The freedom of the outdoors, fresh air and a break from digital devices are just some of the reasons so many people enjoy camping. But while your risk of theft or being bitten by a mosquito are relatively low in most campgrounds and national parks, you still need to take some basic precautions to keep yourself safe.
Secure your gear. This includes securing the doors and windows of your RV or tent, putting away any food that is not in an airtight container, and securing all the loose items inside your camper or tent. Motion detection devices that sound an alarm or illuminate the outside of your RV or tent can also help deter thieves by warning them you are there.
Pack plenty of first aid supplies. Whether it is for poison oak or a bug bite, you need to have the proper medications on hand. Also make sure to pack a camping first aid kit that contains bandages, burn ointment, antihistamines and a medical thermometer.
Learn how to identify the plants you will be camping in. Knowing what plants are common in your area can help you avoid them or know what to do if you come across one. It can also help you know if you should have an allergy medication on hand in case of an unexpected reaction to an allergen such as pollen or a bee sting.
Be aware of any water risks. If you are camping by a lake, river or ocean, be sure to obey any posted warnings and follow safe swimming practices. If you are camping near a creek, river or ditch, be sure to clear any standing water before entering.
Build a campfire safely. If permitted, only use a metal fire ring or stone-lined pit and be sure to keep it under control. Ensure that it is a safe distance from your tent and any overhanging branches, and always have a bucket of water or a shovel nearby for extinguishing. If you have kids with you, supervise them closely around the campfire and never leave it unattended.
When leaving, follow all the safety precautions you followed when arriving. Make sure your campsite is clean before you head out and that you have put everything back where it belongs. If you haven’t already, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back so that they can notify authorities if something goes wrong.
Although nothing can protect you 100% from a theft or encounter with wildlife, these simple precautions will help you have an enjoyable camping trip. Be smart and think before you act – your belongings are not worth putting yourself in harm’s way for. The vast majority of people who camp are responsible, respectful and considerate so your risk of an incident is minimal even without taking these extra steps. Happy camping!