It doesn’t matter what time of year you plan on heading out, where you plan on going or how you plan on doing it (tent or RV), there are precautions you need to take to ensure your trip is as safe as possible.
1. Do Your Research
Before ever heading out you need to do some research on the area you will be heading out to. This may sound a little bit boring but by doing so, it will help to determine what you need to be taking with you. Are there going to be any animals or bugs you need to be prepared against? What will the weather be like? Are you allowed to make campfires where you’re going, or forage and trap food? These are the kinds of questions that you need to be getting the answers too.
2. Prepare a First Aid Kit
You can purchase a ready-made first aid kit but to be fair it will work out cheaper to buy the items separately from a pound/dollar store. The items you need to include at a minimum are:
- Band Aids and bandages of various sizes
- Cotton swabs
- Safety pins
- Sterile gauze pads
- Antibiotic cream
- Aspirin or Ibuprofen
- Eye drops
- Antibiotic soap
- Moleskin for blisters
- Small pair of scissors
- Heat and cold packs
- Pocket first aid manual
- Mirror and magnifying glass
3. Protection From the Sun
Most people likely head out on their camping trips when they know there is going to be plenty of sunshine. It is incredibly important that you take some simple steps to protect yourself and your children from the damaging UV rays. You should make sure that you do the following:
- Always wear sunscreen – you shouldn’t wait until you are already out in the sun to apply sunscreen. Apply it 30 minutes before you plan on going out into the sunlight and reapply as needed throughout the day. Your sunscreen should have an SPF of at least 15 and UV and UVB protection.
- Wear your hat – wide brimmed hats that shade the ears and neck are best.
- Wear your sunglasses – I don’t like wearing sunglasses but they are important to protect from the UV rays.
- Spend time in the shade – it isn’t a good idea to try and spend all day in the sunlight. Try to break your day up so that some of your activities are done in the shade also.
4. Camping Food Safety
There is a good chance that you will have a range of different types of foods that you will be taking on your camping trip that can either be eaten as it is or cooked. No matter what you take, you still need to follow some simple rules for food safety. You don’t want your camping trip ruined by getting ill.
- Keep perishable food cool which you can easily do with the use of a cooler
- Follow proper sanitation procedures
- Keep all snacks in waterproof bags
- Wash all fruits and vegetables in water that is safe to consume
- Always wash your hands and surface area before preparing foods. Again, use water that is safe to consume
- Always keep raw foods separate from cooked foods
- When cooking meats, make sure they are cooked right through and to the correct internal temperature
- Refrigerate uncooked food and chill cooked foods promptly.
5. Camping Water Safety
It is easy to take a supply of water with you on your camping trip but if supplies run low, you need to know how to find water as well as make it safe for human consumption. You have a few sources for water collection in the outdoors which include:
- Rain – lowest risk of bacterial infection and easily collected.
- Rivers, lakes, streams – look for clear flowing water. These are however, the most susceptible to contamination.
- Morning dew – easily collected on to a cloth which can then be wrung out in to a container. Will be a lot of work to make it worthwhile.
- Plant transpiration – tie a bag around a whole branch of leaves to trap the water.
- Make a solar still – Dig a hole 3ft by 2ft, dig a smaller hole where your canister can fit easily. Place the plastic and keep it in place with some rocks. After that, place a small rock or weight in the middle of the plastic to create an inverted cone over the container to collect water.
Once you have collected your water you need to purify it to make it safe to drink. If you have fire then boiling the water is one of the most effective ways of purifying water. You should boil the water for at least one minute or use water purification tablets that contain iodine, halazone, or chlorine.
6. Outdoor Safety
The main thing that you need to keep an eye out for are any warning or danger signposts and make sure that you obey them. Those signs are there for a reason, your safety! A few more things to remember:
- Never try to feed wild animals
- Do not wander off the trails
- Keep an eye out for any dangerous animals such as snakes and bears.
7. Keeping Safe Around the Wildlife
Wild animals, no matter how cute they may be should always be treated with caution. Some are dangerous and you should never allow yourself to let your guard down. If you have children it is especially important that you educate them on the dangers posed by wild animals. Some point to remember:
- Never try to get too close to a wild animal. It is not just about the dangers they may pose but also the diseases that they may carry.
- If you come across a mother and its young, never try to get between them. Just like humans, animals will do anything to protect their young.
- We mentioned this above but never try to feed a wild animal. This even includes birds as foods that are safe for humans can be very harmful to the health of an animal.
- Keep all your food in storage containers hung from trees to keep it out of reach of many wild animals. Never store it in your tent!
8. Campfire Safety Tips
If you have done your initial research on the area that you will be camping you should already know whether or not you are allowed to make a campfire. This section will assume that you are allowed and share some practical tips to keep yourself safe.
- Use only the wood from the area where you are camping and building the fire. Wood from other areas can carry diseases and insects
- Build your campfire in a ring made of rocks
- Clear the ground of anything that can ignite such as dead leaves and dry grass
- Have a shovel and water close by to extinguish the fire after you have finished with it and help to control the fire when lit
- Never leave your campfire unattended
- Keep all flammable items including camp furniture away from the campfire
9. Final Thoughts
We can give you all the safety tips possible but when it comes down to it, it is mostly about using your common sense. Plan and prepare ahead of time in order to gather together the needed supplies and knowledge that can ensure your camping trip is both a safe and fun experience for everyone.