Generally, with some care, it is easy to maintain safety when camping. However, you have to take deliberate steps towards this.
When camping with children, you cannot take any chances. You have to take measures to ensure that your camp is safe from everything. But just what does camping safety entail, that is, apart from choosing the right tent for family?
To make this topic easier, we will divide it into two: pre-camping safety tips for during preparation, and the actual camping safety tips.
Pre Camping Safety Tips
Before leaving home, there are certain things that you should take care of. These include the following:
Make sure your camping gear is in good health
If it has been some time since the last camping adventure, well, now is the time to take everything out and check it keenly. Check the tent especially. If you do not have one, you can order a family tent on Amazon.com.
This includes checking that tent for tears. Check the seams especially, they are notorious for letting in water. Remember, your tent is the closest thing to a home out there, so it should be in pretty good shape. Check the tent floor. It should not be torn.
Depending on the time of the year, you might want to bring more gear. Your winter camping checklist will be bigger than the summer one.
You also need to ensure that you camping and hiking outfit is in order. This includes hiking boots, jackets and so many more.
Your camping cookware should also be safe and ready. If you are carrying a camping stove, it needs to be checked so that it does not disappoint at the most crucial time. Check the propane canister, no leaks, no hiccups at all.
Get those jabs in advance
Before setting out for your camping trip especially in unfamiliar destinations, ensure that you get yourself vaccinated.
Getting the necessary vaccinations in advance can actually protect you from various illnesses or dangerous conditions during your adventure. A pre-medical vaccination is one of the most important precautions that every camper should take before heading out for their trip.
Always seek a medical advice from your doctor. He or she is better positioned to prescribe the right vaccinations depending on your medical history and your camping destination.
The most common vaccinations that your doctor may prescribe for you include meningitis, tetanus, hepatitis and whooping cough. Safety when camping starts with your health, so do not take chances.
Inform family on your camping destination
It is crucial that you let your family or close friends know about the exact place that you shall be camping in. This ensures your camping safety just in case you encounter life threatening situations or you get trapped in weird places.
Informing close family members or friends about your exact camping destination can help them reach and rescue you in case of an emergency. Don’t forget to update them on your whereabouts in case you change your camping location.
Let them also know when you will be back. That way, if you are delayed, they will find out what you have been upto.
We are not trying to be alarmists here, but camping has its dangers that you should guard against.
Stay updated on the weather
Before going for a camping trip, always do a research on the weather forecast of your destination. Unless you are doing winter camping, you should always camp in warm weather.
This will help you avoid unfavorable weather conditions such as storms and snowfalls. In addition, apart from keeping yourself updated with the weather forecast, ensure that you pack for all types of weather.
As we are all aware, weather is highly unpredictable and it can change within just a couple of hours. One minute, it can be warm and sunny and the next minute there could be a heavy downpour. However, with an idea of your camping location weather patterns beforehand, you can be able to plan properly and pack accordingly.
Packing the right gear can enhance your safety when camping. While camping is fun and a great way to relax and unwind, it sometimes comes with its own fair share of risks and challenges. It’s always good to be prepared with safe camping gear so that you can be able to tackle any challenges or any emergency that might arise during your trip.
The following are some of the necessary items that every camper should always pack when going for a camping trip.
- All weather clothes
- Clean drinking water and food
- A flashlight for camping
- Matchbox/fire starters
- A knife
- Insect repellants
- A well stocked First aid kit
- Warm beddings
Your fitness is vital for safety when camping
Camping is quite intense and most of the time, it will require a great amount of your strength and stamina. Therefore, you must assess your fitness level before hand to ensure that you are perfectly fit for the adventure.
Seek advice from a physician and he/she will confirm whether you are mentally and physically fit to withstand the strain that comes with camping.
Remember; camping takes you away from your daily comfy life to face new challenges such as rough terrains, harsh weather conditions and environments.
You need to ascertain that your body is fit and ready to withstand challenges that you might encounter out there.
