Last Updated on 30/06/2022
What are the Main Disadvantages of Camping Holidays?
In this list of the 28 disadvantages of camping holidays, we explain some of the potential downsides of going on a camping holiday on your own, with your friends, family, partner, or a bunch of strangers. If you really love camping and being outdoors then most of these will not phase you but if you are looking for reasons not to go camping then you won’t find a more thorough list than this.
If you are looking for the advantages of camping holidays, check out this article.
While it is easy to look past not having a toilet and a hot shower if you love going camping, it can be stressful and cause anxiety for someone who has never been camping or does not fully enjoy it. The disadvantages of a camping holiday mostly center around a lack of facilities and a reduced level of comfort. These are things that you become accustomed to after living in a house and often take for granted.
Take these drawbacks of camping with a grain of salt and understand that a little bit of discomfort never hurt anyone and not being able to spend hours on your phone is actually a good thing about camping. Keep reading to the end and let us know which one you can relate to the most or if we missed something that drives you mad when on a camping holiday.
Lack of Toilet Facilities
Not having a toilet facility in the next room or down the hall is inconvenient but if you are on a campsite then it is usually only a short walk to the toilet block. If you are camping in the wild then your only option is to go to the toilet behind a tree or just out of sight. For number twos, you also need to dig a hole and bury everything which can be annoying and in some cases go wrong!
Another issue with going to the toilet when camping is that if you do have access to a toilet, it is often shared with hundreds of other people and is typically not cleaned too often. The toilet paper is often cheap and it is not uncommon for locks to be broken and toilet seats hanging off. If the toilets are outside then you are also exposed to cold temperatures at night as well as bugs which are attracted by the lights.
Bugs and Biting Insects
Bugs and biting insects can turn an otherwise amazing camping tip into a battle you just can’t win. At certain times of the year, the bugs can be worse than others and if you are near any body of water then you can be sure there will be some mosquitos. If you are prone to be bitten then this might be enough of a disadvantage of camping holidays to put you off going again.
You can try using bug spray, head nets, and lighting citronella candles but in some places, there is just no stopping them. Another theory is that taking vitamin D supplements will deter biting insects from your blood but who knows if that is true? Even if you are blathered in bug spray which stops them from biting you, they will still swarm around your face and torment you until the temperatures drop later at night.
Not getting a good night’s sleep while camping is enough to put anyone in a bad mood and make the next day just that bit tougher. If you are a light sleeper or can never seem to get comfortable on an air mattress then camping can be tough. Some ways to improve your sleep are to:
- Invest in a deep sleeping pad so that you can sleep on your side
- Invest in a camping pillow
- Take some ear plugs to block out noises that might disturb you
- Drink some chamomile tea before bed
- Slow down your breathing
Staying clean when camping can be a bit of a challenge if you don’t have access to a water supply nearby. Not only is there a lack of hygienic facilities but you are often in contact with the ground and getting dirty hands is a given. You can use hand sanitizer and baby wipes as a backup but nothing beats soap and water.
When you go on a camping holiday one of the downsides is that you are limited to the items you bring with you. So if something breaks and you need a drill for example then you will most likely have to make do with some duct tape. The times when this can become annoying are when you are cooking, looking for clean clothes, or if somebody gets injured.
If you are on a camping holiday at a campsite then having to deal with noisy campers can be a real hassle. While you might be camping to get some peace and quiet another group might be on a stag do or celebrating with friends. When alcohol is involved things can get loud and out of hand as well as run on into the wee hours of the morning.
The easy way to minimize noise from neighbors is to wear earplugs but you can also park your car between you and them as a sound block or simply move your tent.
I remember we once went camping at a stunning location on a mountain top, set the tent up, and dug into our picnic – perfect. Five minutes later we heard the music start to get louder and louder until a group of 10 – 12 young guys came over the hill and set up less than 100 feet away. They had a huge Bluetooth speaker that filled the valleys with techno beats and heard them say they didn’t care we were there (in a less friendly way). You can’t pick your neighbors but you can pack up and move on, which is what we did.
