Camping is a wonderful way to broaden your horizons and push yourself out of your comfort zone. However, it’s important to stay safe while embarking on a camping and outdoor adventure. Choosing your destination and packing the car is where you plan the foundation for a great camping trip, but you need to make sure your group is aware of necessary safety precautions to take throughout the experience to prevent injuries or illness.
Seek out the best spot for your group’s abilities
There are state parks, Shawnee National forest sites and privately owned campgrounds near hiking trails across Southernmost Illinois for groups of all sizes and ages. Giant City, Ferne Clyffe, Dixon Springs, Cave In Rock, and Fort Massac are popular state park options. The Shawnee National Forest also offers locations that take your breath away.
When you set up camp and are anxious to head out for a hike, go in a group or with a buddy rather than alone. In addition, the U.S. Forest Service advises that the group set a comfortable hiking pace that accommodates everybody in the group, leaving nobody behind on their own. Stick to marked trails and take navigational tools and a first-aid kit with you, and make sure you wear appropriate clothing and shoes for the area and the weather. It is also best to return to your campsite before dark and bring more water than you think you need along on the hike.
Be prepared and cautious with campfires
Spending the evening winding down around a campfire is a big part of the camping experience, but check the fire regulations for the park first. Some parks will not allow campfires, especially in drought situations, and others have specific rules to follow. If campfires are allowed, use a fire pit or ring if possible and make sure that your fire is built at least 15 feet away from tents, trees, and other flammable items. Teach kids in the group about fire safety and do not leave the fire unattended.
Properly extinguishing campfires is essential to preventing forest fires. Keep your fire at a manageable size and let the wood burn down fully to ash if you can. When you are done, pour water on all of the embers, not just the red ones, until you do not hear anymore hissing. Make sure there is no smoldering once you think all of the embers are doused and keep adding sand, dirt, or water until everything is cool.
Maintain a clean camping site to keep away uninvited guests
Campground safety also means keeping your site clean. Do not leave any food outside or in your tent and utilize odor-proof, waterproof containers. You want to keep your site clean to keep away raccoons, squirrels, and other pesky rodents. It’s also important to protect your dog from animals such as snakes, hawks, owls, and skunks if you bring your pooch along for the adventure. Keep your dog on a leash at all times and bring them inside your tent or RV at night to avoid any potential confrontations with the local wildlife.
A few simple safety precautions can have a big impact on keeping your family safe during a camping adventure. Be prepared with the right clothing, shoes, first aid materials, and navigation tools for the area you will be visiting and use caution when heading out hiking or using a campfire. A camping trip can be a great way to bond and build life experiences, but it’s vital to be safe as you take your trip.