Camping Safety For An Enjoyable Camping Experience!
Camping is by its nature an activity where folks are off the beaten track and a mishap can result in a bigger problem than when you are home and could call for medical attention. Additionally, often campers are engaging in activities they are not used to doing which can lead to problems. Here are some simple things you can do for your camping safety.
1. Travel Safely
Most serious accidents related to camping involve the trip to or from the camping area. Take normal safety precautions as you would travelling anywhere. On the return trip, you may be very tired. Make sure that if you are too tired to drive, you let someone else take over, or pull off the road and rest.
2. Consume Alcohol Responsibly (or not at all)
A major contributor to many outdoor accidents is alcohol consumption. The outdoors has a magnificence that in this author’s mind lacks a requirement of alcohol. If you are going to drink, perhaps the end of the day when you are back at camp and have no further activities planned is the time to do it – and in moderation.
3. Practice Water Safety
There are many, if not most, camping trips that are centered around water activities. Whether this is fishing, swimming, water skiing, or something else, safety is obviously important. PFD’s (Personal Flotation Devices) should be used not only when required by law, but when dictated by common sense. If young children are around water, why not have them in a PFD so that if by chance they do get out of sight of mom and/or dad, they will be safer?
4. Establish a Trip Plan
Let a family member or a neighbor know where you are going, along with trip details. Provide them detailed information of exact locations where you will be, how long you will be gone, license plate information, your cell number, as well as the phone number of the local sheriff or other emergency personnel in the area. Write all of this information down. By giving the phone number, for example of the county sheriff in the area where you are going, if you are past your established return time by a significant amount, they will have someone to call.
5. Learn CPR and have a First Aid Kit
Knowing basic lifesaving procedure is a good idea when help may be far away. Make sure your first aid kit is appropriately stocked with the supplies you could potentially need. These needs will change from person to person or family to family. For example, there might be someone in a family with a bee allergy where they need to bring emergency supplies should they be stung. Along these lines, make certain you have necessary supplies of the medications you normally take.
Emergency Supplies for Safe Camping
Emergency supplies include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Waterproof fire starter
- Personal shelter
- Warm clothing
- Insect protection
Know the ABCs of Emergency Treatments
- Having a complete first aid kit is not sufficient for an outdoor camping trip. You must know how to identify and treat individuals when the situation calls for it.
- The principle of ABC treatment is giving priority to and recognizing serious injuries and attending to them until medical help arrives.
- ABC literally stands for Airway, breathing and circulation-this is in the order of importance. Check for airway restrictions, breathing and circulation.
6. Rules and Campsite Safety
Especially if you have kids, having agreed upon campsite rules is a good idea. So many camping accidents are the result of either getting burned in a campfire or getting cut by a camp axe or a knife, that just establishing rules to deal with a few of these types of things can help a lot.
7. Propane / Fire Safety
Now days, many campers are using propane to heat stoves and for lanterns, as well as other things. Exercising some commonsense here is very important. Make sure you inspect all lines, regulators, and valves for leaks. Another common leak source is in the valves on the top of the small disposable propane cylinders. This can be particularly dangerous if the cylinder is located in a closed vehicle when it is leaking.
You should always practice fire safety, no matter where you are, teach it to others and especially children. Keep children and pets away from fire. Make sure that you do not build a fire to close to any tents or especially flammable items. Buckets of water, buckets of sand or a fire extinguisher will come in handy. However, if you have none, look around for a small pine tree, pull one of the limbs off and use it to beat out the fire, it will work.
8. Be Proactive
Many minor problems, when left untreated, can develop into a major problem. A case in point is blisters. If you perhaps are doing some hiking, and have developed blisters, they should be treated immediately. Letting things like this go can lead to infections, and when away from medical services, this can be more serious. Use sunscreen. Severe sunburns have ruined too many trips and have long term effects as well.
9. Be Knowledgeable of and Enjoy Wildlife- but Avoid Problems
There are many potential areas where conflicts with wildlife can cause a problem. Remember that when you are camping you are in their domain. You should do what you can to avoid conflict with wildlife, and a big step in that direction is to be knowledgeable of the ecosystem. Whether we are talking about large mammals or small insects, usually all it takes is a bit of knowledge to develop much more appreciation for these critters, as well as avoid conflict.
10. Understand the “Law of Large Numbers”
The law of large numbers says that the more times an experiment is repeated, the closer the observed outcome will be to what the true result should be. The message in this has an upside and a downside. It means that even if the probability of an accident is very low, if you repeat it often enough, it might indeed occur. The good news is that the probability of an accident is not some law of nature, but partially on the behavior of humans. Therefore, just with a bit of caution, you can drastically reduce the chances of something ruining your trip (or worse).
While you are camping, you will still have need of good clean water to drink. Do not assume that any body of water you may come across in nature is pristine. Some waters are contaminated and you may never know it, until it is too late. Make sure you take along as much water as you will need or ensure that you are able to get to clean drinking water. Without the right amount of water daily, the signs of dehydration may begin.
