Camping Safety Tips
The joy of camping comes from the experience. Sleeping and spending time outdoors is peaceful, relaxing, and an amazing way to disconnect from everyday life to connect with the natural world.
Camping is one of the best ways to explore beautiful places like national parks, state parks, and locally owned campgrounds.
While it takes a little bit of planning ahead, the benefits of camping and the great outdoors are so numerous that there is no place to put all of its accolades.
What Are The Benefits of Camping?
Camping is one of the most relaxing things to do in the great outdoors and has some major benefits for our well-being.
Camping Reduces Stress
It’s a known fact that getting fresh air is good for our overall health, and taking a camping trip is the perfect way to get a great big dose of it. Being outdoors raises oxygen levels and increases serotonin in the brain, making you feel more calm and giving you a stronger sense of peace.
Camping Increases Activity
Whether it’s exploring your campsite, going for a walk through the campground, swimming, or taking a hike, spending time outside makes you want to move. Even the task of setting up camp and pitching your tent requires physical activity that you won’t get just hanging out at home.
Camping Strengthens Relationships
Bonding with the people you love is much easier when you can leave everyday tasks like work, school, chores, and technology behind, and a camping trip is the perfect setting! Camping is a great way to disconnect from responsibilities and spend time connecting with your loved ones.
Camping Builds New Skills
Camping not only requires honing skills like tent pitching and fire building, but it also encourages developing new ones. You never know when you’ll be inspired to start identifying wild berries or recognizing different species of birds in the wild or learning a new recipe using your cast iron over an open fire.
Camping Improves Mood, Sleep, and Memory
The serotonin that helps reduce stress also helps release endorphins that improve your mood and help regulate sleep. Serotonin also improves memory. Research suggests that time in nature can also help in ‘resetting’ your internal clock for a better sleep cycle.
Is Camping Dangerous?
Like any activity, camping does come with some risks and requires taking certain precautions to protect yourself. Overall, it’s not a dangerous activity. Many campers will tell you, when you’re well prepared the dangers of camping are really few and far between.
Wildlife encounters, and injuries are likely the most dangerous things you might encounter while camping. All of these can be prevented or handled with a little planning and preparedness. If are camping within a park with designated camping spots you are unlikely to run into any hazards.
The most common injuries that come from camping and generally not life-threatening. Poison ivy or poison oak, bug bites, scrapes, or burns are easily treated with basic first aid kit items, and shouldn’t deter anyone from camping.
Seeing a wild animal is another concern for many campers. In truth, wildlife are much less interested in us than we are in them. As long as your food is stored properly from bears and you respect your distance from other wildlife, the likelihood of any type of attack is small.
Camping Safety Tips
Planning ahead is the number one way to ensure a positive camping experience, and can help you avoid most of the risks of camping. There’s no reason to be afraid to sleep outside when you’ve done your due diligence to get ready.
Here are a few important camping safety tips to stay safe while camping.
- Pack For Inclement Weather
No matter what the weather forecast predicts, part of enjoying the great outdoors is being prepared for any type of weather. Night-time temperatures often drop in camping locations, so make sure you have rain gear and layers for cold weather.
- Be Prepared For Medical Emergencies
Wherever you are in the world, emergencies can happen. It will bring you peace of mind on your camping trip to take the extra precaution. Have a plan and know how you’ll call for medical assistance if the need should arise.
- Bring Your Own Water or Water Filter
Staying hydrated while camping is incredibly important. Especially for backpacking or camping in remote locations, having enough water is vital for every campsite
Bring enough of your own water and plan water sources
- Store Food Properly
Proper food storage is the number one way to reduce unwanted interaction with wildlife and keep wild animals from wandering into your campsite.
If your campground doesn’t provide bear lockers, store food and any other scented items (like toiletries) in a bear-proof container or in your locked vehicle.
- Bring Sunscreen and Insect Repellent
Sunscreen and bug spray go a long way in making camping an enjoyable activity. You don’t want to be itching or applying aloe the whole camping trip, so preventing bug bites and sunburns is key.
Bug spray will help prevent bites from mosquitos and other insects, but treating your outdoor clothes and gear with permethrin before you embark on your trip is the best way to prevent bites from ticks that may carry Lyme disease.
- Keep Fire Hazards Away From Flames
This one might seem obvious, but it’s important to never leave a fire unattended. Always fully extinguish fires before leaving a campsite or going to sleep for the night, and never walk away from your fire pit while it’s burning.
Camping gear is often made up of flammable items. The lightweight, water-resistant materials used to make camp gear aren’t made to withstand extreme heat. Ensure your fire pit is far enough away from your tent, sleeping bag, chair, and dead trees around your camp.
Tips For Camping Beginners
- Plan your first camping trip close to home — there’s nothing wrong with bailing if something doesn’t work out the first time or go with groups like MyOutdoorjoy that cater to people with moderate to no experience camping
- Test all of your gear at home first — you definitely don’t want to find out your sleeping pad doesn’t inflate or that your tent leaks in the middle of the woods.
- Start at an established campground — most of these are well-populated and have some services like bathhouses, rangers, and waste disposal.
- Join a group camping trip! Meet other campers and camp in good company with a group where you can ask questions and get advice.
The 10 Essentials for Hiking and Camping
The 10 Essentials are a list of survival items that different outdoor organizations endorse as the minimum gear required for outdoor recreation activities like hiking and camping.
Maps, GPS, and a compass for navigation are important safety items, especially when camping or hiking in the backcountry.
- Sun Protection
Sunscreen, rash guards, hats, and sunglasses all help reduce exposure to the sun and harmful UV rays that cause sunburns and skin cancer.
Weather can change at any time. Layers for rain, wind, and cold are key to staying safe in changing conditions.
Flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns are a must-have to stay safe outdoors. Pack extra batteries!
- First Aid Kit
At a minimum, your first aid kit should include band-aids, gauze, tape, gloves, scissors, tweezers, antiseptic, and pain medication like ibuprofen.
Keep matches or lighters in a dry place to use as a heat source or signal in an emergency.
- Knife or Multitool
Useful for gear repairs, first aid, and emergencies. Make sure sharp objects are stored safely in your pack or gearbox.
Bring more food than you think you’ll need for emergencies. Make sure it’s calorie dense and always have non-cook options
Staying hydrated is essential when camping. Plan for half a liter per person per hour, and know how to filter water in remote locations.
- Emergency Shelter
Tents, tarps, space blankets, or bivy sacks protect you from exposure to the elements.
Ready To Set Up Camp?
Experience nature with experts who know camping inside and out. My Outdoor Joy has organized trips to take you to the best camping and hiking locations with guides who are there to help you bridge the gap from dreaming to enjoying the outdoors.
Get exclusive benefits when you become a member of MyOutdoorJoy, like advanced registration for events, waitlist priority, and discounts on all events, classes, and trips! We’ll help you find the best campsite, practice pitching your tent, and introduce you to fellow campers who are just as excited to breathe fresh air, watch for wildlife, and kick back by the campfire.
- About the Author
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If the phrase don’t judge a book by its cover was an image, it would be me. I am an avid outdoorsman that loves to teach people about the outdoors whether its specific skills like camping or just exposing people to different outdoor activities. I have been in the skilled outdoors space for 30+ years and have been loving it forever. If not for friends, I would still be focused on my corporate career instead of focusing on the things I love to do. My goal is to hit the Scottish highlands in the next 2 years.