Camping can be great fun! Immersing yourself in nature and enjoying your own little adventure in the great outdoors. But if you’re new to camping, there are a few things to consider to ensure you stay safe and have a happy and comfortable camping trip.

  • Keep a close eye on the weather as things can change quickly, so make sure you take plenty of waterproof kit in case it rains. 
  • Stay warm as temperatures can drop dramatically at night. Make sure you’re wearing enough clothes and that your sleeping bag is warm enough (look for the temperature rating to check it’s suitable).
  • Select the right tent. You’ll need a more durable and windproof tent in the winter, or for backpacking trips. And make sure you choose a tent that allows your whole party to fit in comfortably (with luggage too). It’s best to pitch your tent in the daytime as it will be harder to do when the sun goes down.
  • Choose a suitable campsite. Consider who will be going on the trip eg. Does it need to be child-friendly? If you’re a first-time camper, choose somewhere close to home with lots of facilities to make your trip more comfortable. 
  • Watch out for tripping hazards like guy lines or tent pegs, especially in the dark.
  • Use insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquitoes, ticks and other insects. Make sure you check for ticks daily, and wear long sleeved tops and trousers whilst out and about.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking regularly throughout the day. You should pack plenty of bottled water (and make sure you know somewhere close by to pick up some more).
  • Store and cook food safely. Keep any perishable food in an insulated cooler to keep it fresh. Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before you handle food. And ensure any food is cooked properly.
  • Beware of campfires. Your tent should be at least 15 feet away from a fire. And make sure you don’t start any campfires near trees or shrubs. A fire should never be left unattended (especially when you’re sleeping).
  • Take care when using a camping stove. Always use it on a flat, stable surface and never cook inside your tent.
  • Look out for moving vehicles as you’ll have cars and camper vans coming and going on a campsite. Particularly keep an eye on small children and dogs.
  • Don’t burn in the sun. It’s great to get some vitamin D, but make sure you wear sun lotion to prevent your skin from burning in the sun. And wear a hat if you’re going to be in the sun for long periods.
  • Watch out for wildlife. Store food in suitable containers so you’re not attracting unwanted attention. And avoid touching or feeding wild animals. Look out for snakes too, and always check inside your tent and sleeping bag before climbing in.
  • Don’t overdo the alcohol. Camping is a fun experience and a chance to relax and unwind, but it’s best not to consume too much alcohol as you’ll need to stay alert to avoid any camping hazards, especially if lighting fires. 
  • Do your research before foraging for food. Not everything in the wild is edible so you must do your homework. Two plants make look similar, but one may be fine to eat and the other may be poisonous. If in doubt, don’t eat it!

There’s some useful kit to pack which can help you stay safe on your camping trip too:

  • Carbon Monoxide alarm, although you should avoid using any gas sources in your tent
  • A torch or lantern (a wind-able one will save you having to pack batteries)
  • Map/compass/GPS
  • Insect repellent/mosquito net
  • Suntan lotion & a hat in hot weather
  • A water filter/purifier if you’re camping in a more remote area, so you can keep your water intake up
  • Hand sanitiser/baby wipes
  • Insulated food cooler
  • Lighter/matches (for heat and cooking)
  • First-aid kit (make sure it’s been replenished with any used/missing items)
  • A mini fire extinguisher in case your campfire gets a little out of control
  • A knife or multi-tool
  • A hot water bottle to keep you warm at night

Camping can be a great adventure, but make sure you plan well and pack all the essentials to keep the whole family safe on your holiday or weekend away.