Thursday, May 31, 2012

Advice For Campers

This is the time of year when families and individuals get out of the house and start enjoying nature. Camping is a popular activity that puts us in close proximity to favorite hiking trails, fishing streams and lakes, and relaxation at its most basic. 

But the very nature of camping poses certain challenges to personal safety and the security of our property. Along with preparing for the rare appearance of a grizzly at the weenie roast, there are other precautions we should take to protect against accidents, injuries, or assaults on ourselves and our property. 

Here's a bit of advice that will help you survive the camping season.
  • Ideally, don’t camp or hike alone. I know there are some who prefer to go solo, but doing so increases personal risk. Alone in the backcountry, something as simple as a stumble can result in debilitating injury that leaves you stranded. An encounter with a predator (animal or human) that is bent on mischief is much less likely to result in a bad outcome if you travel in company with other people. 
  • If neighboring campers start to get rowdy (which can happen in even the most remote and pristine campground), be ready to break camp quietly and leave. Confrontation with a group of testosterone addicts who feed their egos by showing off to friends is worthless and dangerous. This is no time to engage in a pissing contest.
  • Always secure your toys while in camp. Remove ignition keys from motorcycles and 4-wheelers, and lock them up inside your primary vehicle's glove box. Use chains and heavy padlocks to secure these things to trees or logs or to your primary vehicle. 
  • Keep your vehicle locked, and valuable stuff inside hidden beneath blankets. 
  • If you're camping in bear country, DO NOT leave food or garbage inside your vehicle. A determined bear will smash a car window to get inside for a piece of a leftover burger and fries. Always secure food in a container hung in a tree some distance from your camp. Garbage that cannot be burned in your campfire should be placed in bear-proof garbage bins, if they are available. If those are not available, hang the garbage in the same manner as you hang the food until you're ready to leave camp and can take the refuse out with you. Hiking through bear country with food and garbage is like swimming through shark-infested waters while dragging a stringer of bleeding fish behind. Be careful, be watchful, and don't hike alone. 
Take responsibility for your personal safety and the security of your property while traveling and camping. It takes only a little extra preparation and awareness to eliminate some of the hazards.

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