Camping is a fun way to enjoy the great outdoors with family and friends. It allows us to trade our ceilings for the stars, and our loafers for our hiking boots, all without spending a fortune. It’s no wonder that millions of Americans choose to enjoy our nation’s great parks every year. Since most of us are no longer the great outdoorsmen that our ancestors used to be, it is important to be prepared before you even leave for your trip to avoid tragedy. Here are some helpful tips to prepare you for your next great outdoor adventure:
- Pack light, pack smart, and be prepared.
Even though you’ll be away from home, do not pack everything that you own. Make room in your backpack for the important things, like quick drying wool socks, a swiss army knife, a first aid kit, food, waterproof shoes, a jacket, water and food. Pack clothes that allow you to dress in layers so that you can be prepared regardless of the temperature. You will be enjoying nature so don’t worry about packing your makeup or shaving kit. It is much more important to prepare yourself to stay warm and dry and to avoid or treat potential injuries.
- Avoid wildlife and do not feed them.
Although they look cute in the movies, animals in the wild are not domesticated and should not be interacted with. While smaller animals like raccoons can carry rabies, larger ones like bears can kill, or seriously injure you. Do not try to pet wild animals, especially ones that seem overly friendly (they may be sick or carrying rabies, among other things). Do not feed wildlife, and be sure that no food is left out to attract animals. Many camping grounds provide bear proof food lockers for your food, and it is a good idea to keep your food stored in there while you are away or sleeping. Do not let family pets interact with wildlife. Wildlife can transmit disease or injure your beloved pet.
- Know which insects and snakes are indigenous to the area that you are camping in, how they can cause you harm, and how to treat any bites or stings.
Mosquitos, ticks and spiders can carry and transmit disease. Regularly apply insect repellant containing DEET to any exposed skin. Wear long sleeves and pants to reduce your risk of being bitten or stung. Check for ticks daily, and remove them as soon as possible. Watch out for snakes, and know which ones are poisonous.
- Know which plants to watch out for, and how to treat any injuries that result from them.
Although plants can be pleasant to look at, and even tasty to eat, many plants are toxic to humans and our pets. Some plants like poison ivy and poison sumac will give us painful rashes and sores just from brushing against them. Make sure to keep yourself covered up from head to toe during hikes, and keep medication on hand should you encounter a plant that causes you harm. Do not ingest any plants that you are unfamiliar with.
- Be smart when starting fires and cooking food.
Only start fires in enclosed areas and make sure that nothing flammable is near the fire. Wildfires devastate many forests every year and can often be prevented. Never use a portable stove, heater, lantern or grill inside of a tent or other enclosed area. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is given off when using fuel-burning equipment. The gas can quickly injure or even kill family and pets.
- Have a way to contact emergency personnel.
Remember that cell phones may not have service out in the wilderness. If you are planning on camping or hiking far away from other people, make sure to carry one or more of these devices in case of emergency: satellite phone, flare, two-meter amateur radio, or a personal locator beacon.
Please use these tips to have a safe and enjoyable camping trip!
If you suffer an injury while camping, call the Long Island personal injury attorneys at The Odierno Law Firm, P.C. for a free case evaluation.