Contributed by on

Ahhh… the great outdoors. There is no better way to get in touch with nature than a good camping trip. This summer I went camping with some friends for the first time in a very long while. My lack of camping experience didn’t hold me back from having a blast, but it did, however, leave me dirty, achy, and itchy. In hindsight, there were a few things I should have prepared for ahead of time.

Dress appropriately.
SandalsI thoughtlessly went into the wild wearing WHITE shorts and my favorite pair of Sam Edelman brahma-hair, strappy gladiator sandals. FAIL. Apparently there is this stuff in nature called dirt… and when it gets wet, it turns into mud.

Pack Toilet Paper.
Toilet PaperToilet paper is so crucial. OF COURSE I didn’t think of it until I was in the middle of the wilderness with a full bladder. If you think there is nothing worse than wiping with leaves… you’re a little bit wrong on the specifics. Correction: there is nothing worse than wiping with the wrong leaves, i.e. poison sumac. FAIL.

Bring a flashlight and matches.
FlashlightDo you know what it’s like being in the woods with ZERO light once the sun goes down? Thank god for the flashlight app on my iPhone. But if you’re actually smart, you should bring real flashlights and matches to build a fire. Don’t run your phone battery, because it will die, and you may need it for emergency Instagrams.

Bring Insect Repellant.

Bug SprayThis is a mistake that I should NEVER have made. I know that I get eaten alive by mosquitos. I can step outside, mid-day in Brooklyn and get five bug bites. After this camping trip, my body morphed into one gigantic swollen mass of mosquito-bites. FAIL.

Leave your laptop at home.
LaptopThis is the one thing I did right! Keep all your electronics and gadgets at home except for your phone, which you may need for emergencies, maps, geocaching, or Facebook status updates.

What are your past camping fails? Any advice for camper-noobs like me? Tell us in the comments below!