Camping is a multi-Billion dollar industry in North America alone, and almost every campground, from Federal Parks to commercial campgrounds are full, or close to it, on almost every weekend from late May through to early September. But, before leaving for your camping trip, there are many things that must be checked, for safety’s sake as well as for ensuring that everything you need is working properly and packed.
A safety checklist before leaving on a camping trip should include, but not be limited to;
* Learn your new gear. Especially when your gear uses chemicals (chemical toilets), gasoline or camp fuels (generators, tent heaters and camp stoves), you should make sure that you know how to use them safely before leaving your home for the great, wild outdoors. Read the manufacturer’s safety and operating manuals, and follow them point by point. There is a reason these instructions are included with your gear, and that is that they are the safest way to operate your gear without having accidents or explosions. Try using your new gear outside, in a well ventilated area, until you are proficient in using them safely.
* Vehicle maintenance and repairs. The one thing that can really ruin a camping trip, or any vacation, is to have your vehicle break down on the way. A lot of extra money and time are wasted due to not properly maintaining your vehicle. Make sure that your tires are all in very good condition, of the same model and size, and inflated to the same pressure.
You should have your brakes, transmission, steering and ignition systems checked by a garage that is certified for working on your vehicle‘s make. Make sure that your spark plugs, rotor and spark plug wires have under 5,000 miles on them, and if not, have them replaced. Have an oil and filter change, and get the vehicle safety inspection. If there are any significant problems on the safety report, have them repaired.
* First aid kits. Bring at least two different first aid kits; one for the vehicle, and one for the campground. For the vehicle, there should be road safety flares, pop-up reflective pylons, first aid safety guide and a packaged automobile first aid kit. For camping, aside from the pre-packaged outdoors first aid kit, you should have bug repellent and after-bite lotion, aspirin, tweezers and a first aid guide. Knowledge of CPR is suggested.
* Make sure you know how to set everything up. Before leaving the home, you should make sure that you know how to set up and use everything that you are bringing. Knowing how to properly set up your tent can save you some embarrassment, as well as your tent. Some of the newer tents have extra components, from electrical outlets to lights, from flies to footprint tarps, and installing them wrong can cause problems. Not installing your tent properly could see it flying away during a high wind gust, even with small children inside it.
* Bug tent and tarpaulins. Tarpaulins can be used as wind and rain repellents.A bug tent is very useful for a comfortable dining experience, for preparing meals and for playing cards or board games outside of the sleeping tents.
* Bring lots of duct tape. Duct tape is of the camper’s best friends, and can be used for many safety issues, as well as for temporarily fixing things until they can be properly fixed or replaced, like tent walls, linings, zippers and floors.
And, as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young famously sang to us since the 1960’s, “Teach your children well”. Before leaving on a camping trip, teach your children what they can and can not do, the importance of listening to their elders when outdoors in a strange place, and that they can not leave the campsite unattended.
Using common sense, as well as following all user’s guides and manuals, you should have a safe and fun camping experience.
Camp safe. Camp informed.