The purpose of camping is getting away from the rat race. Get in touch with nature and enjoy the great outdoors. Relax or get busy with boating, fishing, canoeing, swimming, hiking, hunting, bird spotting, etc. No matter what aspect of camping you enjoy most, we all want a safe camping trip regardless of what our purpose of the trip is.
A lot of outdoor activities involve a lot of physical exercise and are thus great ways to keep fit. The opportunity for adult campers to challenge themselves when in unfamiliar surroundings and man’s desire to “push the limit” sometimes give rise to dangerous situations… and unfortunately sometimes even death.
Even relatively safe camping grounds have many dangers such as wild animals, even wilder weather – some countries are much safer of course – but I bet you wouldn’t pitch your tent in Africa without a huge campfire, rifles, and an experienced guide at hand.
Taking your children on a camping trip has benefits such as building confidence and self-sufficiency, but it comes with additional safety measures and planning.
A good preparation is half the work
The best way to have a safe camping trip is to properly plan a camping trip. I know, that sounds simplified, but it is true when you think about it. Really, if you have never camped before you should not start with a week long trip. Begin with a day-trip or two followed by an overnight trip.
This way you’ll know what to expect and you will learn what to pack. Camping is a wonderful hobby/sport and there is a major market of related products. Do some research (by reading the articles on this site) about what you need before you run out and buy state-of-the-art camping and hiking gear. If you only plan to camp one or two times per year, an inexpensive tent may work as well as the more expensive model.
Some of the basic safety concerns include:
- Insect bites
- Insect stings
- Plants that cause allergic reactions
- Exposure to heat, cold, wind, and water
- Getting lost
It is important to remember that nights get cold which is often forgotten when we’re in the comfort of our homes. It can also be very dark at night when there’s no moonlight.
We should also keep in mind that there are nocturnal animals that would love to eat our food that we brought along. This means we should store it appropriately; the trunk of your vehicle is an excellent place.
Layered clothing will provide protection against cold temperatures and can also be easily removed as needed. Always have plenty of extra socks with you when you go camping. Keeping your feet warm may be the most important element when trying to stay warm. A hat also pays off in winter time as most of your body’s heat escapes through your head.
Wear comfortable shoes! When hiking you should tuck your pant cuffs into your socks – it sure doesn’t look cool but it helps to prevent against ticks and other insects going up your leg. Also wear a cap or hat that will help to prevent insects from getting in your hair and keep the sun off your head.
Camping gear should always include a first aid kit
Camping gear is not complete without a first aid kit. You never know when you will need minor first aid.
Other essentials include:
- Water bottles
- Sleeping bag
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Matches (in waterproof container)
- Pocket Knife
- Rain gear
- Drinking water
- Insect repellent and spray
- Pocket flare
- Cell Phone
- Duct tape
- Nylon rope
Wow, that really is a long list but camping is worth the trouble and you can keep all your durable supplies in one place so it’s not that difficult to prepare for each trip. You can even create a check-list that you can use for each trip.
The one thing that I haven’t mentioned yet may be the most important. Before you leave for your camping trip be sure to tell some of your friends where you are going, being as specific as you can, and when you expect to return.
Also see our sections on Camping with Kids and Hiking Safety for additional tips on camping safety.