TOP IMAGE © Unsplash/Victor Larracuente
Camping is a fun activity for connecting with nature while enjoying time with family and friends. With some preparation and know-how, you can keep outdoor adventures safe and still exciting. Whether it’s been a while and you need a refresher, or it’s your first time out, keep these essential tips in mind:
1. Plan ahead
Knowing the lay of the land before you go is key to a great experience. So research potential locations and find out the rules surrounding permits, campfires, pets, and alcohol. Government websites are usually great places to start, but you can find insider tips and recommendations on dedicated social media groups run by camping enthusiasts.
2. Prepare for unpredictable weather
Inclement weather can arrive quickly and unexpectedly, so it’s smart to get oriented with a campsite or park when you arrive. Ensure you can locate nearby shelters if you need to wait out a bad storm, and keep a portable radio on hand to watch for weather updates. If you hear a storm is on the way, secure tents and tarps with durable rope and shock-absorbing tie-downs to help you withstand strong winds.
3. Prepare for the unexpected
Weather aside, you need to make sure you’re ready for anything that might go wrong, like your car stalling out or your phone (and portable charger) dying. Pack paper maps of your location and bring jumper cables, extra clothing and layers, a compass, a medical kit, and a backup water filter. Also, be sure to write down important numbers and know where your closest gas station and hospital are.
4. Pack the right gear
Whether you’re camping overnight or planning a day trip, bring a waterproof or windproof outer layer and have layers on hand in case the temperatures start to dip. Always bring a first aid kit with antiseptics for cuts, pain relievers and anti-itch cream. If hiking is part of your adventure plans, invest in a trail map, carry a compass and whistle, and don’t rely on your phone since service may be spotty and drain your battery.
5. Don’t forget little luxuries
While camping is about the simpler things in life, a few luxury items can help you feel more comfortable and enjoy your mini vacation. Think of your favourite organic coffee beans or your ergonomic pillow and deluxe air mattress so you can get a good night’s rest. A camping table can make mealtime easier, and lawn games can ensure your evenings are full of fun.
6. Practice campfire safety
Build your campfire in a pit or bare patch of dirt, and keep it low and away from the brush. Tend to your fire or grill at all times and ensure that it’s completely extinguished before leaving your campsite or going to bed for the night. Be prepared for an emergency by packing a compact, lightweight extinguishing device such as the First Alert EZ Fire Spray, which has a familiar spray-can design with no pins or levers so you can just point and spray.
7. Keep tabs on the weather forecast
When camping, you need weather information you can count on so you’re ready for whatever may come your way. An easy way to keep an eye on the forecast when you don’t have quick access to the internet is by calling Environment and Climate Change Canada’s automated phone weather service Hello Weather at 1-833-79HELLO (1-833-794-3556). This free service replaces the previous telephone service and now offers up-to-date local forecasts for more than 800 locations across Canada. Simply call the toll-free number and select any location from a directory listed by province and region.
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