Camping disasters

Home Forum Chat Forum Camping disasters

Viewing 38 posts - 1 through 38 (of 38 total)
  • Camping disasters
  • Premier Icon Simon

    Came back to the campsite from a wet and windy day at Scarborough to find our tent flattened 🙁


    Camped with crankygirl and crankbrat with us in a double sleeping bag and him in a kids . She was cold first night so we bought her a single bag to go in the double . The second night I got no warmth off her as it was all insulated into her bag and every time she moved to attend to the little boy the little warmth I’d built up in the bag was released. The next day was continuous rain and a unanimous vote for home.

    As a kid camped on the cliffs near Whitby when a storm came in one of the metal poles for the tent was bent to the shape of the scoutleaders shoulder where he had braced it .


    Pitched tents in dark at CIC hut on Ben Nevis. We got ours up but mates really struggled. After about an hour with the tent blowing flat onto our faces in gusts then popping up again in lulls my mates gave up trying to pitch theirs and asked the guys in the hut if we could sleep in the porch.

    I ferried our kit into the hut whilst my mate stayed in the tent to keep it on the ground. At one point the wind got underneath the groundsheet and lifted all 12 stones of him into the air.

    The next morning we saw the wind had bent the blades on the hut wind turbine. We didn’t climb that day.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    My old North Face Westwind had been used mostly in dry campsites in America for a while, where they tend to have gravelly dirt pitches instead of grass. So then it rained, and we were getting mysteriously wet. The groundsheet was full of thousands of tiny holes.


    A tent flattened with me inside it at 2am in the Arenigs.

    Just for good measure it was chucking it down. The next shop I went to sold expensive tents, and I got one.


    The first time I did the deed with a lass was in a tent. We arrived late and had to pitch on sloping ground. We had to keep stopping and move (back) to the top of the tent and then re-commence. Must have done something right coz she married me!

    Premier Icon molgrips

    Following on from the burning tent thread, what’s your worst?

    Big front window literally fell off my caravan last time we were out.


    Not a front window but lost the skylight off my old caravan somewhere along the M4 on way to Pembrokeshire. Stopped at B&Q(?) at Carmarthen to buy a plastic storage box lid which was duly cable tied in place for the rest of the holiday. Although I did remove it for the drive back along the M4, thankfully it wasn’t raining.

    On an weekend in the peak district I took someone up on the offer of sleeping in their tents spare bedroom which was already up, to save putting up my tent in the rain and wind after coming out of the pub in the early hours. What a mistake, the cheap summer family camping tent badly pitched didn’t stand a chance, I should have known better. Spent most of the night awake with the tent being blown flat on me then popping up in a brief lull before smacking back down on me. It really wasn’t worth saving the 5 mins it would have taken to pitch my Hogan.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    We lost the skylight off our old caravan, no idea where. We only noticed many weeks later when crossing a footbridge near where it was parked. It’d been open for ages throughout almost daily summer storms 😯


    I drove 5 hours to Germany, set up, had a schnitzel and a beer, got food poisoning, threw up, spent a horrible night awake and was waiting for the entrance barrier to be opened at 7 in the morning.

    Drove home with plastic bags on the seat in case I shat myself whilst driving.


    Not sure if festivals count as ‘camping’ but the year at glastonbury when my two mates insisted that they just ‘wouldn’t sleep’ for the full 4 days and thus didn’t take a tent was pretty bad…inevitably they gave in after 2 days and nights or something, resulting in 4 fully grown men sleeping in my tiny 2-man tent for the rest of the weekend.

    To be fair to my mates when they did sleep they tried to just sleep outside the tent on the floor but clearly when it rains, even in June this is not really possible.

    Admirable idea though.

    Me and the missus were camped in a site near venice in 2002. When we were out on the piss a storm passed through which pretty much flattened the place and flooded it. There were thousands of trees down, caravans and buildings flattened. Just about the only thing left standing was our wee Mountain Hardwear John Muir tent. Not a single mark on the tent. As we were packing away a few days later I placed the rolled up flysheet on the roof of the car so that I could pick up the stuff sack to put it in. As I picked up the tent again, I managed to hank it on a bit of the roof gutter on the car and put a hole in it. Needless to say I was not best pleased.


    Drove all the way to Cornwall from Milton Keynes with the wife and kids to find I’d left the tent poles at home…. £250 for a new tent at 6pm. What a plank.

