How to Stay Safe when Camping
Morning campers! Heading off into the wilderness with your family or pitching up with your friends at a music festival may feel like your packing up house and home with all your belongings stuffed into the car! But how do you keep all yourself and your belongings safe when camping? Take a look at our top tips below!
To lock or not to lock? A padlock may seem like a good idea to prevent thieves entering your tent but more often than not they cause more harm than good. A big, shiny padlock on your tent may look like you are trying to protect something valuable to a thief and rather than deterring someone, it may heighten their interest. It only takes one swipe of a penknife to gain access to a tent and then your little home for the week is ruined and your belongings taken. It’s better to not draw attention to your tent so ditch the padlock!
2. Lock it in the Car
Keeping your valuables locked up inside your car is definitely safer than keeping them inside your tent. Although not 100% secure from thieves, a vehicle is much harder to access. Keep your valuables out of sight from the windows and park your car up next to your tent or in a secure car park! It’s also a good idea to ensure your car keys are stored in a safe place.
3. Hide Small Stuff
No car to keep your valuables in? Hide your belongings around your tent in separate areas. For example, hide your keys in your dirty laundry, your smart phones in a pillowcase and split up your cash to hide in different locations around the tent. So if a thief does find their way into your tent and takes some of your valuables, the loss won’t be as high.
If you’re set up in a rural location, another great way to hide your valuables is to put them inside a waterproof pouch and hide it under a big rock or in a crook of a tree, a thief is not likely to look in these areas when snooping around your tent. However, this obviously isn’t full proof as someone may stumble across it, or you may forget to retrieve it before you go!
4. Get a Portable Safe
A portable safe is another way to keep your small valuables safe and dry when camping. But it’s in the name, a portable safe is portable. If you do decide to take a small safe with you, don’t forget to secure it something big and heavy so that a thief can’t just walk off with it. It is also worth securing your larger items such as bikes or a portable fridge with a heavy chain as these are often targeted by thieves in campsites.
5. Choose your Campsite Wisely
Research the campsite and the local area before you go. It will be useful to know if there is security on site and whether the site is located in a safe area. You can look up the recent crime stats in the local area by heading onto the Police website. You simply enter the campsite postcode and the site will generate how many crimes have happened within a certain time frame and will give you a general indication as to what the crimes were, e.g. bike theft.
6. Location in the Camp
As well as the location of the campsite, it is worth pitching your tent up in a secure location inside the site. Find a well lit spot that experiences heavy foot traffic, these spots are often in eyesight of the shower block or the car park. A thief is less likely to target a tent that is well lit with an audience, just ensure you keep all valuables out of sight.
7. Get Friendly with the Neighbours
Make friends with your neighbours when pitching up your tent and help them out if they need it. Making friends with nearby campers will give you another set of eyes on your tent and belongings so they will recognise whether someone should be there or not. You can also return them the favour if you see someone you don’t recognise from their party, ask a simple, friendly question. If it is a thief it will strongly deter their actions if they know someone is watching them.
Get creative with your tent safety; attach something noisy such as a bell or tie a few empty cans to your tent zip. This way if someone tries to enter your tent when you are sleeping the noise should wake you up and alert you to a possible intruder. Another way to prevent someone from entering your tent is by tying the two zips together from the inside; preventing the entrance from opening as the tabs cannot separate. Just ensure you can escape quickly should there be an emergency!
9. Tent Safety
We have looked at keeping your tent and belongings secure when camping, but what about your safety and the precautions that should be undertaken when pitching your tent?
BBQ’s and toasting marshmallows go hand in hand with camping but you should always be alert when near fire to avoid accidents. All tents should be distanced at least eight meters away from a fire pit; this is to prevent your tent catching fire from any rouge flames and to prevent it spreading across the camp. It is also important to keep objects and debris away from the flames if someone were to accidentally trip and fall into the fire. Furthermore, never light your BBQ or fire pit in a closed in space.
Fires produce carbon monoxide, a dangerous gas that is termed the ‘silent killer’, reputed this name as you cannot hear, smell or see the gas. Stay safe and only light your fires out in an open space, far away from your tent.
Tent strings and pegs are also something to watch out for, especially in the pitch black when making a dash to the toilet. Take a reliable torch and a few spare batteries with you so you’re not caught out when you need it most. You could improve the visibility of your tent in the night time further by adding fluorescent Guy Lines or by sticking reflective tape to your tent strings and pegs, which could save you and your neighbours a potential fall.
10. Wilderness Safety
Camping outside means facing insects, animals and the elements, make sure you’re prepared with a fully stocked first aid kit that includes insect repellent and plenty of plasters and bandages, no doubt you and the youngsters will exploring the highs and lows of the forest!
Research the nearest emergency centres near your campsite too, so if you or a loved one were to have an accident you already know where to go. If you’re going camping abroad make sure you know the local emergency numbers and brush up on a few basic emergency words in the native language.