A camping trip can be one of the best adventures you and your family takes this summer. Teaching your kids how to handle the great outdoors, exploring nature, hiking, fishing, and family bonding are just some of the ways camping is one of the more enjoyable activities around. Whether you’re a camping novice or you have a bit of experience, it’s vital that you practice proper camping safety. Here are some tips to ensure you and your family have a fun, safe adventure.
Pack to protect against extremes
A lot can happen, weather wise, on a camping trip. Days can be hot and nights can be cold. A pop-up thunderstorm can soak your entire campsite in minutes. When packing for your trip, think about all that could happen and prepare for it. For extreme heat, three essential items to have in your pack are sunscreen, a portable battery-powered fan (for circulating air inside a tent), and excess hydration (potable water, gatorade, and electrolyte replacement supplements).
Prepare for the fact that even warm days can turn to cold nights in the woods. Make sure you pack enough bedding or clothes to protect against the chill. Extremities are the first things to get cold, so gloves and extra socks are a must. Always bring a tent with a rain fly to wick water away from the tent and bring ground cover (a tarp) to place your tent on, so that water will not seep up through the bottom of the tent.
Practice proper hiking safety
Most families who camp will want to venture out for a hike at some point. It’s vital that you know proper hiking safety - especially if you’re taking the kids.
Hiking tip #1: always carry a pack. You never know how long you’ll be out on a hike and what elements you may encounter while out there. Your basic hiking pack should include a first aid kit, extra provisions and water, and a GPS device. If you’re hiking in an area known to have bears, packing some bear mace wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Hiking tip #2: stick together. It’s pretty simple. Practice the buddy system.
Hiking tip #3: invest in proper footwear and beware of slick surfaces. Hiking boots offer good grip. Muddy and moss-covered rocks and wood is very slick and can lead to twisted ankles, trips, and in worst-case scenarios, falls from high places.
Hiking tip #4: try to stay on marked hiking trails. Off-trail hiking can be fun if you are experienced, but when you have kids it’s best to stay on the beaten path. The chances of getting lost or being hurt by thorns or rough terrain increases greatly when you try to hack your way through an unkempt trail.
Mind the fire
Practicing proper campfire safety isn’t just to prevent burns and accidents - it’s also important because it decreases the risk of forest fires. Always build your campfire at least 10 feet away from vegetation, chairs, and your tent. Always have water and/or dirt nearby to help put out unruly fires. Always build a rock circle around your fire to contain it. Always put out a fire before you leave it.
There are plenty of summer dangers that lurk in the forest, and taking a camping trip exposes you and your family to some of them - there’s no getting around that. But if you practice good camping etiquette, enjoying the great outdoors is actually a relatively safe family activity. Protect against the elements, hike safely, and mind your fire and you’ll be just fine.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
Jamie Strand is an unashamed nerd. He teaches community college and loves spending time with his two daughters. He wants to share his love of camping, science and math with kids today and that’s why he and a friend got together to create Scicamps.