Failed first camp

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So i thought i would tell you guys about my first camping experience today, some of you may know i am completely new to all this. I had been agonising over the weather the past week should i go, should i not, will it rain will it not. I woke up this morning and the sun was splitting the skies i thought jackpot we can get out tonight. Arrived at our spot i had picked out a while ago just as the heavens opened, fair enough it had been raining on and off all week thought right we will get out tent up and see what happens.

We got the tent pitched happy days all is going to plan now time to get a fire going, couldnt find any dry wood or tinder (like i say im new to this and it may have well been staring me in the face) so thought ok not too cold we can do without. went into the tent and it had only just really hit me we had pitched up on bleeding marshland so after the 4th and final change of socks we decided 4 hours later to cut our losses and head home for the night.

Think ill leave the camping untill the better weather comes back and concentrate any bushcraft training i can do at home or on woodland walks with the dog.

As i lie in my warm bed typing this i can laugh at the experience and look forward to getting out again.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Not off to a good start but I like your optomistic attitude for the next time. Just keep that sprit up.

Beginner or not at least you went out there and tried it. I'm a novice too, despite the confident sounding way I may type postings here. I've done plenty of camping over the years but hardly any proper "bushcraft". So, like you, I'm looking forward to learning and brushing up on the basic skills.


Aug 19, 2007
Bradford, UK
Sounds very familiar! My first night out ended in me walking back out of the woods in the dark. Couldn't get a fire going, didn't fancy a cold dinner/bed.

Advice here was split the wood, it should burn better!

Give it another go as soon as you can, experience makes you wise. Or something...



Need to contact Admin...
Jun 9, 2008
That was a bit of bad luck. Take a few positives from it though - at least you got out and gave it a bash, and you will have learnt loads from it (not least to give some thought about where, exactly, you are pitching your camp!).
The trick to finding dry wood is to split the logs! Choose firewood (dead standing, obviosuly. Leave the stuff laying on the floor alone - it's had ages to absorb loads of moisture from the ground and will be damp throughout) that is at least 3"-4" thick. Then split it - the inside will still be dry. It's only the outer part of the wood that takes in water. Also, if it still has bark on it, strip the bark off - that's where the majority of the moisture lies.
Oh yeah, I know it's not very bushcrafty, but take a lighter with you for when the flint & steel or fire steel or whatever traditional method you are using to light a fire fails - better to 'cheat' (and it's not cheating really) and be warm, have something hot to eat and drink and be able to enjoy your time outside, than have to give up or have a miserable time.
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Full Member
Mar 1, 2009
northern ireland
morning Stinger, hope your dry now matey !!

at least you got out and gave it a go, i've not been out for ages and due to work etc i can't see me getting out this year at all.

where was your site mate ?




Nov 23, 2005
left coast, ireland
You have learned some valuable lessons and inured yourself a little to hardship, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger said Friedrich Neitzsche.
Don't worry, it gets much better. A few more tries and you will be an old hand.
Happy trails...torc.


New Member
Nov 20, 2008
what were you wearing on your feet ? - normally with leather walking boots you should have dry feet in anything under 3-4 inches of water. Maybe you put the tent in a dip also which might increase the water you get. - its easy to do though, the dry areas big enough for a tent are always the stoney, hard ones with roots and jaggy stuff to stick in your back. :)


Aug 11, 2010
North West
Hey Stinger!

Been in your situation many times.

I think the best thing you can do to improve your camping, is first of all to buy some decent water proof boots. I think this is the most important item you can own, more important than a knife (IMHO).

Secondly read this forum about how to light a fire in the wet. I like to to camping with a clear plan of 2 bushcraft skills I would like to try while there. Make your two, two different fire lighting methods with wet wood.

thirdly get a tarp for shelter. I didnt have money so just used a ground sheet (bit one, can be attached to your bag rolled up).

with these 3 things, your camping will improve 5 fold! All you need is shelter, dry feet and a fire and you will have a great time! If you need any tips just PM me.


Jul 21, 2010
You have learned some valuable lessons and inured yourself a little to hardship, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger said Friedrich Neitzsche.
Don't worry, it gets much better. A few more tries and you will be an old hand.
Happy trails...torc.

Indeed, one of the most valuable skills is knowing when to call it a day.
cheers for all the replies, i actually made a school boy error and forgot my boots, lol seen the weather turn slightly good and went for it. but next time it will be alot more planned out. It was good craic and im looking forward to the next one. At least i know alot of things NOT to do now lol.


Dec 6, 2009
North West Lancashire
Always remember,

If you're not making mistakes, then you're not learning, just going over the same old stuff.

Many people these days live to the age of 80. Many don't make the most of it.

Instead of having 80 years experience, they have 1 years experience 80 times


Sep 25, 2008
Gatwick, UK
So many failed fires in my life. Decided to get some practice in, so went out to a wood, collected some fuel and local tinder type stuff. Took it home and "deposited" it in the garden. Then over a few nights, tried to get a fire started with it. Good practice, but without the "need" pressure of the woods. Mind you, being in the woods does focus ones mind.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Feb 22, 2006
Hey, good for you for giving it a go. Dont worry too much eveyone goes wrong once in a while, I've been on a couple of courses and still end up in some disasterous situations from time to time (cue ending up waist deep in a bog with 20kg of kit on my back :().
''You aint training unless its raining'' :D


Aug 30, 2006
Nr Chester
Nothing more miserable than cold and wet in a tent. I am sure your firelighting will get better with practice but until then make sure you have some tinder with you. Strips of old bycicle inner tube are always a sure bet as is vaslaline soeaked cotton wool.

A tarp is much better than a tent for sheltering from the rain especially in the day/evening. Its not fun being stuck in a small tend with nothing to look at besides your feet or the walls of the tent. A tarp would have given you lots more time to play with your fire whilst still being dry.

Dont give up yet autumn and winter camping are my favourite months ;)


Life member
Jan 14, 2007
Hey stinger, that was not a failure, that was an experience, and you learned a lot of things! In 10 years this will be a story you can still share and appreciate.

Once we camped on the beach and were wondering why it got so wet during the night. Turns out be were camping BELOW the high tide line (of the open pacific coast I should add...). Now that was stupid. It was a few frantic moments in the middle of the night, it was raining, tide in the tent, all wet... Damn in retrospect that was fun! I also learned a lot that night :)

So keep it up & thanks for sharing the experience.


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