Camping is fun, but it can be dangerous as well. In my life, I have seen enough dangerous situations with both good and bad outcomes. In this post, I will overview the basics of safe camping. It is Camping Safety 101 if you want. Let’s go.
Common Sense is Advisable
Yeah, yeah, this is obvious. Were they also using their common sense?
Going camping, wherever you go, is going to a foreign territory. Do you always feel safe in our neighborhood? If so, I am glad for you, but you can never be 100% sure you are safe when you pitch your tent in the middle of the woods.
Use your common sense and avoid risky moves like pitching the tent right by the large riverbank on the edge of a cliff.
Be Prepared for Anything
Many people a day every year in nature. Most of them-in the mountains. If you go mountain camping, be very careful. Weather in the mountains can change in a snap. Two years ago I had an incident in Sierra Nevada Mountains. I went trekking alone and was preparing for the night when the storm came. It was short but powerful. It nearly ripped my tent apart. Glad I set up my camp spot 30 feet away from the huge cave. I simply took my backpack and ran for cover. After 40 minutes the storm was over and I was safe.
We are feeling ourselves comfortably in our civilized world and get hypnotized by the comforts of our everyday life. When you go to nature, you must become one with it. You must have your senses sharper than ever.
What unexpected situations may you get into while camping?
- The storm – Not only the storm but the lighting storm as well. This one is especially dangerous. I will be covering this topic separately in my later posts.
- Wild animals, Big and small – The bear is dangerous and the snake or a mosquito in some areas can be similarly dangerous.
- Avalanches and landslides – If you are camping in the mountains or nearby, have these two things in mind. Plan to set up your camp spot so that possible avalanches or landslides would not reach you.
- Rapid floods – These are especially dangerous in early spring on in places with volcanoes. They literally pop out of nowhere and take everything down on their way. When setting up a campsite, take a look at the river, listen to the forecast and always stay further away from rapid streams.
- People – Yes, other people. Not everyone is friendly these days. Once I had to fight 3 drunk fishermen. They did not know I was a marine but found out it soon. If you go camping alone, be sure you can protect yourself. Carry at least a gas spray.
- Fire – Don’t play with it. Always be careful setting up a fireplace. Keep it away from your tent. At least 10 feet. Always keep in mind that winds may change. Don’t get too close to the fire with your sleeping bag. It has a synthetic shell, therefore, it will burn instantly if catches fire.
First Aid Kit
It helps to have the first aid kit prepared. It doesn’t have to be large. You will not have space for that. It has to carry essential things though. What should you pack for your camping first aid kit?
- Medicine that you use on a daily basis
- Alcohol swabs
- Two roll bandages
- A pair of scissors
- Bug repellent spray or roll-on
- Water-resistant band-aids
- Painkiller tablets
- Moleskin for blisters
- Antiseptic fluid
- Snake bit kit
- Bee bit kit
This is the basic checklist. If you are going car-camping, I suggest you take the full first aid kit. In the car or RV, it takes up relatively little space. In case you need it, you won’t regret that you took it.
Have it all in a water-resistant package (a simple plastic bag will do).
Share Your Plans
This is very important. Even very experienced hikers get lost. Some of them die. We don’t want that. Always tell your family or friends where you are and where are you going next. If you are traveling in places where there are visitor centers or other checkpoints, always, always check yourself in. In some places, there is a possibility to check in online. Don’t miss this possibility, especially in remote places – it may save your life.
The topic of safe camping is very wide. In this post, I have covered the very basics of camping safety. Click here to read about Camping Safety Tips.