While noisy neighbors on a camping holdiay are annoying because it can feel inconsiderate, neighbors who snore are more easily forgiven but no less annoying. Some people snore like a fog horn and it can be seriously disturbing as you lay there in your sleeping bag unable to get to sleep. Earplugs often block out snoring completely or your other option is to move your tent.
One piece of advice I can give is to just deal with it. Resist the urge to wake them up in the night, unless you know them, as you will only get worked up and make it harder to get to sleep when you get back into bed. I think it’s okay to say something the next day in a calm and friendly way and they will often then give you permission to wake them up if it happens again.
Camping holidays can be hard on your back in more ways than one. Firstly, no sleeping mat, air mattress, or camping cot is as comfy as your bed at home. This can lead to you sleeping in some pretty uncomfortable positions and it is not uncommon to wake up with a bad back because of how you slept or the uneven ground you slept on.
Another way you can get a bad back when camping is with all the physical activities you take part in like gathering and chopping firewood.
Cricked necks usually happen when you sleep with your neck in the wrong position and are unrelated to lumpy ground. There is nothing that directly links cricked necks to camping but they do seem to happen to me a lot. Using a hoodie as a pillow might cause you to curl your neck which is why we recommend using an inflatable pillow if you can.
When you are camping in a tent you don’t have access to plug sockets and light switches so you have to make do with power banks and batteries. Even though not having electricity is one of the major disadvantages of a camping holiday, it can be kind of nice to use candlelight and campfires in the evening. If you really need electricity that badly then you can use a generator, solar charger, or portable power station.
No Water on Tap
As we mentioned above, not having a sink and tap to wash your hands and refill your water bottle can make life hard on a camping holiday. If you are staying at a campsite though you should have access to a tap at the very least but most likely a toilet block and utility room. If you can find fresh water in the wild then you can sterilize it by boiling it over a campfire, using a water filter, or some purification tablets.
Most people choose to go on camping holidays in summer when the weather is nice and the nights don’t get too cold. If you are camping in cold weather however then not having central heating to keep you warm means you really need to wrap up warm. You can get tents with stove jacks and even portable heating units but if you are camping in winter then you probably like being out in the cold.
No Air Conditioning
On the opposite scale of temperatures, a disadvantage of camping holidays in summer is that if the heat gets too hot there isn’t much you can do to cool down other than sit in the shade and fan yourself or find a water hole to bath in. Again, you can get AC units for tents but for most people that is not really worth spending hundreds of dollars on.
The world is now connected if you can get wifi. One of the main reasons young adults seem to not want to go on camping holidays with their family is the lack of wifi. Unless you have mobile data to use then you will have to learn to live without checking Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter every hour. Sometimes the only opportunity you have to use wifi on a camping holiday is when you are at a restaurant.
Not having an oven to hand limits you greatly on what you can cook. You can’t make pizza, cook ready meals, or bake things very easily without an oven and so you are often forced to fry things or grill them over an open fire. Portable BBQs are a good alternative or if you have a cast iron dutch oven you will be able to roast some larger joints of meat or whole chickens etc…
Just like not having wifi can be a massive issue for some people, so can not having a phone signal. Some people need wifi to check email, others need a phone signal need to speak to their friends and loved ones. Not being able to reach out to someone or be contacted can be a big problem for people with sick relatives or semi dependants.
Not having a refrigerator is a huge disadvantage to camping holidays vs other types of holidays. It makes storing dairy products almost impossible and means you can only have fresh food for the first few days before you are onto the rehydrated and tinned meals. If you can resupply every day without a problem then not having a fridge isn’t so bad. Besides, you can always use a cooler box and buy some ice if you want to cool down some beers or keep some meet good until evening time.
