10 Things To Watch Out For When Camping In The Wilderness

By Loraine Balita-Centeno on May 26 2020 in Travel

Camping is one of the best ways to enjoy being in the lap of nature. Image credit: Anatoliy_gleb/Shutterstock.com
Camping is one of the best ways to enjoy being in the lap of nature. Image credit: Anatoliy_gleb/Shutterstock.com
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning can occur inside small tents.
  • Poison Ivy is one of the most common plant that causes allergic reaction like rashes and blisters for campers in the United States.
  • According to Public Safety Canada, after one hour, only one in three victims buried in an avalanche is found alive. The most common causes of death are hypothermia and suffocation.

Beautiful warm weather is upon us and many are gearing up for outdoor travel. Among the list of outdoor activities, many are eager to engage in this summer is camping. It’s a wonderful experience even for families with kids since it allows you to be in touch with mother nature. It gives kids a sense of awareness about the environment. Giving them a taste of life outdoors allows them to appreciate nature and eventually commit to taking care of it in the future.

For adults, camping offers a welcome respite from work and weeks in front of the computer while cooped up in the office. It’s a fun way to recharge and unwind. Nothing is quite as relaxing as hearing the birds chirping, warm water flowing through the river, and leaves rustling in the wind.

But before you jump into the wild and set up your tent in the middle of the woods, there are things you need to know to make sure you and your family stay safe, secure, and healthy during your camping trip in the forest. Here are a few of the things you need to watch out for before you head out to the wilderness.

10. Mosquitoes, Ticks, And Other Insects

Young couple camping in wild gets attacked by buzzing mosquitoes. Image credit: Flystock/Shutterstock.com
Young couple camping in wild gets attacked by buzzing mosquitoes. Image credit: Flystock/Shutterstock.com

These tiny pesky insects can’t just potentially ruin a fun camping trip by annoying you all throughout, they can also spell disaster if you get exposed to the diseases and parasites they carry. A single bite is all it takes for them to transfer a disease that may land you in the hospital and become fatal for some. Some of the diseases mosquitoes carry include malaria, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, and Zika virus all of which are serious enough to land you in a health care facility. Ticks on the other hand bring Lyme disease, Rocky spotted fever, and tularemia among many others. It’s best to bring a mosquito net and anti-insect sprays or lotions to keep disease-carrying insects at bay.

9. Bears And Other Wild Animals

Grizzly Bear in a campsite. Image credit: MPH Photos/Shutterstock.com
Grizzly Bear in a campsite. Image credit: MPH Photos/Shutterstock.com

Sure they look cute and cuddly but they can kill you in an instant too. Bears are heavy, fast, and so strong that they can cause debilitating injuries if you get too close. You’ll have to remember that by camping you are going into their territory and some of them might not like it so you need to be very careful.  You have to familiarize yourself with the types of animals you may encounter while camping as well as the safety precautions to avoid a dangerous encounter with them. Aside from bears there are also other potentially dangerous animals you may encounter during your camping trips like cayotes and snakes.

8. Poisonous Fruits And Plants

Leaves of the poison ivy plant. Image credit: Jan Haerer from Pixabay
Leaves of the poison ivy plant. Image credit: Jan Haerer from Pixabay

This is especially important if you are camping with little children, most of which like putting whatever they can place their hands on in their mouth. There are many plants and fruits that resemble regular staples in the pantry but are very different and in fact toxic when consumed. You need to be aware of the poisonous fruits and plants growing in the area and make sure each member of your family is made aware of the dangers of ingesting these fruits. Remind them to stick to what you have brought along or deemed safe to eat. There are also plants like the poison ivy that can cause blisters and rashes when you come in contact with them and it’s something you need to familiarize yourself before you go camping since these plants grow abundantly in the wild especially in the US.