12. Portable Telephone
Keeping a portable telephone of cell phone with you at all times is always a good idea while camping. Make sure that it is fully charged, and if you have an extra battery pack bring it along as well. You can use it for emergencies that you may not be able to handle on your own while out camping. Considering emergencies, you should also check before leaving home to find where the nearest hospital is to your campsite. Another worthwhile idea is to let someone at home know where to find you and have them call you every once in awhile.
Each and every camper or hiker must have a self-defense tool. These kind of tools include things like self-defense repellents, a stun gun as well as taser or some other non-lethal type of self-defense weapon.
Staying away from contact with animals might be just about the most important actions you can take to ensure camping safety.
15. Be Sure to Practice Safe Tenting Rules
- Arrive early enough to have time to thoroughly check your campsite for potential hazards (broken glass, fallen trees/limbs, bee or wasp nests, etc.) and to get everything set up before dark
- Set your tent up on higher ground, facing slightly downhill so if rain does occur it will flow away from the tent
- Never cook, smoke, use matches, lighted candles or other open flames in or near your tent
- Never refuel heaters, lamps, stoves, barbeques, etc or store flammable items inside a tent
- Store food away from tents. In the trunk of your vehicle is best, or in a sealed container hanging out on a branch at least 10 feet above the ground
- Sleep at least 100 feet away from the area where you store and cook food
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands, particularly after using the toilet and before handling food, to prevent illness
- Keep your campsite clean. Put all garbage in animal-proof containers (never bury garbage).Use proper recycling bins if available
Sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows, singing campfire songs, watching beautiful sunsets, or counting the stars is an excellent way to spend an evening. And who does not enjoy a good hotdog roasted over an open fire.
16. Go Over Safety Issues with Family Members
Make sure family members are aware of poisonous plants in the area. Be sure the children understand that they should never drink from any stream or river, regardless of how clean it may look. Finally, issue each member of your family a whistle for emergency use only.
17. Arrive Early
Plan your trip and arrive early at your destination so you will have enough time to do the following:
- Check the place for potential hazards
- Avoid areas of natural hazards
- Inspect for Camping Safety of the site
- Pitch tents in a safe spot
- Stay away from poisonous plants
- Check weather conditions before starting out. Be aware of possible storm conditions expected in the area you will be visiting. If severe weather is expected consider another time for the camp out
- Develop an emergency plan before starting your trip. Include a plan for what to do if someone gets lost (an emergency whistle for children to blow is a good idea)
- Check ahead and become familiar with the rules and regulations at the campsite where you will be staying
- Keep clothes and sleeping bags stored so they will remain dry regardless of weather conditions (staying in wet clothes can cause chills and lead to illness that can ruin your camping experience)
- Bring an easy to carry 72-hour emergency kit: including high energy food, water, a first aid kit, area map and compass, flashlight, multi-tool knife, waterproof fire starter, tent, whistle, extra clothing, and insect protection
18. Watch out for Bugs and Insects
- As much as possible stay away from bugs and knowing how to deal with the problem ones. They are attracted to dark-colored clothing and perfumes (or colognes). So avoid wearing these things when you’re on a camping trip.
- When they approach you, simply use a gentle pushing or brushing motion to deter them. Waving wildly and swatting won’t work.
18. Hiking and Outdoor Activity Safety
Anytime you decide to enjoy the great outdoors, it is important to remember that you are in nature’s domain. To stay safe, it is your responsibility to follow the proper safety precautions. It is a good idea to become familiar with poisonous and harmful plants, animals, and insects that are common to your area. Always carry a small first aid kit while hiking or biking and have knowledge of first aid procedures for outdoors. If you should come in contact with poison ivy or sumac, apply calamine lotion to the infected area to relieve the itching.
Stay on the designated trail and avoid high grass and overgrowth. Wear light colors so ticks are easy to spot and check your head and body for any possible ticks each night. If you find a tick that has already bitten, remove it gently with tweezers, taking care not to crush the body or leave the head. Clean the bite area with warm water and soap and see a doctor if you experience a fever or rash within the next few days or if you think the tick was attached for more than 2 days.
19. Fun in the Sun Safety Rules
- Bring sunscreen and sun glasses no matter what the weather, as it is easy to get burned and strain your eyes even in cloudy weather
- Hike or explore in groups or with a friend. Let someone responsible know where you are going and how long you will be gone. Notify them when you return
- Familiarize yourself with dangerous or poisonous plants in the area. If you come in contact with one, rinse the affected area with water and apply a soothing lotion
- Practice water safety. closely watch small children
- Protect against insect bites and stings (they can cause an allergic reaction and put an early end to camping)
- Never feed or approach wildlife. Use a flashlight at night to warn them away
- When you are walking watch for snakes and other critters. Be careful when picking something up and look around before sitting down. When encountering a wild animal stay calm and slowly move away (no sudden moves)
Camping is not an activity where you need to be scared all of the time. It is an activity where you should be cautious. Just following these simple camping safety ideas will help quite a bit.
Browse our Camping List and Tips category for more camping related ideas and information of your interest to guarantee yourself a smooth camping experience!