    Not us, but we were in our old VW T2 next to the loch at Sligachan campsite on Skye.
    Howling winds and driving rain saw a bus drop off 2 young lads.
    Rather than come to the leeward side of the van, they went into the most exposed part of the sire and started to unpack.
    One of them dropped their small tent out of the bag and before we could shout “NO!” he’d flapped it open holding the inzipped doors.
    Off he went flat on his face in the mud.
    Eventually they had the tent up but were soaked so MrsCat passed them 2 mugs of hot chocolate out of the sliding window.
    Camper vans, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm snug n warm. 😀


    Don’t know what I was thinking borrowing my sisters cheap Argos tent to camp half way up Great Gable. After one fibre pole exploded during the night in high winds and driving rain, we escaped to lower ground. Found some shelter, patched-up the pole and repitched in the only cover, to be woken up in the morning to the sound of rushing water all around us:


    Here’s mine (well my mates). We pitched up to tackle the Yorkshire 3 peaks in the campsite in Horton-In-Ribblesdale on the Friday to walk on the Saturday. I pitched up my Colman Avior x2 and my mate his pop up argos jobbie. We had a few beverages in the local and when we went back to our tents at 11pm it was already pretty wet (and snowing in May)! During the night the driving rain and wind flexing my tent kept me up most of the night. When i eventually rose at 5am to cook us both porridge i cooked it and went to wake my mate up. After no response i eventually opened his tent to find it empty and like a swimming pool inside! He had a worse night than i and ended up sleeping in the car.

    Southern tip of Arran in a full on southerly gale. The tent was as well pitched as it can be, and it is a proper mountain tent. The wind was unreal. The fetch was straight from Brazil. Our friends in a VW camper had to turn it into the wind to stop it being blown over. I ended up moving my van to provide some shelter for the tent, but the noise and the surf was unreal. Didn’t sleep one wink. It was like being inside a jet engine. My pal (in another tent) ate 12 packets of Monster Munch to pass the time.

    I have camped in some pretty wild places, but the wind that night was unrelenting.

    Premier Icon muddydwarf

    Doing a medieval show at Whitby Abbey a few yrs ago, got the warning of a big storm coming in of the North Sea that night and were given the option of packing up and going home – of course no one did.

    The winds hit 70mph that night, we were all in heavy canvas tents – i.e. sailcloth – with thick wooden poles. The cooktent went first, sound of smashing crockery above the howl of the wind followed by an ominous ripping noise. Lots of screams as tents got smashed flat by the wind, i spent the night braced against the central pole watching it bend like mad & hoping it wouldn’t explode whilst three girls cowered under the blankets.
    Morning came, every tent including mine was either damaged or flat, 40+ tents. Came to several grands worth of repairs, my pole was riven through, cost me £170 for a new one.

    The Abbey custodians were pretty upset when we all packed up in the first light as the show was scheduled to last for another two days!


    I was night fishing on the night of 16th October 1987(the great storm).The river rose so quickly we have to move camp twice. I was 15 so was my mate, well before mobiles were invented and we were in the middle of nowhere.

    Once we got the tent well away from the river we spent the night holding onto the tent poles praying we didnt get blown away. to pass the time we played a word association game for circa 7 hours. Still remember the first word and last (“Constantinople” was the start and we finished with “Samantha whitikers hairy bottom” – a girl in our class.

    When we eventually looked out the tent in the morning could not believe the damage to the surrounding trees. The tent survived

    Was so glad to see my mates dad when he came in the morning to see if we were ok.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider

    My wife and I were on our way back from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Montreal, Quebec, and had not seen a newspaper for days, as we were taking a long detour via Cape Breton.

    We pulled in one night to pick a lovely camping spot right beside the sea, and noticed a slightly stronger-than-usual breeze. We got set up, ate, and climbed into our sleeping bags, settling in for a nice sleep.

    I don’t know how many hours later it was, but we were awakened by our tent flapping above us in the screaming wind like a flag, the poles having been ripped out of the ground, the only thing keeping it down being our bodies. I unzipped and looked out, but couldn’t see anything, so climbed back into what was left of our tent.

    Lying there until morning, at which point the wind had died down, we crawled out to see a devasted scene devoid of other human beings, broken trees, camping gear remnants.

    Had we known Hurricaine Bertha was coming, we would have stayed in a hotel.

    Premier Icon kayak23

    Kayaking in Uganda in 2005, stayed on a Nile island for a few nights. Had a tiny Argos tent. One night I awoke to the sound of repeated taps on the tent(like chubby rain) and a weird smell. I tried to ignore it and eventually got back to sleep despite the noise.
    When I woke and went outside, I was walking in a carpet of these minging large fly-type insects. They had rained down in the night and blanketed most of the island with their carcasses. Apparently it’s an occasional phenomenon. Rank….