On The Spot Tips for Safety When Camping
So much for the pre-camping safety tips. Now, when you get to the camping place itself, that is when the real work starts. You have to be on the alert, especially if you are in a big campground such as you find in state parks in Florida.
Here are a few things to bear in mind for safety when camping:
Avoid unfamiliar trails
Camping is usually accompanied by other outdoor adventures such as hiking, trekking and biking among others. These activities are good since they add more fun to the whole camping trip. Sometimes in the course of your adventure, you might be tempted to venture on an unfamiliar route or trail.
As exciting as this might seem, always prioritize your safety and avoid unknown paths and routes. To avoid exposing yourself and your camping partners to danger, always stick to the already established hiking or trekking trails.
Store your foods and drinks properly
Usually, most foods and drinks are highly sensitive and they easily get contaminated if not stored properly. Consuming contaminated foods and drinks can increase your risk of contracting various illnesses. These will end up ruining your entire camping trip.
First, pack healthy foods that are easier to store. Always keep your foods in waterproof containers or bags and always keep them in a cooler. In addition, avoid storing cooked foods with raw foods. Always separate them.
The other thing is that you should never leave your food unattended. Apart from increasing their risk of being contaminated, unattended food and water can attract animals such as bears and snakes. In any case, it might attract rats and since many snakes feed on rats, they will follow. You do not want creepers anywhere near your tent.
Avoid eating food inside your tent but designate an eating area a bit far from your tent. Store all of your food in airtight containers and keep them in a different tent before going to sleep.
Protect yourself against hypothermia and carbon monoxide
Sometimes, the temperature of your hiking destination can unexpectedly fall to dangerously low levels. If this happens, it increases the risks of one suffering from hypothermia. Hypothermia is a life threatening condition as the body loses more heat than it can generate.
To shield yourself against hypothermia, always ensure that you put on adequate warm clothing and consume more calories if it gets cold. Use warm beddings and spread a plastic cloth on the ground in order to keep your tent dry.
The next thing that you need to do to enhance your safety when camping is to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a toxic, colorless, odorless gas that is usually emitted by burning charcoal or fuel burning items such as lanterns and gas stoves.
Using these items inside your tent can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide to toxic levels, which can be fatal. To avoid this, use alternative tent heating gear while inside your tent and also ensure that your tent is well ventilated.
Designate a meeting place for safety when camping
Whether you are camping alone, with your family or friends, safety for every individual member should be a priority. Therefore, solo camping is not always advisable. A lone camper is more prone to harm. In case of danger, there will be no one to offer help.
If you are a group of several people, come up with a common and safe landmark where everyone will be reporting to after exploring the area for a certain time.
It is also safer to move in smaller groups rather than moving individually. If there is an unexpected emergency, it will be easier to assist or seek help. This is easier than when everyone is moving on his or her own. It is safe to wear reflective gear. In case a member diverts from the trails, it will be easier to spot them quickly.
Protect against the elements for safety when camping
When you are out there, it is always good to stay safe and protect yourself from adverse weather and harmful sunrays. Exposing your skin to too much sun can cause sunburns and even skin cancer. Ensure that every day before stepping out of your tent you wear sunscreen on all exposed skin.
This should be done whether it is sunny or cloudy since the harmful UV sunrays can still reach your skin even when it is cloudy. In addition to your sunscreen, wear other clothing such as sunglasses and wide brimmed hats to enhance your protection.
Apart from the sun, you should also protect yourself against strong winds and storms. Despite the weather forecast showing that it might be all sunny at your destinations, always be prepared for any possible weather changes.
Bring with you extra warm clothing, ponchos and a rain jacket. In addition, consider waterproofing your tent because a water-drenched tent can totally ruin your entire adventure.
If the storm is accompanied by lightning, avoid seeking shelter inside your tent or under the trees. Your tents have metal poles that might attract the lightning. The best place to seek safety would be inside your car. However, avoid getting into contact with any metallic surface of your vehicle.
