Is Camping Unsafe? 8 Guidelines for Safety

Is Camping Unsafe? 8 Guidelines for Safety

Even though many people like camping, there are risks to be aware of.

Due to bad weather, poor terrain, and active wildlife life, camping might be unsafe. Despite this, just 1% of campers actually suffer fatal injuries as a result of these risks. Even so, adopting the required safety steps can guarantee your safety and allow you to enjoy your time outdoors.

Camping can be a fun and affordable way to spend time outside, but everyone who goes camping should be aware of the risks that could hurt them. We’ll go through some of the most typical risks associated with camping and how to be ready for them.

Weather

When organizing a camping vacation, the weather is a crucial factor to consider. Even while camping under excellent conditions is not the only way to go, it is crucial to safeguard yourself from the risks that come with poor weather.

Wind

Surprisingly, one of the scariest weather conditions you experience while camping is wind. Your campground could be seriously endangered by the wind alone. Tents can be blown over by strong winds if they are not properly staked down. You risk getting hurt or being unable to leave if dead trees that are still standing are combined with the wind and fall over onto you, your tent, or your car.

In June 2013, a tree fell on a tent housing a man and his wife in Manitoba, Quebec. The guy was killed and his wife was hurt when the tree was uprooted by the abnormally strong winds.

Your fire pit is even more hazardous than your tent blowing through your campsite. Strong winds in a campsite can cause a fire to spread out of control because they can send sparks flying in all different directions, endangering anything nearby. Even hot embers from a recently put out fire can be picked up by the wind and blown onto your tent or any adjacent trees and vegetation. Wildfires started by humans are relatively frequent.

Even if there are no heavy winds predicted, you should still be prepared to enjoy a safer camping vacation.

  • Do not pitch your tent close to rotten or dead trees. The possibility of trees falling on you at night will be largely eliminated by doing this.
  • Make sure to anchor your tent down correctly and, if necessary, secure it to surrounding trees.
  • Before settling for the night, make sure your fire is completely out to ensure that no embers or hot ash are caught in the wind.

Lightning

Although lightning is not as frequent as severe winds, it is nevertheless crucial to understand how it can still endanger you. Fortunately, just one in ten people who are struck by lightning die, accounting for 1% of the over 1000 rain-related deaths in 2017.

The greatest thing to do to prevent getting hit by lightning when camping is to choose a place that puts you out of harm’s way. Large structures, cars with metal roofs, and caves are some of the finest places to seek safety during a storm.

  • If lightning strikes a large building, the electricity will typically be routed through the building and away from you because large buildings typically have plumbing and electrical systems flowing through them. In case lightning is passing through the building’s pipes or wires, an additional precaution that should be taken is to avoid metal faucets and wires.
  • Surprisingly safe to be in during a lightning storm are metal-topped automobiles. If lightning were to strike the car, the metal body would conduct the current around you rather than through you. Avoid touching the doors or the steering wheel because lightning can hurt you if it passes through them.
  • Even if caves aren’t always prevalent where you’re camping, if one does exist and it’s deep, you should seek shelter there to avoid being struck by lightning. For maximum security, make sure you can’t see the entryway.

Flooding

Camping during a flood can be really frightening. Flooding can put you and your property in danger and increase your risk of drowning. Flash floods are a particular risk when camping in the desert. It’s possible for flash floods to strike so suddenly that you won’t even realize what hit you until you and your possessions have been washed away.

Consider leaving camp early if it is raining extremely heavily.

Make sure to choose your campground wisely because flooding may make it impossible for you to return home. Choose a location a little higher up where you can set up. If possible, avoid erecting your tent in a ravine or canyon because they are more prone to get inundated. Consider abandoning camp early if there is very heavy rain.

Terrain

Whether you stay safe when camping or not can be greatly influenced by the terrain. This category of dangers includes certain weather-related risks like flooding and lightning, but you may better avoid such risks by understanding how to navigate the area where you are camping.

Roads

The roads you are driving on can put you in danger before you even get to your campsite. Be cautious by limiting your speed and maintaining concentration when travelling on perilous mountain roads. A automobile travelling too quickly runs the risk of veering off the road and rolling off a precipice.

Water

Even though the risks of flooding have already been discussed, it is wise to be reminded of the risks of having too much water in your camp. Aim to stay away from rushing water when setting up camp. This will lessen your risk of hypothermia by keeping the temperature around you warmer. Your campsite is less prone to flood if it is farther away from water sources. Playing in the water during the day might be enjoyable, but staying away from it is safer.

Additionally, it is simple to misjudge the current’s speed. Avoid immersing yourself in water if at all possible, particularly if the water level is greater than usual.

Cliffs

Whether you are camping next to a cliff or simply hiking on it, cliffs may be highly dangerous. Cliff ledges should never be approached. You never know when a wind gust or clumsy partner can throw you off balance and push you over the edge. A cliff could suddenly collapse under you, irrespective of how secure it appears to be. Avoiding edges and having a friend by your side who can assist you in case of trouble are both wise decisions.