    Another kayaking trip, this time camping on a river beach in India. I’d put my little bivi-tent on a nice flat part of the sand and settled in for the night. I awoke in the night to sounds of running water very near me. I thought about it for a while but then got up to see the river had risen hugely (hydro power release) and was virtually lapping at my tent from what I could see in the darkness. Had to drag my tent up the beach.
    The fact we were camped right above a gnarly rapid that we’d be doing in the morning didn’t aid my sleep..
    Still, could have been worse. My friend who had a regular bivibag, started to kit-up in the morning and there was a scorpion in his spraydeck! 😯


    woke up in a pond inside my tent floating on my air bed with everything i owned soaked except me and the sleeping bag. I could not even get out without paddling.

    Premier Icon NZCol

    Somewhere in Scotland biking in 99 pitched tent on windswept flat area, went to pub, weather packed in and left to find tent, thankfully, wrapped around the only tree for miles.
    Port Macquarie in Oz, pitched tent, went to RSL for dinner whereupon there was a biblical rainstorm. Sat it out with a litre of cask red wine and got back to whole campsite under a foot of water except for one lone island with my tent on it !


    Last year camping in france – came back from the bar wanting to pump air bed up – car battery dead, half assed attempt to bump it and gave up, blew airbed up by foot. 2 hours later awoke to find Id forgotten to put the handbrake back on and the car had rolled back pinning me against my mates transporter, the door under the car. Only thing stopping it was the air bed pushing against the bumper. Mild panic set in when I couldnt get out as couldnt reach the zips, tent was not 3 feet long. Managed to eventually get out when a couple of guys came back from the pub and pushed the car forward.

    B.A.Nana – lesson learned and that’s not the first time I’ve seen those photos here – hope they’re not new 😉

    I have so many camping disaster tales, it’s difficult to know where to start. The most dramatic involved me and a few mates, aged 14, cycling round the Lake District. The campsite was at the bottom of the valley with a long, straight run in. A low stone dyke, covered in ferns disguised the small wall. We arrived in style, all over a walker’s tent.


    me and my dad canoing on the river wye– it had rained a lot the previous day, we pitched on the riverbank, only to wake at about 2am–now seemingly in the middle of a raging river–got out –just–that was so nearly a tragedy–and i woudn’t be writing bout it….


    Back when we first got together, me and my wife went camping at Nant Peris, with the aim of doing a few walks. Stayed in what was essentially just a field, opposite the pub. Got up and packed early, drove four hours there, pitched the tent, had an early lunch. We then set off up Snowdon, noticing that the summit was poking into the clouds. We got to the top, visibility was <20m, took photos at the trig and set off back down, expecting to get out from under the cloud pretty quickly.

    Except the cloud was dropping as fast or faster than we were, it was right down to ground level at Nant Peris, and starting to drizzle. The drizzle turned to rain. The wind got up. And then got stronger. We tightened all the guy ropes, even tied on the ones that we’d never quite got round to fitting when the tent was new, and moved the car (Audi A3, so not particularly big) to act as a wind-break.

    At this point the wind was getting ridiculous, and there was a group of cubs on the other side of the field who were obviously starting to struggle. Their tents were old-school flat-sided canvas things. Their mess tent was huge, and was acting like a sail, with tables and cooking gear getting knocked about when the wind ripped the tent and the sides stated flapping about into the tent. So I left my girlfriend standing in our tent, propping up the poles from the inside to stop it collapsing in the stronger gusts, and went to help the cub scout leaders as best I could.

    About an hour later, the rain still lashing down sideways, I got back to our tent soaked to the bone. We huddled in the tent for a bit, watched some small tents get ripped from the ground and blown away, decided ours wasn’t going anywhere and went to the pub.

    We had some massive gammon steaks and a drop of ale, then stayed in the pub until we decided to brave it back to the tent for the night. We legged it across the boggy field, dried off and went to bed. A couple of hours later it was still belting down and the wind was even stronger, our tent was being flattened over us (pretty much to the ground) during strong gusts, and popping back up inbetween, which meant we couldn’t get to sleep, and by now the tent had developed leaks where the seams had stretched under the strain, so we were getting wet.

    So at 1am we moved the car facing into the wind, and backed up to the tent. We opened the boot and just folded the tent into it straight from the ground, full of gear, and drove 4 hours home.

    All in all we were only away from home about 20 hours!

    In 1976 my father insisted on a caravaning/camping trip driving from Brisbane to Cairns for our summer holiday. Two adults. Four boys under 12. 35 degrees C much of the way and no air con. After a week of unrelenting driving and camping on the roadside, we made it to Cairns where my brothers all got virulent food poisoning and spent the night vomiting in the caravan sink. We turned around the next day and headed home. I can still remember my mother’s anguish when we all refused to help clean out the sink.

