Camping is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature, but like any outdoor activity there are risks associated with camping. With proper preparation and safety precautions you can minimize these risks and have a safe and enjoyable camping trip.
Make sure you pack a well-stocked first aid kit. This should contain bandages, first aid creams and ointments to treat common camping injuries such as blisters, sunburn and insect bites. A fully stocked kit can also help you cope with more serious medical incidents until you can be transported to a hospital.
Be aware of your surroundings and follow local rules for outdoor fires. Only use designated fire rings for campfires and keep the area around your campsite clear of any flammable materials such as leaves or brush. Always keep a bucket of water or shovel nearby to control campfires and never leave a fire unattended. If allowed, use charcoal for cooking rather than gas-powered stoves to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Do not feed wild animals, even if they look cute and harmless. They are unpredictable and may carry diseases that can be dangerous to humans. Stay at a safe distance from all animals while camping, and use binoculars to observe them from a distance instead of getting too close for photos. Always store food in airtight, animal-proof containers and store it in an insulated cooler. Sanitize cooking stations often, and only cook foods to a safe temperature. Keep cold and cooked foods separate, and dispose of trash in a secure garbage can that is tightly sealed against wildlife.
Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes to protect yourself from ticks, mosquitoes and other insects that can cause diseases. Apply bug repellent with DEET to all exposed skin before heading out for activities. Always check your body for ticks daily, and be sure to remove them promptly as they attach.
If possible, choose a campground that is not too far from the road or busy paths. This will prevent your vehicle and gear from being stolen by opportunistic thieves. A security system is an excellent addition to any RV or tent. It can sound an alarm and turn on a light when it detects movement in the surrounding area, alerting you to potential danger.
Some campers even set up a trip wire with string and cans tied to it that will “trip” when it is activated, warning them of approaching people or animals. This is a cheap, simple and effective deterrent for thieves that can help to create a sense of security while camping in sketchy or remote areas. It is a good idea to keep friends and family members up-to-date on your camping location, and if you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any point in time, trust your instincts and leave.