This summer is a great opportunity to get outside and connect with nature by going on a camping trip. Camping offers a unique opportunity to escape the typical day-to-day life and immerse yourself in nature. However, it’s important to remember that escaping the city and running to the wilderness presents unique safety risks and hazards. Whether you’re an experienced camper or a novice, planning for safety should be a top priority for your next trip.
Choosing a Campsite
A good camping trip starts with a great campsite. Sticking with an established campground with designated camping areas is ideal for most people. These sites generally offer basic amenities for a comfortable stay without taking away the charm that comes with a typical camping trip. Some campsites offer potable water, bathrooms, showers, fire pits, and tent platforms. Decide which amenities are important to you and choose a campsite accordingly. Conversely, backcountry camping would require campers to bring all their amenities with them.
Plan and Prepare
Research your camping area taking note of its rules and regulations, vehicle accessibility, and cell phone service coverage. Create a checklist of essential items to bring such as a first aid kit, appropriate clothing, and plenty of food and water. Physical navigation tools like a map and compass can be especially useful if you can’t rely on your phone at your campsite. Backcountry campers should check ahead of time and secure any necessary permits for overnight stays.
Setting up Camp
After clearing your site of rocks, debris, and potential fire hazards, pitch your tent on level ground with at least 15 feet of space between the fire pit. Secure your tent using stakes and guylines, and have your tent’s rain cover on hand in case of inclement weather.
Storing Food Safely
Properly storing food is crucial to prevent attracting wildlife to your campsite and to minimize your risk of encounters with bears and other animals. Many campsites, especially in bear populated regions like California, provide bear boxes where campers can store their food securely. Make sure all food or toiletries with a strong scent are stored inside. Many wild animals, including bears, have an acute sense of smell and can be attracted to the faintest odors.
Food should be properly sealed and placed in appropriate containers or a cooler. An ice filled cooler is a great place to keep perishable items separate from other food items to prevent foodborne illnesses.
Check the weather forecast before your trip and be prepared for changing conditions. The weather can be unpredictable, so it’s best to plan for a variety of different situations. Pack appropriate clothing and gear suitable for cold weather, rain, and shine. Consider bringing a canopy to provide shelter during the rain and shade from the sun.
When working with nature, the unforeseeable is always looming around the corner. Campers should be prepared for emergencies by packing a basic first aid kit. Familiarize yourself with your first aid kit and know how to use the supplies. Some basic first aid kit supplies you should have include:
- Compress dressings
- Adhesive bandages
- Gauze bandage
- Roller bandage
- Antibiotic ointment
- Antiseptic wipes
- Cold compress
At a campground, familiarize yourself with the ranger’s location so you know where to find them in an emergency.
Getting to the Campsite Safely
Plan your route to the campsite and familiarize yourself with the directions. Take note of any potential road closures, construction zones, hazardous areas, or unpaved roads that may affect your route. When going to particularly remote locations, roads may not be accessible all year to make sure to research and plan ahead.
Driving to the campsite is surprisingly one of the most dangerous aspects of camping. Many drivers are not used to operating their vehicle weighed down by hundreds of pounds of gear and fail to navigate new and challenging unkempt roads on the way to their site. According to the lawyers at Rose, Klein, and Marias, an attorney can help drivers recover damages caused by an accident due to poor road design or construction negligence. It’s important to consult with a lawyer if you suspect your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence.
Create a Memorable Trip!
Camping is about experiencing new things, connecting with nature, and creating memories. With these safety tips in mind, you are well prepared to take on the great outdoors and embark on your adventure. Safe travels and happy camping!