In this article, I want to share with you our electrifying camping experience. We want to share this with other campers to raise awareness of how using the proper Electric Mains Kits can save your life, and the importance of ensuring you use these kits correctly so you, your family and fellow campers are kept safe and have the best camping experience while away.
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I want to share with you a story about one of our camping trips that could have resulted in death if not severe injury and why using proper equipment helped probably save our lives.
It was a lovely sunny weekend as we arrived at the campsite and we quickly got to work setting up the tent and setting out all of our equipment. We were being joined by some of the family the next day so wanted to get organised, so we could go and explore the site before they arrived.
This included getting bedrooms set up, our camping furniture in place, all our kitchen up and food put where it needed to be, chairs and tables up and where we like them, windows open and of course, our electrics hooked up and in place (clipped to the side of our indoor camping kitchen bench).
Once we had everything in and in place, we decided a cuppa was in order before exploring. We filled the kettle and put it on and nothing! I went and checked all switches were on the electrics and we had a solid connection at the hookup point and that was switched on. All looked ok, so we thought we’d get site maintenance to check it out.
After a quick look, they determined it was a fault at the hookup post and they suggested we use the next one along. The electric hook up kit we were using had a 15-meter cable not a standard 25 meter, so it reached over to the next point from where we were set up, although we had to run it under the bedroom area at one corner. The tent we were using only had one cable entry point and the cable was only slightly under a corner by a few inches at the foot of our beds.
We could have taken everything back down to avoid running the cable like this but really didn’t want to empty the tent and move it. We were only staying for 2 nights. We were using a 5-man tent and in order for it to be sitting correctly, we would probably have needed to take the whole thing down and re-pitch in the next area, but as I said didn’t see the point for such a short stay.
As any seasoned camper knows if your tent is pitched a little off or not straight it can cause problems such as zips being overstretched or snagging and rain getting in due to water pockets forming in the tent fabric.
It was a nice weekend, but some rain had been forecast for the following evening. And to be honest we weren’t going to be annoyed by the cable as it would be under the carpet, sims and sleeping bag and would be at our feet. As it was only me and my partner sleeping in that bedroom we knew it was there and would be careful not to cause any damage to it. BIG MISTAKE
What Happened Next
So later that evening it got really chilly so we retreated into our tent and ended up having a few cuppas before going to bed. The other half left her phone on charge for a bit and when she got up for the toilet later in the night unplugged her phone and set it up on the unit but did not switch off the mains unit.
The following morning, I was up at the crack of dawn and went to make a cuppa – no electricity! Again, I checked everything and nothing. I wasn’t feeling the best and didn’t quite know what was wrong with me, so just wandered down to the coffee bar and waited on them opening so I could get my coffee fix there. I knew by the time that I only had around 5-520 minutes to wait until it was open and for my morning coffee, it was worth it.
Now, a little more awake after my caffeine fix I went back to the tent to properly investigate. I noticed that there was a little puddle of water at the leg of the table that our electrics were attached to. I traced it up and it was the condensation from the tent that had run down the leg of the table as the table had been touching the tent fabric.
I checked the electrics and yes there was some traces of water on it. As the plug had been left in from the phone and the electrics switched on there must have been water got in during the night and blew the electrics!!
Now I felt so guilty as some of the campers were now wakening up to no electricity and it was because of us. I quickly woke the other half up to explain what I thought had happened. I quickly went and found the campsite maintenance guy so he could restore power before any more campers got up and discovered they had no electrics.
She too felt awful, she was sore and unsteady on her feet, I told her how I was feeling off too and couldn’t quite explain it. We tried to think if we had eaten something that could have been off or been around anyone recently who was unwell but couldn’t think at first what it could be. I made another cuppa and sit thinking about it for a while.
That was when it suddenly struck me. I think we may have been electrocuted! Could I be right?
The maintenance man came along to say electrics were back on and I showed him my cuppa so he knew I had already discovered this. I asked if I could run something past him and explained everything. He took a look at our electrics, the point where I thought water may have entered our mains kit and where we had the mains kit attached to the leg of the table. I showed him what way it had been sitting during the night and explained that we had condensation inside the tent when I woke that morning.
He agreed that this was probably the most logical explanation for what had happened and with the wire being underneath our bodies that we had obviously received some kind of shock when it happened. We both then discussed the importance of using the correct electrics with circuit breakers and not running cable underneath tents.
We both knew this was not recommended in case of damage to the cable that you could not see but both had agreed it would be ok the previous day as it was only 2 adults in the tent and we both knew exactly where the cable was running under. We never ever thought about electrocution being an issue.
Below is the RCD & MCB unit in our electrics, that saved our lives. These are explained here.
Now if I hadn’t been using the proper electrics with circuit breakers and the such we might have been toast! In all seriousness, this could have led to death or hospitalization. As we were asleep, we still do not know the exact time this happened. But it took us until the next day to start to feel better.
Our Rules of Using Electric Hook-Up
- Always use proper electric hook-up designed for camping. With both RCD and MCB’s.
- Never run the cable under the tent or any other floored area.
- Ensure plugs are removed and covers are closed when sockets are not in use.
- Switch off electrics during the night where possible. We know that is some really cold weather some people like to leave heaters on low overnight. (obviously, heaters with safety trips of their own should be used to prevent fires or burns)
- If trailing a wire across the ground to your tent any distance, ensure that it is pegged down as it will be a trip hazard otherwise.
- Only use appliances designed for camping in your EHU.
- Never use extension cables in the tent as your mains kit is already the extension from mains.
Now when I can, I use this story to warn others of the dangers of using electricity when camping and strongly discourage the use of cheap camping electrics that are sold online. If you are unsure if you are using the correct mains kit and using it correctly why not pop over to our post-Camping Electric Hook-Up Review and Guidance this covers what mains kits should have and what kits to avoid buying or using as well as some safety tips on camping with electrics.
Never buy anything that looks like this:
Always put yours and your family and friends safety first. it may cost a few pounds more but I’m sure life is always worth it.
If you’ve ever experienced anything similar it would be great to hear about it and help warn others of the dangers.