Did that Bear take your backpack? Camping Safety Tips — Part 2

This is Part 2 of my series on Camping Safety.  If you want to find out about bears, ticks and other safety info, Click on this link to see Part 1 of the series.  You will also have to Click on this link if you want to find out if the Bear took my backpack.

Some of the information for this article was taken out of the ebook A Beginner’s Guide to Camping.  This guide covers all of the basic information needed to prepare for your camping trip.

8 Camping Safety Tips (Part 2)

river preparation

Temperature related illness

Both cold and warm environments have the potential to cause serious problems while camping. I have an old friend who has no toes on his right foot due to a severe case of frost bite he acquired hiking in the Cascade Range of Oregon.

We have all most likely had some type of heat related illness over the years. The cases that turn from mild to severe are the ones we hear about most often.

Take a look at what Web Md has listed for major symptoms of heat related illness so you can be aware of what to look for.

A couple of easy things you can do to prevent heat related illness are drink lots of fluids, stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day and wear lightweight clothing.

Avoidance of hypothermia and other cold related illnesses is as important and life threatening as the heat. The Mayo Clinic uses the acronym C.O.L.D or Cover, Overexertion, Layers and Dry. Make sure to cover all body parts with clothing including head and hands. Don’t do an activity that makes you sweat, wear loose fitting layered clothing and stay dry.

This link from the Mayo Clinic provides detailed information for hypothermia prevention.

Both cold and heat illness can be life threatening so be aware while out there and prepare in advance so you don’t develop these symptoms. It is too late in many cases once you realize you have the symptoms to turn things around.

Getting Lost

I have this old story that I have told a bunch of times about when I got lost as a kid deer hunting on one of our river trips. Looking back on it now I realize it wasn’t that big of a deal, but to a 10 year old it was pretty scary. We all have different comfort levels when outdoors and exploring nature so prepare your kids and friends accordingly.

In order to avoid getting lost while camping and hiking it’s a good idea to do a little pre trip preparation. Having and knowing how to use a GPS unit and understanding how to read maps and use a compass is important. Let someone at home know where you are going and when you will be back and have a plan if they don’t hear from you.  This article has some additional information to help prepare for the next big trip.

Here is some detailed information from REI on how to avoid and deal getting lost while outdoors.

If you do get lost, don’t make it worse by continuing to walk indefinitely. Stop where you are, especially if it’s getting dark, and wait for help to arrive. You should always carry a survival kit, with a survival blanket and lighting material to get a fire started.


Water hazards

The trips I always look forward to most are the boating trips each year. There is something about being on the water with all of your gear for a week long trip.

Load up the boat in the morning then jump in for a nice float and a nice camp that evening.  I have my annual deer hunting float in a few weeks that I have done since I was a yound kid.  Even though this is a regular trip I still respect the river and potential dangers.

Even though river trips can seem pretty mild at times, the danger’s never range to far away because water is such a dynamic medium. For this reason, people drown every year in locations that just make you ask why or how could it have happened?

Take a look at this link to help prepare for your next river trip.

There are a few easy things you can do to stay safe while on the river. Stay sober and wear a life jacket are as simple as it gets and would probably save 90% of the water deaths out there each year. If you want to take it a step further, take a class that teaches water safety or take a swimming class to improve your skills.

Here is some additional information from the red cross on water safety.

Campfire Safety

Having a campfire is an amazing joy when out camping. I can just sit there for hours looking, feeding, listening and cooking on it. Like a toddler, a campfire is a living breathing thing and can get out of control in an instant. There are a few things you can do to stay safe while enjoying a campfire.

The first thing you need to do is find out if fires are permitted where you are camping. There are good alternatives to having a campfire. Even a nice candle in place of a campfire can be a pretty cool thing on a dark evening. Using a citronella candle can keep the mosquitos away. If fires are allowed, you should use a fire pit already in place. Make sure there are not any tree branches or dry grass near the fire.

Here are a few tips from smoky.

If you create your own campfire pit, you should dig a hole at least a foot deep, place a ring of rocks around it, and remove any grass in the area. It’s a good idea to keep your fire small and under control at all times. When putting your fire out, make sure to put water on it, stir the coals, and then put more water it.

Camp Photos


So that finishes off our quick series on camping safety and the 8 tips to help make your next camping trip safe.  Get your copy of A Beginner’s Guide to Camping to see additional safety information and resources to help plan for your next camping trip.

Let me know what your biggest camping safety concern is by leaving a comment below or through email.

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