Worst of the Worst – Top Camping Fails

Words:: Bradford McArthur

How often do you get out camping, and when you do what kind of friends do you bring?   Over the years we’ve seen a lot of variation in what you might call the Scale of Camping Prowess or SCP, and there’s a large spectrum.  The ones at the top certainly have many tricks up their sleeve and everything just seems to flow for them.  These are the folks you want on your trip as they’ll always remember the small things and usually pull more than their own weight.  This is great because it leaves you more time to kick back, crack a beer and enjoy your time outside.

The ones at the bottom of the SCP…  Well the entertainment factor is usually a lot higher, so you’ll want them along too.  Just don’t pitch your tent too close.

Our recommendation when camping is to always bring at least one person with a high SCP and one person with a low score, lower the better.  It’s a time tested method so you don’t ever have to work too hard, but makes sure the entertainment factor is sky high.

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Let’s review some of the contenders for Worse Camper to see who does and doesn’t make the cut on your next camping trip.


The Candybar Hoarder

We’ve all been on a trip with them.  You make the rounds to collect everyone’s food and other bear attractants.  However they always seem to have a CLIF Bar or other delicious midnight snack they accidentally forgot about.  Hoarding a snack usually works out in their favor, until it doesn’t.  This scores a 3 on the SCP scale.  Bring them at your own risk.


Bear near camping kids
Bear in tent failure


Creature Comfort Lover

Leaving some of the finer things in life behind is part of what the whole camping experience is about.  We respect their ambition though.  Whether it’s hiking in a 26 pack 12km and needing help to finish the trail, or taking an AC unit tenting.  Whatever these folks are psyched on it usually requires too much effort compared to the reward.  Though if they succeed, they will be sharing.  This is why the Comfort Lover receive a 2 SCP and are highly recommended to join in on your next outing.


AC sticking out of tent

air bed in tent


The Gadget Guy

Well known in all camping circles, the Gadget Guy can be found at most Walmart camping sections buying a waterproof match holder that doubles as a compass and whistle.  Or perhaps flipping through the most recent Skymall Magazine looking for the newest lightweight solar powered electric toothbrush/floss kit.  They sure can get on your nerves telling you about the features of this and that but if you’re ever caught trying to light the fire and “darn it where’d I put that lighter..”  Gadget Guy is suddenly getting it roaring with his deluxe fire starter butane torch kit.  They seem to lend a hand so 3.5 SCP, and we’d recommend giving this person a chance.


Techy camper

toilet on a hitch
Or just dig a hole so you’re not driving around with a bag full of poop in your truck…


The Noisy Neighbor

If you’ve ever camped at a popular spot on a long weekend or a National Park in the summer you’re already well acquainted with this special breed.  Usually made up of young families that can’t afford a hotel room or a bunch of city folks cranking tunes till 3am, whoever it is the noise is real.  If you’re waking up early for a dawn patrol mission it can get tough.  If you’re also planning on having a late night of partying this group can really help boost your good times.  With a SCP at a low 1 and an unknown of how well they will mesh with you’re group we recommend grabbing a site far away.


Crying kid camp fail
Noisy neighbor camp fail

mud all over tents


Lookout for Yourself-er

You know them, you’ve seen them, maybe you are one but can’t admit it.  The Lookout for Yourself-er pops up when you least expect it.  You might have even invited them camping without knowing it.  The humor factor is usually lower, they definitely are not going to pull their weight.  Scoring a 2 on the SCP, we recommend leaving them at home.


Bike in tent fail


The Careless Pitcher

We’ve all been here in some capacity, however there is a difference between a small mistake and a chronic problem.  The Careless Pitcher seems to be focused on other things than a good nights sleep.  Usually arriving in the dark or in a state of inebriation, “Set it and forget it” is the phrase of the day.  This can pay off with buying the camper extra time for any sorts of activities or it can bite back with a vengeance.  SCP is low at 1 and their ignorance usually doesn’t effect you so we highly encourage bringing this person along.


wet camping fail
crooked tent fail

wet camping fail


The Party Animal

The good old Party Animal.  We all enjoy a good time, however this person is on a different wavelength.  Completely disconnected with the groups game plan they are going full bore no matter what.  Party night – they are the life, evening chill hangout – they are soon blackout, family Thanksgiving – drunk on Eggnog before the Turkey is carved.  Their SCP is a strong 1 and since they can’t seem to judge when to turn it on or off you’re going to have to use discretion whether to bring them or not.