Having a pleasant stay by the campfire amid the wilderness would be an excellent relief for big-city dwellers. It’s a perfect way to change scenery and leave behind the metropolitan hustle and bustle. The peacefulness and longing for pure nature in their lives are prevalent drivers for most people to set out to camp. So instead of going to resort areas full of seasonal tourists, they’ll likely opt for family trips. According to a survey made by RV Tip of the Day, about 27% of respondents consider campsites the right place to have a family vacation. 

Yet, inexperienced tourists often underestimate camping safety. Taking your family on a ride with you, you need to stay alert. Apart from your constant awareness of where everyone from your group is and what they’re up to, we advise you to keep in mind camping safety tips for beginners to ensure yourself a joyful vacation.

Why Consider Seasons in Your Camping Plans?

It’s reasonable that most campers plan their trip for a particular time of the year. If you go to national or state parks right in the middle of peak season, you’ll likely find out that the best sites are already occupied. So it would be a smart move to reserve it in advance. Typically, some parks open reservations six months before the booking date, so you should seize the opportunity to get yourself the best campground.

Finally, there’s no secret that some places offer a rather astonishing view of wildlife in certain seasons whereas visiting them other times might not be that exciting. Also, seasonal weather might affect your trip or even undermine camping safety. Blizzards, icy conditions, floods, muddy ground, or scorching heat – those challenges of nature surely don’t make camping any brighter.

Let’s define what safety tips for camping you should follow in each season.

Summer camping

Fair enough, there can’t be a more favorable season for spending time outdoors. The abundance of sunshine, warm streams, and lakes make it best to go for water activities or bask in the sun. However, it’s better not to be carried away with an ecstatic summer vibe while you’re in a secluded campground. Don’t neglect the following camping safety tips:

Screen Yourself From the Sun

Heat exhaustion and sunstrokes are common among all ages. So have moderation and give yourself a rest from the midday sun. As mentioned in our previous article, you must cover your head every time you step into the sunlight and stay hydrated. Hide under the shade of trees every hour or so.

Tan Safely

Of course, you shouldn’t forget about camping safety while sunbathing. Sunscreen lotions are your primary measure to avoid sunburn. But additionally, you might need to put on a lip screen for complete protection.

Most certainly, seeking shade won’t be a problem if your RV or tent camp is nearby. But as the general camping safety tip for beginners, we advise you to place beach canopies of umbrellas next to you. That’s the best option to shelter yourself at no time.

Keep Perishables Away from Heat

That’s one of the crucial safety tips for camping, as digestive disorders and intestinal infections are common during summertime outdoor meals. All dairy and creamy products, fresh fish, and meat must remain cool in a fridge or freezer bag. 

We strongly recommend you not to keep any perishable food in high heat for more than 4 – 5 hours. If you’ve roasted barbecue and need to save a few portions for the next day, cool it down completely, cover it with food wrap, and put it in a cold place.

Autumn Camping

When autumn comes, parks and forests are ablaze. The air is fresh and breezy, which is also a plus if you can’t stand the excruciating summer heat. Although you can care less about annoying mosquitoes in autumn, there are a couple of critical camping safety tips to avoid other issues.

  • Have a clothing and footwear change. The midday warmth can rapidly vanish in the evening, and you’ll probably need to bundle up shortly after the sunset.
  • Have additional insulation for sleepovers in the tent. Every list of camping safety tips for beginners persuades you to grab a cold-weather sleeping bag and thick foam pads. In addition, buy a three-season tent to settle in comfortably. 
  • Stock up the firewood. The campfire is not simply a heat source on chilly nights but also an effective illumination at your campground. So gather enough firewood nearby before it goes dark.

Spring Camping

Many people view spring camping as a way to celebrate, leaving behind drab and dull winter days. Although the weather significantly fluctuates in spring, it still can be enjoyable if you’re well prepared. As common camping safety tips for this period, we would recommend:

  • Ensure rain protection. It would be reasonable to have a water-tight backpack or at least a plastic garbage bag to cover it. Organize your sensitive electronic devices into ziplock baggies if you’re about to go hiking and there is no shelter around.
  • Have a rain-proof outfit. Surely you won’t put up with wrapping up your family barbeque because of light rain. So one of the priority camping safety tips for families in springtime is to supply adults and kids with rain cover and boots.
  • Don’t park RV or set a tent on low ground. These spots will likely get waterlogged if there is rain or snow thawing. So pick the higher ground coated with a little slope.

Winter Camping

Probably, you might consider winter camping opportunities if winters in your area are snowless and warm weather lasts year-round. Otherwise, you better think twice before taking such high risks. Extremely low temperatures, short daylight, and snow impose a severe danger for those who hike or camp far from populated areas. Regarding camping safety, most parks are closed or offer fewer sites available for this period.

