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Camping Fails: Top 5 Worst Camping Moments

août 18, 2011
par Laura Canning | guides

Should have gone to Specsavers...

Bill Bryson should have known better. First, he decided to walk the Appalachian Trail , a 2,181 mile trek through from Maine to Georgia. Second, this is an area with bears. Proper big bears that can smell your food from way over there and come snuffling around your non-metal tent to see if there’s any more food . And last, he did the trail with an acquaintance he’d travelled around Europe with in his youth, to much swearing, arguing and general incompatibility. But at least he did bring a large knife, 'to kill bears and hillbillies'.

Luckily we don't have bears in Britain. But we do have noisy children, and wet dogs, and drunk people singing soulfully at 4am, and people being, em, very friendly in the next tent (tents need soundproofing apps). And sometimes rain, and cold, and soggy bread when the shop's closed and the campfire won't light and you’re thinking about trying the bacon raw.

We at Pitchup.com love our camping, but it does have to be said that like any holiday it can sometimes have its downs as well as ups. Camping fails can be pretty much anything – here are five for starters.

Tent problems

It’s almost a cliché now to think tent problems = trying to put up a tent in a gale in the dark, but if you've done it once it'll come to mind every time you put up a tent for the rest of your life, even if you spend a fortune on one that you only have to shake a bit for it to pop up. Almost everyone can tell the sorry tale of how their tent leaked, wouldn't go up or was found at the crucial moment to be missing a vital part.

You can also lose your tent when camping (and indeed when not camping if your house is very messy), in one of two ways – it blows away in a gale, or you can't find it in the dark after a long (read: drunk) day as it's in a mass of other 'also bought for £19.99 at Argos' style domes. One of my more enterprising friends had both happen to him within two months, which is particularly impressive. Sadly there’s no way around this, apart from not getting too drunk at festivals, but then that would take away most of the fun.

The British weather

Ah, how we love the British weather. The summer that normally occurs from July 19—21 or thereabouts, the rain, the cold of Scotland in February...but then we're hardy types here at Pitchup.com and go camping in all conditions. It’s easy to do nowadays – if you think you're going to be confined to barracks, just look for parks with plenty of facilities on site, such as indoor swimming pool , bar or clubhouse , on-site restaurant/cafe , TV room , games room or fitness centre . All our listings also have details of what to do nearby, like Good Pub Guide pubs, National Trust attractions, theme parks or museums. Although I still have repressed trauma from camping in a thunderstorm in the Glens of Antrim a few years back, so am perhaps not as chipper about the Great UK Weather as I think...

Cooking chaos

Either you can't get the campfire lit or the water bottle has leaked all over your carefully prepared sandwiches, but cooking while camping can present its own set of challenges. Building a campfire and cooking your own food is one of the all-time best things about camping, but the potential for disaster is fairly high. If you’re like me and would burn yourself heating water, look for parks with a restaurant or take away on-site.

Other campers

I’m not a misanthropic type – well, not every single day – but it has to be said that being on a campsite with loads of other people can sometimes be a bit much. There are plenty of annoying campers about, but even if everyone else on the campsite are lovely Pitchup.com types , a busy campsite or caravan park at the height of summer can sometimes be a bit too hectic for those of us who like the contemplative life or who don’t want witnesses to our mischief. If this is you, look for sites that offer wild camping , that are peaceful or in a remote location so you can skulk Heathcliff-like around the moors in happy solitude.


Whether they’re your own or someone else’s, it has to be said that even if you like kids, the young of the species are not everyone's cup of tea on holiday . If they’re your own, you might understandably feel a little frazzled as your young whirl around displaying the type of energy normally associated with mainlining Red Bull, while if they’re someone else’s the frazzlement could increase as you can’t even threaten to take away their pocket money. Earplugs are your friend here, or try an adults-only site – sadly not recommended if the kids are yours .

I’m the type of person who likes to share the misery, so if you too have had a nightmare camping experience, share it with us below.