Camping tips | Sports & Recreation
Camping tips to make sure your family vacation is fun and safe.
Vaccinations can help protect against certain diseases and conditions while camping. Be sure your vaccinations and your family's vaccinations are up-to-date. Ask your doctor or nurse what vaccinations are recommended. He or she may recommend tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), meningitis, and/or hepatitis A, depending on your medical history, destination, and other factors.
Prepare healthy and safe food.
Bring healthy snacks along on your camping trip. Follow these steps to keep your food safe:
Pack foods in tight, waterproof bags or containers. Keep them in an insulated cooler.
Wash hands and surfaces often. Use hand sanitizer if water is not available.
Separate raw foods from cooked foods.
Cook foods to proper temperatures (i.e. ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees).
Chill foods promptly.
Practice fire safety.
If you build a campfire, do it safely.
Build or use a campfire pit away from overhanging tree branches.
Make sure it has a metal fire ring or is encircled with rocks.
Keep a bucket of water and shovel nearby.
Never leave a campfire unattended and be sure to put out your campfire completely before you leave.
Use fireproof cooking equipment.
Include safe physical activities.
Camping is a great opportunity to get some physical activity. Do things to keep you active during your camping trip, such as walking, hiking, biking, or swimming. Be sure to bring protective gear, such as helmets, sturdy shoes, and life jackets. Avoid poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Know your limits, and take steps to avoid injury during activities. Never hike or swim alone. Watch kids closely. Adults should get at least 2½ hours a week and kids should get at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity.
Protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless and can cause illness or death in people and pets. Never use fuel-burning equipment such as gas stoves, heaters, lanterns, and charcoal grills inside a tent, camper, or other enclosed shelter. It can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to build up.
Another option to fuel-burning appliances to supply heat, campers should bring adequate bedding and clothing and should consume extra calories and fluids during the outing to prevent hypothermia (a dangerous loss of body warmth that can cause death).
Avoid wild animals, and protect family pets.
Some wild animals carry diseases that are dangerous to people, including rabies, hantavirus, Giardia infection, and more. Avoid touching, feeding, and getting near wild animals. Enjoy watching them from a safe distance in their natural surroundings. Keep foods stored in sealed containers and out of the reach of animals. Make sure your family pets are vaccinated. Watch them closely. Check for ticks, and remove them promptly. Make sure pets have plenty of water, food, and shelter.
Remember to pack:
Adequate bedding/sleeping bag and extra blankets
Light-weight, light-colored clothing, including long sleeves and pants
Tent and plastic ground cloth
Insect repellent containing DEET for skin
Permethrin insect repellent for clothing
Broad-spectrum sunscreen and lipscreen with SPF 15 or higher
Wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses
Healthy on-the-go snacks and other food
Water and other alcohol-free and sugar-free fluids
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Life jacket, helmet, and other protective gear
Compass or GPS
Extra set of clothes
Medical record, including vaccinations; insect, food, plant, and other allergies; diseases and conditions; medicines, dosing schedules, and storage instructions; emergency contacts; and activities your doctor or nurse says to avoid