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Safety Tips

Don’t Be A Danger To Your Campsite

You’re getting ready for a trip you’ve been looking forward to for a while. After too much time in buildings and cities, you’re ready to get back to nature through camping. You can’t wait for campfires, hikes, and everything the wilderness has to offer. However, if not done appropriately, simply hiking and camping can have unintentional, negative impacts.

There are risks and responsibilities associated with being in the great outdoors. Wild animals, out of control fires, and even bug bites can ruin your trip. And you can can shape the fates of the animals and plants around you, if you aren’t careful.  That’s why you need to make some preparations at home and know some safety tips for hiking and handling campfires.
Image Source: Pixabay

Preparing For A Safe Camping Experience

Having a safe but enjoyable time camping starts at home. The Travel Channel lists a few essentials you will need to pack:

  • Gear that you researched before buying

  • A first-aid kit

  • A compass and map of the local area

  • Bug spray

  • Cleaning supplies to keep your cookware and cups clean

  • Tents, sleeping gear, and clothing appropriate for the weather

You might not use all of these items, but when spending time away from civilization, it’s important to be prepared for any type of emergency.

You also need to plan now for keeping healthy while camping. That means staying hydrated, putting your trash away at all times, and wearing bug spray. You also want to inventory everything your campsite offers. The last thing you want is to set up camp and realize there’s no drinking water nearby.

Fire & Hiking Safety

After you’ve properly prepared at home, you head to your campsite and pitch your tent. But how can you ensure a safe time when you’re finally out in nature? There are two high-risk parts of camping that you need to consider: fires and hiking.

Campfires are a quintessential part of the camping experience. Who doesn’t love s’mores, hotdogs, or at least spooky stories around the fire? To ensure you can enjoy all that and more, offers these fire safety tips:

  • Build a fire in a clear spot with no branches above and no nearby bushes.
  • Clear out any debris to create a 5-foot circle around the fire site.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby in the event any fire escapes the campfire site.

Another beloved part of camping is going on hikes. It’s a great way to reconnect with nature, and it’s great exercise. You just need to be smart about hiking. First, make sure you’re not overdoing it. Don’t plan a day-long hike if you haven’t hiked in a long time. Make sure you bring plenty of water, a bit of food, and a map and compass. A first-aid kit can help as well. And no matter what cool thing you discover, remember to leave plants and animals alone.

Encountering Wildlife

Research the types of wildlife you’re likely to encounter during your trip. If you see a wild animal, exercise caution and enjoy it from a distance. Never approach, feed, chase, or harass animals. The National Park Service warns, “Feeding wildlife creates an expectation that they can receive food from you (and other campers) in the future. This can make them persistent and sometimes violent, and may attract wildlife to your site.” Understand what to do if you encounter large animals, such as elephants and lions.

Remember to never pick up orphaned or sick animals; wild animals rarely abandon their young, and there are a number of wildlife diseases that can affect humans. If you see any type of unusual behavior, such as an animal pacing back and forth or signs of aggression, contact the closest national park service or the local police. A startled animal will often attack as a means of self-defense, so it is best to avoid putting yourself in that situation as well as know what to do should an attack occur.

Keeping Wildlife Away from Campsite

Many animals are opportunistic and may search campsites for food, especially when natural foods sources are low or unavailable such as during the winter. Always keep the campsite clean. Place leftovers in closed, airtight containers to keep them fresh and less noticeable by wildlife. Place food scraps and packaging in a waste bag and dispose of the bag in the campground’s receptacle. Never burn or bury food scraps or any trash.

Never take food inside your tent – that goes for storing or eating food, even snacks. Food and cooking gear should be kept separate from sleeping areas, preferably in a closed-up vehicle. Some campgrounds have specific rules about food storage, such as requiring you to use food storage lockers.

Camping with Pets

Another important consideration to think about is camping with your furry best friend.  While your dog may be an ideal camping companion, it is important to check local regulations and camp at a place that is dog-friendly. Make sure that you follow local leash laws and clean up after your pet appropriately.  While your dog may feel like a part of the nature around you, remember that like you, he too is a visitor to this ecosystem.

