Camping safety tips

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Such a variety of places to camp and types of camping that only general rules for camping safety can be outlined.  For some people, camping is staying anyplace less than the Ritz-Carlton.  For others, camping only takes place in a tent.  Those who really enjoy roughing it will think that a tent is for weaklings.  They will only camp if they can build their own shelter from what is available in nature. 

Obviously, each of these scenarios has its own set of potential hazards and safety needs. Given that most camping takes place outdoors in less-than-perfect places, some safety precautions need to be taken regardless of the type or location of the camp site.

Always have a first-aid kit available.

While you will need to customize this kit to fit specific needs for your camping trip, things like bandages, gauze, disinfectant, a flashlight, radio, and other similar supplies need to be included.  This kit should be clearly marked and kept in a place that can be easily seen and reached.  Emergency kits are not much good if you cannot find them in an emergency.  Put some extra toilet paper in this kit.  Using leaves as a substitute can bring extreme discomfort.  Some pain reliever and some type of allergy medication should be a staple in this kit.

Do not camp in truly hazardous areas unless you are well-trained or have a trained guide.

Areas are not called wild because they are safe places. Dangerous animals can be lurking about looking for an easy target.  Snakes in some places can kill you with one bite in a very brief time.  Insects and spiders can be potential sources of harm if you are not prepared or on the look out for them.  Even poisonous plants can bring you more suffering than you need or want although they are rarely fatal unless you are allergic to them.  If you are going deep into the woods or wilderness area, take along some type of map and compass.

Test all of your camping gear before heading out to camp.

While this can be considered a safety issue, it is also a common sense issue.  It is better to find a problem ahead of time than after you are miles from some place that can offer help or replacement for faulty gear.  This will give you a chance to waterproof you tent or refill propane bottles.  Make certain that you have a supply of fresh batteries. Taking along a supply of fresh food and drinking water should be a part of your plan unless it is a survival expedition.  Gather up the matches at this point so they make the trip with you.

Do not camp near natural hazardous areas.

Do not camp in areas that are prone to flash floods.  If you have children or mentally compromised people along, stay away from places that have steep cliffs or ravines.  Be careful when taking children around areas of water whether lakes or streams.  If you do not have adequate supervision for these youngsters, find a new place to camp.

Take along protection for your skin.

Three big problems happen to skin when you camp.  It can become sunburned.  In cold weather, frostbite is the issue.  Insect bites can do more than leave a blemish if you are unlucky.  Use a sunblock that has at least a 45 to 50+  SPF rating.  Out in the wild is not really the best place to work on a tan.  For cold conditions, make sure that you have adequate clothing and cover to protect you from cold wind.  Concerning insects, use citronella candles or torches to blanket the campsite against many insects and especially mosquitoes.  Using an insect repellent with a deet rating of 100 will guard against almost all mosquitoes, ticks, and body mites.

Here are some other general precautions to take.

Be careful when having a fire or cooking.  Nasty burns can spoil a camping trip.  Obey the rules of the area.  Many of these are in place to protect you and to protect others from you.  Store food away from the sleeping area.  If wild animals come looking for it, they may get it but leave you alone.  Keep foods cold that require refrigeration.  Food poisoning can also take the fun out of camping.  Only go camping with people that you really like.  The days can get long if your campmates turn into your enemies, too.

Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.

This is very important for safety.  By leaving this information with a loved one or friends, they will know when to call out help to find you if something goes wrong.  It will be very comforting if you are beyond cell phone range to know that if you cannot get out, someone is going to come looking for you.

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