Don’t ignore any warning signs
Every camping site has its own set of warning signs. Be careful to read and check out for any of those signs before proceeding with your activities. These will keep you in line for your safety when camping.
You should obey all of them without violating a single one of them. Ignoring any of the warning sign can put your life in a greater risk or even cost you immensely.
Stay hydrated all the time
Most of the outdoor activities that come with camping are intense and can cause you to sweat a lot. To avoid being dehydrated, drink plenty water to avoid being easily fatigued or even falling ill. Bringing your own purified water from home is the best option.
However, if you have so many things to pack, carrying a lot of water might be a challenge. In this case ensure that there is a clean water source near the camping area. Be sure to pack some purification tablets or backpacking water filters for such water. You can boil the water to make it safer for drinking.
Look out for poisonous plants
Familiarize yourself with the different types of plants that you can possibly come across at your camping destination. Some of the plants are poisonous and they can harm you. You need to stay away from them.
Some of these plants include poison ivy, poison oak and the poison sumac. When you are camping with the young ones always watch out where they are going or running across. Kids can easily become distracted and end up landing on such plants without their knowledge. Don’t forget to cover your legs and hands well when hiking on trails with a lot of plants.
Beware of bugs, insects, snakes and wild animals
Most of the camping destinations are somewhere in the middle of the jungle and the possibility of encountering pests, snakes or wild animals is quite high.
Being attacked by a snake, bees, mosquitoes or bears can be extremely life threatening. This is especially so if you are camping in a remote area far away from medical facilities.
Bring bug sprays and repellents
To ensure your safety when camping, stay ready in case you encounter any of the above animals. Bring with you bug sprays or other insect repellents in order to deter bugs, mosquitoes and other pests from getting inside your tent. Keep your tent clean and avoid keeping the trash bins near the tents.
Protect yourself against bears
If you will be camping in a destination that has bears, you need to store your foods properly away from your tent. The smell of food can attract bears or other wild animals to your tents. It is also a great idea to bring with you some bear or animal proof spray. You just might be required to use the spray if need be.
Safety when camping – protect yourself against snakes
The other thing that you should do is familiarize yourself with different types of snakes that you may possibly encounter. This will help you to easily identify a snake in case you come across one. Avoid pitching your tent in an area with tall grasses, fallen logs, loose rocks or vegetation since most snakes are fond of hiding inside such.
Instead, set up your tent in an open place far away from vegetation. While walking through densely vegetated trails, always put on your safety boots. If you leave your shoes or boots outside your tent, always check their inside before putting them on.
If you suspect the area to be prone to snakes, pour some snakes repellent around your tent to deter them from going in.
Campfire caution for your safety when camping
Camping can be somehow boring without a fire. A campfire in the evening can help deter animals and it keeps you warm. It can help you relax and unwind after a long day of strenuous adventures.
As much as building a campfire is an interesting addition into your camping activities, it can turn out tragic if safety precautions are overlooked.
There are records of uncontrolled campfires causing loss of lives and vegetation around the globe.
When you decide to make a campfire, always follow the following safety precautions.
- Pitch your tent at least 15 feet from the fire pit
- If the campground does not have designated fire pit, place rocks around the one that you make
- Do not build a campfire under low trees or near vegetations, garbage or dry debris
- Never leave a burning campfire unattended, always have someone watching it
- Keep your fire small as it is easier to contain
- Always keep a bucket of water nearby
- Always put out the fire completely before retiring to bed
- Ensure that you put of all the embers until they all stop producing a hissing sound when you pour water on them.
Cover human waste
This is one of the most forgotten tips for safety when camping. Going to toilet in the wild requires that you observe certain measures, both for your hygiene as well as for safety. For example, if there are no toilet facilities, dig a hole in the bush, make sure it is at least six inches deep, do your business and cover it up with dirt. That way, you do not attract rodents, which may attract bigger animals.