Do you love camping? Or are you braving it for the first time? Either way, bring a pillow for comfort, get your Spotify ready and head out into the wild outdoors with these 10 safety tips based on information from the U.S. Forest Service.
Research. Before you leave, check out everything from campsite selection and the area’s wildlife habits to the best equipment to buy and the weather report.
Take a friend. Emergencies do happen. At the very least, text someone you trust with your itinerary dates, travel route and intended destination, plus your car’s make and license plate.
Bring emergency supplies. Brush up on first-aid methods and CPR, and pack: map, compass, flashlight, knife, waterproof fire starter, personal shelter, whistle, warm clothing, high energy food, water, sunblock, smartphone and insect protection.
Arrive before dark.Leave early enough that you’ll be making camp while you still have daylight to choose a spot away from cliffs, streams and high terrain—in case of lightning, you don’t want to be higher than your surroundings. And don’t pitch your tent too close to a campfire!
Build fires in a safe area.Never use a flame or any other heating device inside a tent. Cook outside the tent; for light inside the tent, use flashlights.
Keep food fresh and dry.Guard against food spoilage by storing it in a cooler with ice. Use baggies to hold high-protein snacks like nuts, energy bars and peanut butter crackers.
Discourage bear visits.Don’t leave food, garbage, coolers, cooking equipment or utensils out in the open. At night, use a flashlight, which may keep any hungry bears away from you.
Don’t drink from streams.Fresh water can look clean, but it probably has bacteria and your body may not handle it well.
Limit alcohol.Drinking and camping go hand-in-hand in some traditions, but take it easy when you’re around fire and especially if you’re doing any hiking.
Stay warm.Your humid days in the valley are no predictor of what the temps will be like at night in the mountains. Pack clothing options for a range of weather conditions.
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