if they did there beginning camping trips alone, as they will understand better some of the specific needs, and be a help instead of having that, GUEST, that you thought was going to help the long term camping effort, that sits, and stays longer in the sleeping bag, and waits for experienced or the equipment owner to do this and that, as they sit and watch, or just feel like they are a GUEST. Not good long term.
    This is not to say some characters will fit right in, if on there first time, long term camping, and get with it, and help the outing. Those are the doers in life usually, with skills. Most are NOT that the doer character types, at least if have observed such.

  10. Prepared Grammy

    -Tents leak, even if they claim they’re waterproof.
    -One mosquito in a tent will find your ears…all…night… long.
    -Squirrels will find their way into a camper. They like M&Ms. M&Ms will make squirrel poop rainbow colors. Squirrels poop a lot. Friend Stacey will not clean up squirrel poop.
    -Food cooked over a campfire is always better.
    -Give every child a flashlight and bring extra batteries. They’ll play forever.
    -Telling the same funny story for the hundredth time around a campfire with friends will still make you laugh until you cry.
    -Camping friends are forever friends.

  11. Pingback: 25 Things I Learned From Long Term Camping – usakids.com

  12. Jennifer Lovett

    A chess board on the picnic table will draw a crowd. We always took a chess board, at least 2 decks of cards, dominos, Yatzee pads.
    Delegate chores, this is Moms vacation too.
    Teach your kids what poison ivy looks like. Make sure everyone knows.
    Stop at the farmers market. Good fruits, veggies, and is a great place to learn more about the area you are camping in.
    LOCK YOUR CAR!! Bears are pretty good with the grab and pull handles, and can cause a lot of damage and cause a lot of stink.

  13. First, and foremost, tell somebody where you are going and when you expect to be back. Leave a note at home with this info in case a safety check is done. A dead car battery, and no way to charge a phone, can turn any camping trip into a survival situation. For that reason alone, bring 3-5 days extra water and food bars, like Marathon or Datrex. I usually bring a firearm, air rifle, and flares too.

    1. The Survival Mom

      100% correct! A lot of lives could have been saved over the years if people heading out to the wilderness (camping, hiking, etc.) had just told someone their plan and stayed in touch.

    1. The Survival Mom

      That’s a fair point. The author was referring to the fact that you don’t want to step on a bull thistle, so you’d better know what they look like ahead of time!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *