Camping is a fun activity that brings friends and family together to enjoy the outdoors. If done the right way, it can be both safe and comfortable. Because there are risks involved, there are some precautions that need to be taken. Here are the essential safety tips that will help you to keep enjoying the great outdoors.
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#1 Know your environment
Before you set out on your trip, become familiar with the area you’ll be in. Look at maps and read up on the location. It’s important to know what kind of ground is there, the expected weather conditions at the time of your trip, and if it’s close to a safe water supply. By knowing your environment, you can better prepare with the essentials for a safe and comfortable experience.
#2 Proper camping gear
The first consideration is the shelter you will use. A tent is the most popular type, but some prefer to sleep in hammocks. If you do use a tent, make sure that it is large enough for everyone to sleep inside. There must also be room enough for people as well as gear and personal items. The tent should be waterproof and rated for the time of year that you will use it. This will be your protection from the wind, sun and rain.
It’s always a good plan to have a few tarps handy in case the weather gets nasty. These may be used for temporary shelters for cooking equipment and extra gear if it rains. You will also need to have gear for sleeping comfortably and warm. You should also bring along essentials including a camp stove, pots and pans, eating utensils, and everything you need to prepare and eat your meals.
Other necessary items are a camp shovel, an ax or hatchet, waterproof matches, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies for dishes and for personal hygiene. You’ll also want to have a flashlight and lantern for when the sun goes down. It gets dark quickly in the mountains.
Be prepared for any kind of weather. When it’s cold, dress in layers for the extra insulation. Also bring along clothing for warmer weather and be prepared for wide temperature fluctuations. Ideally, extra socks and a few pair of comfortable hiking boots or shoes, a hat to keep the sun off your head, and if it’s really cold out, a coat, gloves and stocking cap. You must be the judge based on the time of year you go, but it’s better to be prepared for the worst possible weather scenario.
#4 Food and water
Pack nutritious foods that are easy to prepare. Keep all perishable items in a cooler to keep them at a safe temperature. It’s unpleasant to have food poisoning on a camping trip. You should also bring along fresh, clean water. Plan on having enough for making beverages, drinking, cleaning camp dishes and for personal hygiene. If you must use creek water, be sure to boil it before use, or carry water purifying solutions which can be purchased for making water safe to drink. Food should be kept in sealed containers or bags that are waterproof to avoid contamination.
#5 First aid supplies
Camping places you in a different environment that comes with its own set of potential hazards. There are flying insects that can bite or sting. Carry supplies to treat any bites, and if there are poisonous snakes in the area, have a snakebite kit in your medical supplies. The first aid kit should also contain bandages, antiseptic, burn cream, and a tourniquet.
Common camping injuries include bug bites, burns from the campfire, sunburn, cuts, scrapes, scratches and twisted ankles from walking over rugged terrain. It’s best to be prepared.
#6 Set ground rules and stick to them
Every member of the camping group should understand and abide by the safety rules. Nobody should wander away from camp, or hike, swim, bike or do other activities alone.
- Children should be closely supervised.
- Pets should be kept on a leash in the shade near food and water.
- Avoid walking through dense brush or walking through tall weeds without a walking stick to warn wildlife that you’re coming. This helps to clear the area of snakes and other wildlife.
- Keep an eye out for poisonous plants, and don’t eat any berries or mushrooms that are found in the wild unless you’re an expert.
#7 Only cook outside
To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, camp stoves must be used outside. Invisible and odorless fumes can form when camp stoves are used inside a tent. If the weather is bad, use a tarp to make a more protected area for cooking, but do keep it out in the open air. The same goes for any equipment that uses gas or charcoal.
Use recommended toilet facilities. Most campgrounds have them. If yours does not, you can take a portable toilet along with special bags that seal in waste to be carried out and disposed of properly. Keep all waste away from your campsite.
In addition, wash your hands and surfaces frequently to avoid picking up germs that can make you sick. If you don’t have enough water, then use hand sanitizer.
Avoid spending too much time in direct sunlight. Overexposure can cause sunburn or even heat stroke. Use an unscented sunscreen lotion. The unscented type will not draw insects to you.
Also avoid using perfumes or toiletries with a sweet scent because the smell can attract bees. Sunscreen with a UV protection of at least 15 can help to reduce sunburn as well as the risks of skin cancer. Lip protection is also recommended to help prevent chapped lips.
Prevention is the best action when it comes to camping related injuries and illnesses. However, it’s important to be prepared in case you need first aid supplies. Spend a little time with all campers and go over the safety rules so everyone is on the same page. By working together and making the extra effort to go prepared, you can avoid many of the common problems that arise while camping for the best time with friends and family ever.