Camping Can Be Safe And Fun

Getting back to nature through camping should be a relaxing and rewarding experience. By planning ahead, hiking and building fires safely, and following rules for any pets in tow, you can avoid being a danger to your campsite. This not only helps you and your family but the other campers and even Mother Nature herself.

Article Courtesy of: Jamie Strand
Photo Credit: pooch_eire, Pixabay

While you may think camping is as easy as jumping in the car and heading to the campsite to sleep under the stars, a camping trip requires a lot of planning. You want to ensure you create a thorough checklist of what to bring, and you should be knowledgeable about camping and fire safety to ensure the protection of you and the environment around you. Taking the time to organize and plan will help ensure your camping trip is enjoyable.

Safety Items to Include When Packing

A lighter, waterproof matches, fuel canister, sunscreen, headlamp/flashlight with extra batteries, map, and compass should always be included when you pack for a camping trip. Other essential items include a water filter, iodine tablets, a refillable water bottle, extra water, extra food, first-aid supplies, knife, emergency shelter, and a repair kit and tools. You should also bring toilet paper, large black trash bags, and a bear canister.

Part of packing safely also involves packing proper clothing. The temperature can change drastically between day and night or even during a week stay. A day that’s hot in the afternoon can dip by 20 degrees at night. Be sure to bring layers of warm clothes (wool socks, insulated jacket, etc.) and a sleeping pad, which can insulate you from the ground. Also, pack for rainy weather by bringing quick-drying pants and underwear, spare socks, and a rain jacket. A hat and sunglasses are important for protection from the sun. If you’re planning on hiking, ensure you have proper footwear.

How to Camp and Hike Safely as a Group

Before you leave your home, give a copy of your itinerary to a neighbor, friend, or family member. This individual should follow up with you to ensure you get home as planned. When you head out, leave with enough time so that you arrive before nightfall, as setting up camp in the dark is a lot more complicated. You’ll also need time (and daylight) to explore your immediate surroundings and to build a campfire.

Never leave food unattended at the campsite, and always tidy up the site before heading out on an adventure. To avoid unwanted animal encounters, follow proper food storage and waste disposal protocols. Some campgrounds provide bear lockers, and others require you to come up with your own methods. When camping, be respectful of nature and weary of your eco-footprint. Leave with everything you came with, especially your trash.

Before heading out for a hiking trip, ensure you have the proper gear and knowledge. Be aware of the terrain, conditions, and local weather. Always tell someone about your plans. Stay together as a group for the entire hike, and pace the hike to the slowest person. Ensure each member is aware of what to do if someone becomes separated from the group. If the weather changes, someone becomes fatigued, or anything else that can affect your hike occurs, turn back.

If you participate in any water activities or if you’re camping near a body of water, be aware of drowning safety for children and pets. Never leave children or pets unattended, and always familiarize yourself with your surroundings so that you’re aware of any bodies of water. While playing in the water, children and pets should always wear a properly fitting life jacket.

How to Prevent Forest Fires

“Unlike many natural disasters, most wildfires are caused by people – and can be prevented by people, too,” says National Geographic. Before starting a campfire, check local ordinances to ensure it’s permissible to do so, and avoid burning a fire in windy conditions. If you create a campfire, never leave the fire unattended, and always keep a shovel, water, and fire retardant nearby.

Before leaving the campsite or going to sleep, completely extinguish the fire by dousing it with water and stirring the ashes until cold to the touch. Be certain to completely extinguish matches before disposing of them. Make sure lighting and heating devices are cool before refueling. Also, avoid spilling flammable liquids, and store fuel away from appliances.

Camping is a great way to get together with family and friends to enjoy the great outdoors. But before you head off for a fun trip, be sure that you’ve packed adequately to guarantee your safety and comfort. Also, ensure that you’re well versed in camping and fire safety before you leave. Following these tips helps your camping trip to be safe and worry-free.
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