Let’s admit it; we’ve all done some stupid shit when it comes to camping. The type of idiocy that nobody talks about during #hikerchat, #parkchat or anywhere, because it’s SO embarrassing. Well, now’s the time to talk about it.
Camping snafus are hilarious to look back on, mostly because we survived. It wasn’t actually that bad, but during the moment, it was the worst. Here are our 3 Most Memorable Camping Fails:
1. The very first backcountry camping trip we ever did together, way back before Register Couple, before blogging, before all of this stuff, was a trip to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. It’s a really great spot, so great you have to book your campsite months in advance. We did that and had our backcountry spot, but were NOT ready with our gear. We bought some cheap gear, used some of what we had, and took a lot of what we didn’t need. Most notably, a full-size pillow.
That thing was the bane of our existence for the couple of hours that we were hiking. It wouldn’t fit in or on our “pack,” it was too cumbersome to carry by hand, it was such a pain in the ass! Don’t worry though, we survived. Long enough to do more dumb stuff during that same trip…
2. On that first backcountry trip to Enchanted Rock, the plan was to hike out to our site that first evening, then the next day, we’d hike around and go back to the car so that we could also go explore nearby Fredericksburg, a super cool, little German town in the Texas Hill Country.
Thanks in no small part to that damn pillow, the first night didn’t go according to plan, but it did go, so we continued with the plans. We had a nice meal in town and walked around for a while without packs or pillows. When heading back to camp, we decided to grab a 6 pack of Firemans #4 beer based off a friend’s recommendation. Let me tell you, we never drank that beer. We ended up abandoning it midway through the hike. We know, that’s completely against the Leave No Trace principles that we preach to our kids, but we’re discussing top screw-ups, and that beer was additional weight…and warm. We hope that someone more experienced, with more room in their pack, got a nice surprise.
3. The last mistake wasn’t as much a lack of planning or experience as it was a COMPLETE COLLAPSE. When our youngest turned 8, as is tradition, we went camping for her birthday. This trip was to Inks Lake State Park, which allowed us to camp, go canoeing and even cliff jump all at one park. The Mrs. took off early with the girls and the Mr. headed out after work..
However, after filling up with gas, he drove off with his wallet on top of the car and didn’t realize it until nearly arriving at the campsite. Not the end of the world; we called and cancelled all of the cards.
The next morning, we were renting canoes to spend the day on the water. The Mr. stayed outside and played in the lake with dogs. With his iPhone in his pocket.
So at this point, he’s down his wallet and cell phone. Not going great.
Not one to quit, he figured out a way to top that, though.
Nothing could go wrong jumping off of a cliff, right?
OK, not THAT bad.
A short hike from our campsite was Devil’s Waterhole, a popular cliff jumping spot. Of course J.C. had to give it a go. Sure, go ahead and jump from a cliff named Devil’s Waterhole, there’s no way this could go poorly…
There were two different heights, a scary and super scary. He made sure they were both “safe” before inviting the girls over, and his solo trial jumps went completely uneventfully.
After about 10 minutes of coaxing the birthday girl to go for it, she finally agrees. Gripping his right hand with both arms, they count to probably 15 and then jump to the freezing water below. Both of their heads pop up, everything’s fine. Thank goodness!
Then, they swim over to the rest of our group and J.C. quietly reveals that he lost his wedding ring; it slipped off in the water.
We’ve all done stupid stuff getting outside, and sometimes it seems like the end of the world, but it’s not.
We now have excellent camp pillows, sleeping bags, packs and everything else. We don’t take beer on backcountry trips, and J.C. now has a variety of (much more affordable) QALO rings.
Despite all of these incidents, that first trip to Enchanted Rock is what hooked us. These mistakes brought us closer together, and taught us so much. We’ve learned from them and can look back, laugh and even blog about them.
So we want to hear from you! What’s your most memorable camping/outdoors flub? Hit us up on Twitter, or make us laugh in the comments! We’re all laughing together, not at you, promise.
P.S. – Don’t make another mistake and forget about Mom this Mother’s Day. Head over to our Mother’s Day Gift Guide for the Outdoorsy Mom.