    Premier Icon pictonroad

    Tents. *shudders

    Last week the thermostat for the heater in my camper van broke so it got too hot in the night. It was murder I tell thee.


    My worst was camping on the Bongong High Plains (Aus) with a group of year 9 outdoor ed students (as a teacher). Camping in the snow in driving rain and sleet. I got food poisoning and spent most of the night running out of the tent to the nearest patch of trees. No toilets anywhere, just a shovel to dig a pit and the poo tube to collect the bog paper. Oh the joys. It was an experience.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    Our school had a job lot of those traditional tents – centre ridge pole, flat sides – that were used for all the DoE and Combined Cadet Force camping trips. They were awful, they’d been used all over the UK, packed away wet, slept in by skanky kids who stank after a night exercise or a long navigation walk. Quite often you’d unpack them and find too many poles or not enough poles and have to wander round to try and find the other tent package with your extra pole hiding in it. Unless the weather was atrocious I used to prefer it underneath my huge poncho/bivi sheet.

    We went out on night exercise once, got back at 1am to find some **** had left the door slightly open and a little torch still turned on, the tent was full of flies and mosquitos all attracted to the light.

    Due to their age, the tents weren’t especially waterproof either and those camping trips very quickly taught kids the correct procedure for pitching tents and ideal locations. You could always tell the newbies, they’d be the ones waking up in puddles of water where they’d touched the canvas sides during the night…


    Hmmm, I’ve had lots of camping “incidents”, but not so many disasters, which would presumably be something that ruins a trip, rather than add character to it 🙂

    My trips tend to have a lot of character and give me the freedom and motivation to practise my swearing.

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    where they’d touched the canvas sides during the night

    ah, my fathers refrain of my childhood camping holidays was ‘Don’t touch the canvas!’ 🙂

    We used to use platoon sized(?) ex-army canvas ridge tents like this;

    They ‘packed’ down to a volume only slightly smaller than they had when up, the poles were basically small trees with the branches cut off and weighed more than a small boy could lift.

    The temptation to draw smiley faces inside the canvas when it was wet was huge but inevitably led to leaks. A lesson in surface tension of water held in a cloth making it waterproof, it was 🙂

    The biggest problem, as it turned out, was that someone could just lift up the flap of canvas at the side and steal all the suitcases that a family of 6 had brought for a weeks camping in the New Forest.

    I was wearing charity shop clothes for months after that 🙁

    Premier Icon molgrips

    When we came back from Germany my wife was 9 months pregnant. Her parents (including very grumpy belligerent FiL) came to see us to ‘help’ us make the trip back. We had our stuff in our caravan, the plan was for us to sleep in the ‘van and them in the awning.

    First night, turned out that the awning poles I’d brought were for the wrong awning, too small, so I had to go to a local DIY shop and bodge it all up using alu tubing and jubilee clips. It worked, but he refused to sleep in it, miserable sod.

    The baby was born only a few days after that too…. close..!


    Since i was young my family had a terra nova quasar for any camping duties….. I don’t have any camping disaster stories 🙂

    (well apart from my mates tents self distructing in high winds and them being forced to sleep in a car on arran)

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer

    worst was probably the storm where poles snapped. had a replacement. that snapped.

    either that or the time the poles flipped inside out, and i had to get out at 4am to re do the guy lines in torrential rain and force 11.

    woke up in the morning to find a 12ft long branch outside the door.

    best was camping in the snow.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    Me and a mate did a Polaris in the Lakes. Got to the campsite at the end of the first day, realised we hadn’t got any poles or pegs. A nearby pair fortunately had accidentally packed a broken pole for their tent along with its replacement, so we managed to shorten that. The remaining poles and pegs we fashioned out of sticks, worked out ok.

    A later Polaris when I was solo, I was trying out a balloon bed. This is a mattress made up of long cells into which you insert those long balloons you make animals from. Weighs as much as a hankie but laughably unreliable, and I do mean laughably. As people were settling down for the night you could hear popping all over the campsite. I popped three out of six; just as quiet was descending I popped another and let out an involuntary ‘SON OF A BITCH!’ which got the whole campsite laughing, having been struggling with their own. I managed to have a reasonable night’s sleep (for a Polaris) on my front with the balloons under my core.


    LOL molgrips.

    Nothing to report other than some very windy nights that were pretty scary (weather and most often beer).

Viewing 38 posts - 1 through 38 (of 38 total)

The topic ‘Camping disasters’ is closed to new replies.