02 Mar 7 Mistakes New Campers Make…And How to Avoid Them at Campsites in Lake George, NY
When you get into camping there is A LOT to learn. From learning to cook food at a campsite, to determining what gear and equipment are essential and ensuring that you follow all campsite rules and regulations, it can feel totally overwhelming. We are here to help ease some of your stress and prevent you from making the most common camping mistakes that new campers make, here in Lake George and when camping elsewhere.
Don’t be too surprised if, in your early camping days, you find yourself making a lot more mistakes than just these five. But just remember that each error you make adds to your outdoor savvy. Nobody does it perfectly on their first try!
Mistake #1: Packing Unnecessary Equipment
There are so many options and offerings at outdoor supply stores. Many new campers can fall victim to the sales associates who insist that they have to have that s’mores maker or mini-French press coffee maker in order to have a good camping experience. You don’t want to end up with expensive and unnecessary camping gear.
We suggest starting slowly. Don’t buy too much stuff until you have a feel for what types of activities you want to engage in while camping. Read local blogs and ask your friends what they have that you can borrow. There might be options to rent some of the gear so you can try it before you make the investment to buy.
Mistake #2: Starting Too Strong
We do not suggest having your first-ever camping trip be a week-long excursion to a remote forest with no access to amenities. You should start small – maybe one night at a campsite close to home and see how your family handles it. Start with a campground where you book an actual site and have access to some amenities like water, showers/bathrooms, etc.
Mistake #3: Failing to Plan
Much of the discomfort that new campers experience can be reduced or even eliminated with proper planning and organization. Before you leave for your trip ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you know how to use your gear?
- Did you pack the right gear for the specific campsite and area that you are visiting?
- Do you have a plan for storing your gear and keeping it organized?
- Do you know what you’re going to eat during your trip and how you will get drinking water?
- Did you check the forecast, both during the day and overnight?
- Did you leave your trip itinerary and details with someone back home?
Taking the time to think things through and walk through some what-if scenarios before your trip will make all the difference when you are out there in the wilderness. You’ll spend your time enjoying the outdoors and the adventure of it all instead of worrying and stressing.
Mistake #4: Lack of Campfire Preparations
A cozy campfire (if allowed) is a quintessential part of the camping experience. We want to make sure you are prepared to have a roaring campfire that’s perfect for roasting marshmallows for s’mores and sitting around with your family telling stories and singing songs.
We at Lake George Campsites sell firewood at our camp store, but not all campsites provide have firewood available for their campers. You aren’t allowed to bring wood in from outside the area to most campgrounds due to the potential for insect infestations so make sure you plan ahead! And be sure to pack a supply of waterproof matches, newspaper, and a fire starter.
Mistake #5: Improperly Storing Food
All kinds of animals and rodents can get into your food no matter where you are camping. Mice, raccoons, and other rodents, not to mention bears (depending on where you are), will gnaw right through a backpack or tent to get at crumbs and food left inside. As a general rule of thumb, don’t leave any food or trash inside your tent, and never leave your food unattended.
During the day keep all of your food secured in a cooler, or your car if you can. At night, place any loose food, plus a cooler if you have one, inside a metal bear box. Storing food inside your vehicle is also an option. As a last resort, you can also hang a bag of food from a high tree branch or use a bear canister, if bears are a known nuisance in the campground where you are staying.
You also want to make sure that you are handling food properly while camping to avoid becoming sick due to the transmission of pathogens or eating spoiled food. Make sure you wash your hands often with soap and warm water and if that’s not an option use hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes. Chances are you will have a cooler with you and that’s where you want to keep all of your perishables at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (or colder) so they don’t spoil.
Try pre-chilling the cooler with ice or ice blocks for a few hours before you put in any food. Double-bag any raw meat you are packing so it doesn’t leak and contaminate your other food. Freeze your meat and pack it on the bottom where the cooler is coldest. We also suggest having a thermometer inside the cooler so you can keep an eye on the temperature inside.
Mistake #6: Relying on a Campfire to Cook Food
You may think you can leave behind the cooking essentials and simply rely on a campfire to do all of your cooking, but we wouldn’t recommend it. What if it starts to rain and you can’t keep a fire going? What if you get to your campsite and there is no firepit or place to start a fire?
Err on the side of caution and bring along a portable gas stove or grill. That way you will be able to cook your food regardless of the conditions.
Mistake #7: Relying on Cell Phones
Because we rely on our cell phones for pretty much every aspect of our daily life, one would assume it would be the same for a camping trip. However, there are campgrounds, especially in more remote areas, where cell service can be spotty (or nonexistent altogether) and you don’t want to get yourself into a situation where you need help and you can’t reach 911. Be sure to come up with a plan for emergencies and a plan in case your group gets separated.
Book Your First Camping Adventure
Feeling ready to tackle your first camping trip and avoid those common mistakes? Lake George Campsites is a great place to stay. We’ve got 250 camping & RV sites, located within walking distance from many popular Lake George attractions.
Tent out under the stars, reserve a full hookup RV site or enjoy the amenities of one of our cozy cottages. We’ve got accommodations for every type of camper!