10 Annoying Outdoor Gear Mishaps We All Hate

We embrace the outdoors because it offers peace, quiet, and beauty. But it also serves up some massively irritating – and all-too-familiar – fusterclucks. Most of us have dealt with these in person. If you haven’t, just wait for it.

Sock Under Heel

Oh sure, you’ll try and ignore the sensation as you feel the sock begin to creep down your ankle. And once it’s tucked under your heel, you’ll lie to yourself that it’s no big deal. BUT THERE IS NO BIGGER DEAL – THIS IS HELL!

The Hike Stumble

Hours in, sun beating down, and only a couple miles left to reach campsite, a proper day hike will leave your legs shaky and starving to get horizontal. And nothing saps your – and their – will more than kicking a stubborn rock or tree root and stumbling forward a few extra awkward steps. You won’t fall, but your rhythm, focus, and joy are all suddenly gone.

Unpacked Hydration Bladder

Sleeping bag – check. Rain shell – check. Cookware – check. And just as you sling on the fully loaded backpack, you turn around and see your precious hydration bladder sitting there, unpacked. But it’s no big deal, just redo everything you just did all over again, this time with a little less space!

The Bike Fall

Bikepacking is undeniably awesome. And loading up your two-wheeled ride with panniers, frame bags, and handlebar rolls looks really cool! But it also adds a bunch of weight your bike isn’t used to, and the second you try to lean it against something – down it goes!

Photo by Morgan Angela Tilton

Watch Snag

Whether it keeps time, measures heart rate, or auto-replies emojis to incoming texts, a good watch makes for a trusty outback companion. But when you try to don your backpack, it snags. Every. Single. Time. And as a bonus annoyance, the snag can often turn on GPS watches, draining the battery if you don’t catch your mistake soon.

Sleeping Bag Zipper Snag

Late at night you feel a chill. You reach to zip up the sleeping bag and, nope. It’s stuck. Why is this still a problem?

Plenty of brands have tried to fix the old stuck sleeping bag zipper snafu (Backcountry Bed, anyone?), but this old annoyance still raises its ugly head more often than we’d care to admit.

Falling Sunglasses

Croakies solved this problem a long time ago, which only makes it that much more frustrating every time you hear your sunglasses crash to the ground because you looked up. So what if sunglasses straps make you look like a little league coach? It beats attempting the blind behind-the-back sunglasses catch that never works.

Rainfly in the Wind

You never really notice how much wind is around until you try to drape a rainfly on your tent. If you so much as exhale too hard, you’ll find yourself wrestling to keep the fly in line.

Stranded Tent Poles

You’ve cleaned up your campsite, packed away your sleeping bag, and stuffed the tent in its sack. And it fit oh so easily! The alarms should go off now. There’s a bag of tent poles sitting on the ground behind you. Time to re-stuff that tent bag.

Earphone Yank

A little music while you run can actually boost performance. And a little tug on your earphone cord can immediately rocket your heart rate into “Hulk Smash” territory.

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