It’s no use going out into the wilderness if you don’t come back.
Read this quick guide on basic camp safety to learn tips, tactics and resources to stay safe when you’re out there.
With a little information, you’ll be better prepared for your next camp or hike.
Seeing a bear on the trail is equal parts terrifying and exhilarating.
Staying safe is the most important thing.
While bear encounters happen often, bear attacks are relatively rare.
A few guidelines and resources to stay safe in bear country:
Many people encounter bears, few are attacked. But it does happen.
Also known as mountain lions, pumas and panthers.
Encounters with these big cats are even rarer than bear encounters. But the same principles apply.
Make your presence known and they will almost always avoid you.
Hypothermia and heat stroke are dangerous but avoidable.
Follow these tips to avoid cold weather trouble before it starts.
Keep an eye out for these signs, both for yourself and for other campers.
During the later stages of hypothermia, a person no longer feels cold, and death can result. See the signs before it gets to that point.
If you notice any of the above signs, do something about it immediately.
Possible treatments include:
Stay cool by wearing the right clothes and hiking at the right times of day.
Keep your eyes out for any of these signs among people in your group.
They could be signs of heat exhaustion:
If you notice any of the above signs of heat stress, it’s time to do something about it.
Hypothermia, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be deadly.
Wear the right gear, stay hydrated and know the signs. Act immediately to keep yourself and your fellow campers safe.
The 2 major dangers from campfires are the possibility of wildfire and burn injuries to campers.
Stay safe from both with the guidelines below.
Before you go, make sure you know the fire rules in your camping area.
In certain areas and at certain times of year all fires are prohibited.
There’s a good reason for this. Don’t cheat the rules and risk starting a wildfire.
Some areas will not allow campfires but will allow you to use a camp stove. Find out the rules before you go and learn how your camp stove works.
It’s no use to carry a stove to your campsite and realize you’re missing a component to use it safely.
If you do light a campfire, make sure it is fully extinguished before you bed down for the night and before you leave the campsite.
To make sure it’s out:
Use the same precautions with your camp stove as you would with a campfire. Don’t burn when extremely windy.
Clear the area around the fire from all flammable debris (leaves and twigs) and never use any fire in or near tents or hammocks.
Stay safe from burns by using extra awareness around fire.
Keep the area around your campfire free of trip hazards.
Take a look at your campsite.
Does a natural traffic pattern (like from the tent to the picnic table) cross near the fire? Consider moving the tent so campsite traffic flows around and not across the fire area.
When bringing a camp stove, make sure you know how to use it before you head out. Most injuries happen when changing the canister. Read your instructions so you know how to do it right.
Before lighting your stove, check for leaks that may have developed in transport.
Campfires (and hot food from camp stoves) are part of the fun of camping.
Respecting fire and taking extra care around it will keep you and the wilderness around you safe.
Should you ever lose your way when camping or backpacking, it will be 1,000 times easier to find you if rescue workers know where to look.
This is why you absolutely have to leave checkin information with friends, relatives and/or park officials.
Even if you think it will just be a short trip, even if you are car camping. Storms, vehicle failures, dead cell phones — any number of things can happen.
You are much safer if you tell people your plans.
GPS devices are excellent tools. Learn to use your particular model and be sure the map of the area you’re exploring is downloaded onto your device before you go (in case you don’t have a signal).
Just remember, electronic devices can die or become damaged.
If you’re backpacking, you might also consider getting a satellite communicator. It’ll keep you in touch with the folks back home and can be used to signal for help should the need arise.
Carrying a basic first aid kit is a good first step.
Knowing basic first aid is a good second step.
To really stay safe out there, consider taking a course on wilderness first aid offered by the Red Cross, a local store, or your local community college.
Not only will you know what to do in an emergency, that knowledge will help keep you calm. A level head improves the outcome of any difficult situation.
Hopefully no calamity will strike and you can simply enjoy your time camping and hiking in the great outdoors.
Being prepared, avoiding danger and knowing what to do will set your mind at ease and make the time you spend in the wild significantly more satisfying.
How about you? Is there anything we missed? Any tips you have for camping safety?
We’d love to hear about it!
After spending 5 years testing gear, meeting people and exploring his home state of Colorado with his wife, Andrej realized something about the outdoor industry. Mostly, that it was complicated. Andrej set out to create no-nonsense gear that was just as easy to use as it was reliable. He recruited a team of wilderness professionals and educators and hit the drawing board. The result was simple gear that you could trust, with specs you understood. Now he’s inspiring others to get out there and explore, by giving them the confidence to trust both themselves and the gear they use.