7. Stiff Cliffs And Other Dangerous Terrain

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland. Image credit: Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium/Wikimedia.org
Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland. Image credit: Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium/Wikimedia.org

While discovering a place previously unknown to all of the members of your family is very exciting it’s better to study the terrain before your trip to avoid people falling into ravines, or worse steep cliffs. Some paths lead to cliffs that many can miss if they are not too familiar with the place, others lead into a river with a fast current that can cause even good swimmers to drown. Study the path you will be crossing and familiarize yourself with the area to keep everyone safe.

6. Avalanche

A powder snow avalanche in the Himalayas near Mount Everest.
A powder snow avalanche in the Himalayas near Mount Everest.

Many hikers and campers have lost their lives because of an avalanche. It happens when huge slabs of ice and snow collapse and fall down a slope. They often occur after a snowstorm, when there is a drastic temperature change, or when there are vibrations caused by construction or other activities. In some instances, it also occurs during certain times of the year. Some locations are also more prone to having an avalanche.  In Canada, avalanches are more frequent in the mountains of British Columbia, Yukon, and Alberta. Read about the area you plan to visit to find out the chances of an avalanche during your trip.

5. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Inside Tents

According to studies, dangerous levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) can be reached inside tents in 30 minutes. Several fatalities related to carbon monoxide poisoning inside tents have been recorded since the 70s. Most of these were traced to the use of lamps or portable stoves inside a tent while camping. A study by Leigh Smith, a researcher at the Defense Medical Service in the United Kingdom found that certain conditions increase the CO concentration inside a tent, like with lower ambient temperatures while cooking or the use of larger pans.

4. Flash Floods

A river floods onto a road making it hazardous and impassable. Image credit: J. Bicking/Shutterstock.com
A river floods onto a road making it hazardous and impassable. Image credit: J. Bicking/Shutterstock.com

A dangerous flash flood or the sudden overflow of water can occur within minutes after heavy rainfall during thunderstorms, or sudden melting and flow of water from an ice dam. They occur along coastlines, rivers, or creeks. They often occur along narrow rivers or small catchments where water can rise and overflow quickly. It also happens in dry areas that suddenly experience pouring rain. If you are camping in an area that is prone to flooding be aware of the weather forecast before you head out and keep an eye for sudden changes in weather during your trip.

3. Hypothermia

Camping in the winter forest. Image credit: Trek6500/Shutterstock.com
Camping in the winter forest. Image credit: Trek6500/Shutterstock.com

This is something campers need to be aware of especially if they are planning to set up camp in high altitudes. Hypothermia is a medical emergency that happens when the body loses heat rapidly. People can experience this when their core body temperature drops below 95˚F. It’s a fatal condition that has claimed the lives of many campers who went out without preparing for the cold. Watch out for symptoms like shivering, slurred speech, lack of coordination, weak pulse, memory loss, or loss of consciousness.

2. Dehydration

It is important to stay well hydrated during outdoor trips. Image credit: Crazystocker/Shutterstock.com
It is important to stay well hydrated during outdoor trips. Image credit: Crazystocker/Shutterstock.com

Dehydration is another condition campers should be aware of before they venture out under the heat of the sun. It happens when the body doesn’t have enough water or loses more water than it can take in. Mild dehydration can cause lethargy, constipation, headache, and muscle cramps. Severe dehydration can cause symptoms like rapid heartbeat and breathing, lack of energy and irritability, sunken eyes, and fainting. It’s a medical emergency that needs immediate attention.

1. Sprained Ankles, Broken Bones, And Other Emergencies

A broken bone or a fracture can be a huge problem while hiking or camping. Image credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com
A broken bone or a fracture can be a huge problem while hiking or camping. Image credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

A broken bone or a fracture can be a huge problem while hiking or camping. When you are miles away from the nearest hospital or emergency room it can cause panic, but not if you come prepared for it. There are gears and suits you can wear to avoid injury while camping and walking in the wilderness. It also helps to familiarize yourself with first aid procedures that could help alleviate pain or stop the injury from getting worse. You’d also need to prepare a first aid kit you can bring along so you’ll at least have tools you can use in case of an emergency.

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