We’ve all made mistakes in the great outdoors. It’s just part of the journey. Maybe it’s a trip over a rock, packing two left climbing shoes or hitting an icy patch on skis. Whatever it is, we’re big fans of looking back and laughing at our goofier trials and tribulations. That’s why we’ve collected the best of the best from REI employees and our Instagram fans. These are our favorite outdoor fails.
1. “First backpacking trip: ‘Hey, I brought a 3 lb. bag of slow cook rice for our dinners.’” —Jeff Magnuson, REI sales specialist for camp and climb
2. “Flying a Tensor power kite when it’s a bit too windy…” —Tom Blount, REI camp sales lead
3. “When you forget your tent poles but just picked up chairs off of Craigslist …” —Anders Nordblom, REI program manager for films
4. “A few weeks ago on my trip up Mount Whitney: I brought a small vial of superglue to use on hot spots/blisters and opened and used some right before my 2am final hike up to the summit. In my still-half-asleep thinking, I decided to re-cap [the superglue] and throw it in my hip belt pocket in case I needed it later on. What I forgot: With another 2,500 foot gain in elevation, things expand. Superglue included. It ended up leaking and now I’m still trying to figure out how to free a few things from the confines of the pocket.” —Kristen Evans, REI bike service technician
5. “Thought I could handle a black diamond. I couldn’t.” —Instagram’s @Ollie.flack
6. “‘Hiking in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Fell stepping over a log.” —Instagram’s @Jordancfield
7. “Near the beginning of three months of living out of our [car] in between a major move, we went backpacking in southern Utah with the pups for a few days. After that, we drove straight to Rifle. Since Rifle can be a bit crowded, we decided to be respectful of our neighbors and let the dogs sleep in [our car] … Unbeknownst to us, our border collie had drunk some stagnant canyon water despite the fact that we even filtered the dogs’ water while we were backpacking. We woke up to our Australian shepherd crammed up into the dashboard of the Honda Element. Upon opening the car, it was very evident why. The inside of the car was covered in everything that had been coming out of both ends of our border collie. Needless to say, they spent the rest of the three months sleeping outside of the car in a pup tent.” —Jessie Thompson Kyle, REI retail sales manager
8. “That time when you miss that key turn on your commute to adventure.” —Instagram’s @Hockersmith_concepts
9. “When you go snowshoeing with your mom and you don’t anticipate postholing.” —Instagram’s @linalhatch
10. “A couple of summers ago I decided to camp far away from water because we were having flash flooding. I was hurriedly setting up the tent before the rain started and let my dog go explore. Apparently, some human … had taken a huge dump and did not bury it, so she thought it would be a good idea to roll in it. She pranced back over so proud of herself. She had SO much … all over her. And of course, I was not close to water. I had to drag my 12-year-old dog down a steep hill a ways down to bathe her in ice cold water. How did I know it was human? Because she tried to roll in it again, but fortunately, I caught her before it was too late!” —Sarah Sattin, REI outdoor school instructor
11. “Me after what I thought was going to be a simple, quick trip up to Camp Muir [in Washington]. It was the first 80-degree day of 2018, the snow was slush, I forgot my Nalgene full of water and NUUN in the car and I cramped at Camp Muir. I. Was. A. Mess. It took 9 hours to go 8 miles. Shall I continue?” —James Campbell, REI clothing sales lead and retail operations communications specialist
12. “[Friend] tried to take a cool pic on rappel and [I] ended up slipping and falling on my butt in poop-smelling mud.” —Instagram’s @basecamplasvegas
13. “When you take your kids hiking to Havasupai in the Arizona desert during a heatwave of 118 degrees.” —Instagram’s @flyingstar_2002
14. “Learning to snowshoe in 3 feet of fresh snow. I love winter but it doesn’t seem to love me back.” —Instagram’s @carolinemaeh
Have one of your own outdoor fails? Share it in the comments below.