Whether you are a novice or expert camper, we could all use a little refresher on camp safety. It’s one of life’s most rewarding activities, and with that comes a bit of responsibility. In this way, you are practically guaranteed a fun-filled time for a relaxing weekend or adventurous nature trip.
Check out the safety checklist below to learn more about how to make the most of your next camping getaway, whether in a tent or RV.
Choose the right shelter and campsite.
Consider your needs and the needs of your family or group. You want to reserve the right type of camping space, so research the campground website or give them a call to find out what is available. Different amenities are available whether you are staying in a tent compared to a cabin or RV, so plan accordingly what you’ll need to make your stay comfortable.
Do you need a spot close to the main lodge, shower, and bathroom facilities? Will you need amenities such as a picnic table, fire ring, etc.? Most sites nowadays provide the latter two, but it’s always best to check.
Keep on top of the weather report.
As the day gets closer to your departure date, keep a close eye on what the weather forecast suggests, then pack accordingly. If rain is on the horizon, you’ll need rain gear and tarps to keep your tent dry or the entrance to your RV. Same is true for hot weather. Always dress in layers, and always bring insect repellent along, no matter where you are headed.
Pack and store food safely.
Leaving food on picnic tables is a big no-no wherever you may stay. Why? Because it increases the chance of attracting wildlife. You don’t want to leave that sandwich out, only to discover later that a raccoon has eaten it, and now has decided to hang around your campsite, waiting for more. Same is true in bear country in the more remote areas. Always clean up after every meal, and secure food in a tight, waterproof container or inside your RV. Wash your hands before and after every meal, and keep raw food separate from cooked food.
Practice campfire safety.
When stoking a fire, always keep it at least 15 feet from your tent, RV, shrubs and trees. Keep your fire small and contained within a fire ring or fire pit. NEVER leave a fire going unattended. When putting out a fire, make sure that even the embers are out – no glowing embers. Dump a little water on them to ensure they are completely out. If there’s still smoke, the fire is still going! Drown all the embers, not just the red ones.
Check for ticks.
Those little buggers can be very discreet. So every time you come back from an outing, check every inch of your body for signs of ticks. Many of them can carry bacteria that cause a host of diseases and illnesses. Wear long sleeves shirts and pants when hiking, and place your clothes in a dryer for at least 10 minutes to kill any ticks that may have hitched a ride on your clothing.
Be aware of allergies.
If you or anyone in your party suffers from allergies, be sure to pack the appropriate medication for your trip. Always keep a first aid kit handy (ones that include an EpiPen are good) and watch for signs of dizziness, labored breathing, or swelling around insect bites or plants or insects that have come into contact with your skin.
Protect your skin from the sun.
Did you know you can get sunburn even in cloudy weather? UV rays can easily penetrate through clouds. So when you are out and exposed to the sky during midday, the sun can still harm you when it is overcast. Always spray on or lather on some sunscreen with at least SPF 15 protection.
Drinking several glasses of water per day is a must-do, but when you are being more active than usual during a camping trip, you’ll need to drink even more. And don’t just drink when you’re thirsty. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and take sips throughout the day. Drink water whenever possible during meals to stay hydrated. You can easily become dehydrated without even knowing it. If you feel thirsty, chances are you are dehydrated. An emergency kit should include at least a 3 to 5-day supply of bottled water.
Watch out for wildlife.
Always be on the lookout for wildlife, and NEVER feed wildlife, no matter how cute they are. If you do come into contact with animals, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water, or use a hand sanitizer.
Have FUN and remain alert.
Camping is one of life’s most fun experiences. Pay attention to your body, what it needs and how it reacts to your surroundings. Keep your wits about you, get good sleep and limit any alcohol intake. More people are discovering the joys of camping every year, so using these safety tips ensures everyone has an amazing time.