Nate and I are coming up on our 5th-and final-year in a row of tent camping. We’ve had some great times in the tent of ours and while there are definitely some advantages to using a tent when camping, we’re ready to retire the ole tent and upgrade to a pull behind camper later this year. If you’re struggling to decide what kind of campers you are, allow me to break down for you some cons to tent camping!
The Noise: Light sleeper? Then tent camping probably isn’t for you. In a tent, you’ll hear everything from twigs snapping, to fire cracking, to loud toddlers early in the morning. Sure, there are quiet time rules at every campground, but that doesn’t mean people abide by them.
Discomfort While Sleeping: I’ve tried everything including cots, sleeping bags, mattress pads, and extra blankets, but I still wake up with aching hips every single time we go camping while Nate always complains of an aching back. It definitely doesn’t provide a comfortable sleep.
Tent Sites are Limited: Most campgrounds have limited campsites, catering more to RV sites. Other campgrounds may offer tent sites, but primitive only-which blows.
Bad Weather: Run into some rain? Now you have to hole up in your tent to wait it out and pray to the camping gods that it doesn’t get flooded. Have fun with that.
That Clean Feeling: Even after your shower after a day of hiking in the woods, you have to return to the outdoors. In my experience it’s practically impossible to remain clean while tent camping because you’re outside the entire time, not to mention all the dirt and debris you track into your tent.
The Wildlife: Yeaaaa, you’re not exactly safe in a tent from bears and other wildlife. This thought runs across my mind every single time we go camping as I am terrified of bears! I’ve seen one too many horror films, I think.
Cleaning and Organizing: It can be difficult to keep your campsite clean and organized when tent camping. You don’t have access to a regular kitchen where you have a trashcan, drawers, and cabinets at the ready.
Dolling Up: Planning on a night out on the town during your trip? It’s pretty hard to doll yourself up in a tent. There’s the washrooms, but those are sometimes dirty and usually wet.
Pets: While it’s not impossible to tent camp with your pets, I wouldn’t recommend it. Cats can rip up the tent with their claws, and either escape or let mosquitos and rain in. Dogs would probably keep you up all night with all the sounds and scents happening just outside your campsite.
Preparing Meals: Cooking while camping is totally do-able, except that you have to get creative sometimes if you want something besides hot dogs cooked on a stick. You’re also definitely limited to what you can make over the fire.
Privacy: You have none. You’re out in the open with neighbors all around you. Sure, you can go into your tent to be out of sight, but you can still hear everyone, and they can still hear you.
Nighttime Temps: If it’s a hot, steamy night- or a chilly one, you’ll have more trouble sleeping. Try to go when the nighttime weather is just right, or you’ll have the worst time trying to falling asleep.
This post is not meant to dissuade you from camping or even at least trying tent camping out for yourself! These are my personal experiences, and most of these difficulties didn’t start showing themselves until several years of tent camping has passed. I still think tent camping can be right for some folks out there. Check out my other post What to Know Before Your First Camping Trip!