A University of Kentucky student went down a cliff on May 5, 2021. She was hiking by herself and filming herself quite closely to a cliff’s edge. She slipped off the edge of the trail because it was wet. She died as a result of the mishap. You can increase your safety by hiking close to cliffs in a group or with friends. Keep a greater distance from edges than appears required because anything can happen there.

Animals

In any setting, animals can pose a serious threat to anyone going camping. Numerous species of animals, both those that appear harmless or are less frequently discussed, are also known to be harmful.

Snakes

Any camping in the region is at serious risk from snakes. It is crucial to continually be on the lookout for these reptiles because they can be found in a variety of environments and habitats. Even while not all snakes are poisonous, it is still best to avoid them altogether to avoid the possibility of suffering severe injuries. Even though only 6 out of every 8,000 snake bites are fatal, it is nevertheless crucial to take all necessary precautions.

You’ll be fine if you maintain your composure and follow the proper protocol after being bitten by a snake.

Here’s what you should do if a snake bites you or someone you’re camping with:

  • Don’t panic the victim. By maintaining your composure, the venom will pass through your body considerably more slowly, giving you more time to treat the bite.
  • Reduce blood flow by keeping the bite region below the level of the heart.
  • Prior to cleansing the bite with water, make careful to take off any jewelery that may be close to the bite.
  • As quickly as you can, visit a hospital or emergency room.

You’ll be fine if you maintain your composure and follow the proper protocol after being bitten by a snake.

Bears

Especially in wooded locations, bears are one of the animals about which campers are frequently warned. It is crucial to take measures and know what to do if a bear is encountered because there are 40 bear assaults reported year throughout the world. Here is a summary of our in-depth post on the precautions you should take to stay safe against bear attacks:

  • Do not keep food or fragrant items in your tent. The likelihood that a bear will try to enter your tent while you are sleeping will be significantly decreased if you keep the items that it will smell and seek.
  • Keep the camp tidy. This include washing or discarding any dishes, paper, or other odor-producing materials and making sure that all used grills are cleaned. Any scents that a bear might be drawn to should not be left behind.
  • Hang your supplies from a tree. It may sound strange, but securing your food 10 to 15 feet up in a tree will prevent a bear from getting to it and causing a mess around your campsite. Making a mess could draw additional bears or other unwelcome scavengers. When you don’t have the luxury of keeping these items in your car or camper, this approach works best.
  • Put all rubbish in dumpsters that are bear-proof. Never leave any form of food waste in your fire pit, on the ground, or in the ground.

Do not panic or run away if you do manage to come across a bear. They might attack if they believe you are their prey as a result of this. Instead, heed these instructions to keep yourself safe when around a wild bear.

  1. In order for the bear to recognize you as a human, identify yourself and wave your arms slowly.
  2. Keep your cool and refrain from jerky movements or shrill noises. To avoid making the bear feel threatened, speak to it quietly and calmly. Keep your cool if the bear stands up since curious bears frequently do so.
  3. Travel together. Large gatherings are noisy and odorous to bears. The likelihood is that they will avoid a group because it is frequently larger than the bear.
  4. Don’t feed the bear because doing so will encourage it to remain where it is. Keep your bag on; it protects you and keeps the bear away from your food.
  5. Slowly and gradually back away. Keep your ground if the bear pursues. Avoid climbing trees since grizzly and black bears can do so.
  6. Either depart the area or let the bear go. In order to prevent the bear from feeling confined and attacking you, always leave a clear exit for it.

Plant

Unbelievably, plants can pose a serious threat to campers. Although plants can’t act on their own, some of them can get careless campers into a lot of trouble. Every year, whether they are camping or not, plants injure at least 50 million Americans.

When hiking or camping in areas with poisonous plants, proceed with the utmost caution.

Berries

Avoid eating wild berries unless you are an expert at determining their safety. Even if you observe other animals eating them, you should never consume any wild berries that you come upon. Animals’ digestive systems differ from humans’, thus even if something is healthy for a squirrel to eat, it might be quite dangerous for a human.

Leaves

Aside from berries, a number of plants can seriously irritate your skin or endanger you. Stinging nettles, poison oak, poison sumac, and poison ivy should all be carefully avoided. At best, exposure to these plants will result in a severe rash, and at worst, an allergic reaction that might make it difficult to breathe. When hiking or camping near these plants, proceed with the utmost caution.

Conclusion

Camping is a fun and adventurous experience but it can also be dangerous. In case you are looking to enjoy the outdoors with your loved ones, make sure that you follow some safety measures before leaving.
For instance, never leave valuables or important documents in your car while camping. Also, keep an eye on small children as they might get scared easily while exploring new places and might start wandering off if they’re lost or feel unsafe. When all these precautions are taken into account, you should be able to have a great time during your next camping trip!


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