General Camping Safety Tips for Families and Beginners

As outlined above, there are specific perks and safety tips for camping that would immensely alleviate season-related challenges and trials. Now let’s focus on basic camping safety tips for families and newbies that should be helpful regardless of the time of the year.

1. Do Some Research About the Place Where You’re Heading

Full awareness of the environment, facilities, and regulations in the zone you’re about to visit should be your starting point. It would be reasonable to inquire national park representatives for safety tips for camping at definite sites. Also, if your friends are keen campers, ask for their opinion about the chosen area and such things as: 

  • A cellular connection in the park
  • Accessibility for disabled people
  • Accommodation in cabins
  • Freshwater springs or the need to bring water supply with you

Another crucial aspect you might consider is whether there are different difficulty levels of trails. Perhaps you have a company that longs for the challenge and adrenaline of whitewater rafting or mountain biking. Or maybe you wish to experience calm and relaxing hiking instead. There would be different camping safety tips for families on the second occasion.

2. Be Up-to-date With the Weather

That’s the essential part for adequate preparation of your gear, clothing, and even transport. Scanning weather forecasts for at least one month ahead would be reasonable, although everything may change. However, we recommend leveraging this camping safety tip for beginners as it may inform you about approximate temperature fluctuations and help to decide which tent and outfit to pick.

3. Plan the Duration of the Trip

We strongly recommend you be definite about how long you plan to have a rest outdoors. That’s the essential camping safety tip for families that will help:

  • Avoid over-exhaustion
  • Prepare an adequate amount of supplies
  • Inform your friends and relatives about when you come back.

4. Update Your Gear and Equipment

Here is your must-have camping equipment:

  • Swiss knife or multi-tools. Shop whichever you like but make sure it has robust assembly and a sufficient selection of tools.
  • First aid kit. Painkillers, antiseptics, anti-inflammatory drugs, a tourniquet, and sterile bandages – collect at least these. Optionally you might take a snake bit kit with you.
  • Vacuum bottles. On chilly evenings and early mornings, hot drinks will perfectly cheer you up. That’s not to mention the scenarios when you need to fight hypothermia.
  • Waterproof matches. Of course, you can take flame gun torches, but matches are simpler to use and highly reliable.
  • Insect repellent. Mosquitoes are very nasty, so you better have a long-lasting repellent to ward them off for at least 4 hours. 
  • Portable chargers. Every list of safety tips for camping would recommend you to have a portable charger. You should keep it in your backpack wherever you go. 
  • Illumination. Take head highlights and flashlights with you apart from lanterns you can hang above or place right on the picnic tables. As one of the camping safety tips for families, we suggest you put headlights on your kids once the night falls.
  • Navigational devices. If you have GPS tracking devices and can monitor the geopositioning of each of your group’s members, that’s a massive plus for camping safety. However, if you plan to explore the vast area, you better have a map to navigate hiking trails faster.

5. Test the Equipment

Why not have a little practice with your gear to learn how to use it? It is a great camping safety tip for beginners, helping them gain confidence in using tents and hiking equipment. But also, that’s a great way to revise those. It is better to find out that some of your camping stuff needs a repair or replacement at home than face such issues at the campsite.

6. Be Fire Safe Around the Camp

Local rangers will likely instruct you how to set a campfire safely whenever you visit the national park or any camping site. There might be specific restrictions for each location, but common safety tips for camping are:

  • To set a fire within fire rings
  • Keeping firewood and any flammable materials at least 15 feet away from the flame
  • Avoid any other accelerants for burning, but lighter fluid
  • Do not throw glass bottles or cans into the fire
  • Keep children and pets at a safe distance from campfires
  • Put out the campfire before leaving it.

7. Do Not Mess with the Wildlife

The basic camping safety tips for beginners always say that you should never feed wild animals. Even if you’re tempted to pet a cub or nestling, remember that their parents might be around and ready to protect their seed. So leave the wild thing be; they perfectly take care of themselves.

8. Have a Plan on How to Contact Emergency Services and Someone Close to You

The U.S. National Park Service provides first-timers with several safety tips for camping to deal with emergencies confidently and calmly. One of their suggestions is to have an emergency contact, the person that is aware of your travel itinerary.

It would be reasonable to message your emergency contact the itinerary that would include the date and period of your trip, a description of the vehicle or other transport you’re going to use, and contact information of people in your group. You should also provide your confidant with a park emergency number to use if you won’t come up on schedule.

One way to simplify notification of emergency contacts in distress is the AllsWell personal safety app. It has a panic button and other features that allow the user to alert selected contacts about the danger quickly.

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Last Update: 21 March 2024