Camping is fun – until it’s not
With so much relaxation and fun happening around the campsite, it’s often hard to see any dangers, but they do exist. We’re in terrain we may not know, which means there are bugs, holes, and plants that seemingly appear out of nowhere when we’re not expecting them. All it takes is an allergic reaction, a sprained ankle, or abrasive thorns to ruin a camping trip. While we encourage you to have all the fun you can while camping, we also advise using caution where caution is due.
Animals and bugs
You never know how animals are going to react to the presence of people, even if you know where you’re camping. If you don’t know the area well, you can’t tell how often animals frequent the spot or what types of animals you can expect to see. But seeing animals is often easier than seeing bugs. When you’re camping, it’s always a good idea to wear insect repellent to ward off the worst of the bugs and keep your site clean. A dirty campsite is an open invitation to bears, raccoons, and an entire host of bugs that are looking for a free, easy meal.
You should keep trash far enough away from your campsite and in the proper containers. Make sure uncooked food and leftovers are locked up in your car if it’s nearby so they’re not easy to get to and the smell isn’t strong enough to draw the attention of a hungry pest.
NEVER feed wild animals. You don’t know what diseases they may carry, and you don’t want to encourage them to come to your campsite. Feeding animals is also dangerous to them, given that they could start relating humans with food and wander into the campsite of someone who doesn’t share your love for animals.
I’m not feeling so well
Plants and food aren’t just an issue for allergies; they can also cause serious illness if you’re not careful. It’s important that you know which plants in the area are poisonous and how you can easily spot them. Know how to treat an illness if it’s presented because of a plant. There’s no worse way to spend a camping trip than in a hospital, and some plants are more than happy to send you there. Another cause for concern is food that’s not properly cared for or water that’s not clean. Be sure you have a way to purify water if you’re not bringing your own, and never drink from a still body of water, as bacteria thrive there.
Speaking of bacteria, keep your food cold as long as you can with a cooler packed full of ice. If you’re carrying meat and dairy, make sure you’re able to keep them cold until they’re used.
Atmospheric conditions and your surroundings
Don’t get stuck out in the rain. Well, a little rain is fine, and a slight thunderstorm can be romantic, but keep yourself abreast of weather patterns and what to look out for. Trees can blow over, rivers and streams can flood, rain can cause mudslides that devastate landscapes, and lightning can ignite forests. While it may seem like a nice little shower, the weather can turn frightening at a moment’s notice.
Being aware goes double when it comes to your surroundings. While there’s much fun to be had at night, adventuring, exploring, and setting up your base camp should all be done during the daylight, even if you know where you’re camping. It doesn’t take much to injure yourself, and if you’re muddling around in the dark, you’re almost asking for an injury because natural surroundings change constantly in subtle ways.
Assemble your safety kit
Know what you’re up against in your chosen site, and pack accordingly. Make sure you take gear for the most common issues and have plans for how to handle disaster if it should happen. Check to see what the weather is like for the season, and know how you’re going to bug out if the going gets tough. Make sure you have batteries, phone battery backups, flashlights, blankets, and a variety of clothes in case the temperature changes rapidly.
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