CAMPING NIGHTMARES AND HOW TO SOLVE THEM
Being away from civilisation, it doesn’t require much to make things go wrong. A relatively small hiccup can send the whole situation awry. Here are some common camping nightmares and their relatively simple solutions.
PITCHING A TENT IN STRONG WINDS
A few years ago, I was setting up the tent for my family in Walkerville, North Victoria. It was a blustery day and the tent was a pretty sizeable 8-sleeper. I was trying to feed the poles through to construct the entrance, and as I lifted it up, it caught the wind and was ripped from my hands. Next thing I knew, me and the whole family were in pursuit of the tent across the campsite and our holiday began by fishing the tent out of a bush.
I have since learnt my lesson to always check the wind direction first and then peg the end that is the furthest upwind. Now I utilise every anchor point available and ensure my tent is fully pegged, even in the slightest breeze.
There is nothing more satisfying than lying in your tent, all wrapped up and cosy while you listen to the steady thud of rain drops. Nothing shatters this dream quite like realising your tent has sprung a leak and the relaxing drum of the rain turns into a terrifying beat, announcing the imminent drenching of your possessions.
To avoid this, treat your tent with water repellent every few trips when it is at home in the dry. If it has torn, duct tape it until you can get it repaired. This is only a temporary solution though. You can minimise the chances of leakage by ensuring everything is pulled taught. This will prevent water from pooling and seeping into the tent.
YOUR PEGS WON’T STOP BENDING
You’ve found your spot and laid your groundsheet but every time you try and push a peg in, its folds like an accordion. It’s not the end of the world, but you don’t want your tent to take off at the slightest hint of a breeze.
Make sure you are driving the pegs in at an angle of around 45 degrees. This allows them to glance off any rocks that may be preventing the peg from going deeper, without bending the peg.
If the terrain isn’t ideal, use channel pegs instead of pin pegs. They are stronger and perform better in loose and hard terrain. The shape won’t rotate in the ground either and because they don’t have a hook in them, they shouldn’t bend to a 90-degree angle every time you hit them.
THE INFLATABLE MATTRESS IS PUNCTURED
You’ve been going at the pedal pump all morning and are starting to feel like Lance Armstrong, but the inflatable mattress isn’t getting any bigger. It’s got a puncture. Time to accept defeat.
Keep a bicycle puncture repair kit in your first aid bag for just such occasions. You will need heaps of patience, but once you find the source of the puncture you can easily fix it. There are also specific air mattress repair kits, but I’ve always found that a bicycle puncture kit gets the job done. Also, try and inflate your mattress early in the day. That way if there are any problems, you have all day to sort it out.
YOU FORGOT THE ESKY FULL OF BEERS
You arrive at the campsite and it dawns on you that you left the esky on your drive next to the car. There are no shops for miles.
Forget it. You might as well just go home.
What do you think? Do you have any camping nightmare scenarios? We’d love you to share your thoughts and experience through the comments section below.