While camping and being outdoors is great fun it also places you in unfamiliar surroundings, especially if you are camping somewhere for the first time. It is good practice to ensure all who are camping with you are familiar with camping safety, site rules and potential hazards of the area.
One of the first things people associate with camping is sitting around a campfire. Although this is a pleasurable part of camping one it can also be very dangerous if proper precautions and fire safety are not followed.
- Always build fires away from tents and make sure there are no overhanging branches
- Make sure the area surrounding the fire is clear. No guy lines or debris lying about as these are trip hazards.
- Only build a fire as big as you need, dig out the top layer of grass and lay to the side on a piece of tarp and use stones where possible for containment. Grass and stones should always be returned and replaced to leave little or no trace.
- Never pour fuel or other liquid accelerants onto a fire before or after lighting.
- Be careful of what fuel you use in the fire, paper and cardboard can produce flying embers that can burn tents and cause other fires.
- Never leave a fire unattended and always fully extinguish before going to bed.
Stoves & Heaters
These can be essential items while away camping but due to the use of gas, these can also be dangerous. Gases can produce carbon monoxide (CO) which is known as the silent killer. You cannot see, smell or taste carbon monoxide and for this reason, it is extremely dangerous. Carbon monoxide poisoning can produce feelings of dizziness, headaches, tiredness and vomiting. As a rule we just never use gas heaters, an extra layer of clothes are used if needed.
- Always use the right fuel for stoves and heaters.
- Regularly check stoves and heaters for leaks. You can do this by applying liquid soap on joints and checking for air bubbles
- Always use stoves and heaters outside of tents. It may not be fun to cook in the rain, but better than risking a fire in your tent.
- Never use stoves near other heat sources such as campfires.
- Always completely turn off gas and store correctly when not in use. Do not store in a tent in case of a gas leak or CO poisoning.
It is ideal to know first aid and you can attend these courses locally if you wish to do so. A first aid kit is an essential item especially if you are wild camping or on your own. Also, take into consideration the weather when packing your first aid kit and plan for the season. *Please read Basic First Aid Kit* at the bottom of the page
- A note of nearest emergency department to where you will be camping and the postcode so you have it to hand if you need to go. It is also worthwhile knowing how long a journey it would be should you need to use this service.
- A fully stocked first aid kit.
- Any personal medication you may need, it is worth taking an extra days worth should you need it in an emergency.
One of the many things people enjoy when camping can be wildlife but this can also cause harm to you or yours if precautions are not taken. From bee stings to snake bites there are an array of things that can go wrong. By all means, enjoy the wildlife it is wonderful to watch and even capture on your camera but always do it with care. Most wildlife is more scared of us but if provoked or feeling endangered they can bite or strike. Animals can be quite unpredictable and no 2 are the same.
- Never feed the wildlife
- Always know the specific wildlife native to the area you are visiting.
- Always take care when collecting wood or stones.
- Carefully check the area before you set up camp. Make sure you are not setting up near wildlife’s homes, dens, or nests.
- Check yourself or each other over for ticks, especially after walking through long grass areas. Ticks carry Limes disease and if bitten always inform your doctor.
This is most important if you are travelling on your own and will be travelling or camping in an area that does not provide a good phone signal. Always ensure that someone knows where you are going, for how long and when you expect to return. You are more vulnerable travelling and camping on your own so some extra precautions should be taken.
- Always tell someone where you are going.
- Carry maps and compass of the area.
- Carry a whistle and or flares in case of emergencies
- Register your phone for emergency SMS, that way if the signal is poor it will send as soon as the signal appears. UK (http://www.emergencysms.org.uk/about_emergencysms.php) for other countries you can search for this service online and register with your own countries emergency service or the country you are visiting.
- Carry your personal details on you or on a phone. You can use I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) https://incaseofemergency.org/ if carrying your phone as most paramedics will check this.
Be prepared for the weather. Use sunglasses to protect from UV rays, the winter sun can be dangerous too. Use sun creams when necessary, remember even when it is overcast the elements can still damage your skin. If out in the winter always check forecasts thoroughly and carry any items you may need.
- Extra foil blankets, shelter.
- An extra layer of clothes in winter.
- Spare water.
Many people take their pets camping and on outdoor adventures. Remember your pet is your responsibility and they can also be affected by all of the above.
- Ensure you carry extra water, meds and food for your pets as well as yourself.
- Keep your pets under control and don’t allow them to run at other people or their pets. Even if it is on friendly terms, you can never be sure how others will react.
- Remember that the weather can affect your pet too. Be sure to allow them a shaded area to lie when it is hot and somewhere warm to sleep, off the ground if possible.
- Don’t leave pets unattended in tents or cars. Many dogs have escaped out of tents when left unattended.
A basic first aid kit may contain:
- plasters in a variety of different sizes and shapes
- small, medium and large sterile gauze dressings
- at least two sterile eye dressings
- triangular bandages
- crêpe rolled bandages
- safety pins
- disposable sterile gloves
- alcohol-free cleansing wipes
- sticky tape
- thermometer (preferably digital)
- skin rash creams, such as hydrocortisone or calendula
- cream or spray to relieve insect bites and stings
- antiseptic cream
- painkillers such as paracetamol (or infant paracetamol for children), aspirin (not to be given to children under 16), or ibuprofen
- cough medicine
- antihistamine tablets
- distilled water for cleaning wounds
- eyewash and eye bath
- foil blanket (for if you get caught in the cold or for someone experiencing shock)
- sun cream and aftersun
- insect repellent
- a small mirror (for seeing awkward areas and can also be used to flash for help)
- heat/cold packs
- antibacterial soap
- water purification system or tube
- tick remover
Keep in a watertight container that is well marked and easily accessible at all times. Always restock after use.
We hope that this article helps you to stay safe while enjoying your time in the outdoors. Remember, a little forward planning and organisation can be of great benefit to everyone. Please also check out our printables page, under the resources tab where you can print some useful information such as first aid checklists, camping checklists and emergency contact cards. Or follow the link below.