Getting Smoke in Your Eyes
If you have a campfire while on holiday in your tent then you should wear clothes that can be easily washed because you will come home smelling like a bonfire. Fires naturally attract people to sit around them and so seating can be limited but, sometimes you just can’t stop the smoke from blowing in your eyes. Wind direction can change all the time and sometimes it seems as if the fire is doing it on purpose.
If you or one of your party injures themselves during a camping holiday then you don’t always have an easy way out of it. First aid kits are a must for any camping trip but even they are limited to what fits inside the pouch or box and your knowledge of what to do. The nearest hospital might be several miles away if not hundreds of miles.
Limited Options When Raining
One big disadvantage of camping holidays is that when it rains there isn’t much to do other than sit in your tent and wait for it to pass. Gazebos and camping tarps are a great bit of kit to have when it rains because it allows you to get out of your tent without getting wet. If you are near a town you can go and hang out in a pub or cafe, go to the gym, go to the cinema or any other indoor entertainment in the local area.
At the Mercy of The Wind
Tents are not the most solid of constructions (you wouldn’t want to hang on one with your body weight) and especially bigger tents are vulnerable to wind damage. If the wind picks up and gets above 30 – 40 mph then your tent will be at risk of being damaged. If this happens at night and the tent collapses or rips open then you are forced to try and fix it in the worst conditions and then good luck getting back to sleep.
Hard to Dry Wet Clothing
Camping holidays often go hand in hand with walking holidays and as mentioned above, you can’t control the weather. If you get your clothes wet during the day then drying them in a tent is next to impossible (you are better off hanging them up outside). The only effective way I have found to dry wet clothing inside a tent is to put it on so that your body heat dries it out – which is very unpleasant.
Little Security for Valuables
If you want to leave any valuables in your tent you have to be aware that even a padlock on the zip is no match for a Stanley knife cutting through the tent fabric. Leaving things like cameras, car keys, laptops, etc inside a tent unattended is never recommended, locking it inside your car and keeping your keys with you is the safest option.
Wild animals can be a serious threat in many locations around the world. In America, we have bears, wolves, moose, snakes, boars, and many other wild animals that can potentially kill you or ransack your campsite looking for food. Even mice can be an unwelcome guest that won’t kill you but will freak you out if you wake up with one on your face.
Exposed to High Temperatures
With most camping holidays taking place in summer, good weather is hoped for until it starts to get too hot. Even though a tent creates shade inside and blocks UV rays it is still hotter than just sitting in the shade hoping for an occasional breeze. Without any kind of air conditioner or fan, you will need to seek shade during the hottest part of the day, drink plenty of water, and hope it’s not too humid when night comes around.
Packing Everything Away
Putting a tent up is sometimes a challenge but it is nowhere as near as annoying as packing it away, especially if it is wet. Tent bags are notoriously two sizes too small and you have to roll them up perfectly just to close the zip. As well as the tent you need to pack away your sleeping bag and pad into similarly small storage bags and make sure you leave no trace on the ground or in the area where you have been there. LEAVE NO TRACE.
Unless you are on a campsite where everyone gets involved in activities or there is a nightly show or get-together then camping holidays aren’t the best way to meet new friends. They can be if you meet the right people but in general, people go camping to get away from others. If you are out camping in the wild then there is very little chance of seeing anyone else at all and so good luck socializing there.
Lack of Entertainment
Camping holidays are often a way to escape the day-to-day and get away from so much screen time. This can be fun for a while but once you’ve read all your books, completed the jigsaw, and played all the board games for numerous hours then keeping everyone entertained takes some creativity.
The battery on your iPad will only last so long and goodness forbid that your phone runs out of battery. Being able to appreciate the little things like star gazing or tending to a campfire on an evening is the best way to pass time. During the day, just explore the local area and see what it has to offer, you might be surprised.
We hope this list of disadvantages of camping holidays has given you some food for thought and that we haven’t put you off going camping. Despite all the reasons we gave here, we still believe camping holidays are the best holidays.