Some of my best memories are of times my father took my sister and me camping. We wouldn’t go far off the beaten path. In fact, our location of choice was the Gull Lake Camp Ground, just west of Brainerd International Raceway. (We could hear the big boys all day, even miles away).
The point I’m trying to make is that even though we weren’t exactly “roughing it.” We were only a short drive away from any population, restaurants, hospitals, or help. Yet, we always had the proper safety equipment close by and followed common sense camp rules.
I talked with Dave W. who takes his kids camping on a more frequent basis and he shared a few things and tips that he uses for safety at his campsite.
First Aid Kit – A well-stocked FAK should include bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain medicine, tweezers, safety pins, and an instruction manual. These are only the basic and you can fit yours out as full or bare as you like.
Insect Repellent – This is more of a long-term safety item. The fewer insect bites you have to deal with, the better. A good repellent keeps mosquitos and ticks away while you’re out in the wild. However, remember to check for ticks after your activities in the woods, and before bed. Those little guys can get anywhere.
A reliable source of water. – You can trek yours in, but that stuff is heavy! If you can’t bring yours in, you’ll have to rely on a local source. Make sure to boil any water you intend to drink for several minutes. A water filter is a good idea, as well.
Keeping your food safe – You’ll want plenty of ice for temperature sensitive foods like uncooked meats (yummy hotdogs!), and dairy products. You can also try canned, dried, or fresh veggies and fruits for your trip. The last thing you want is to get sick while out in nature.
Dave is also a volunteer firefighter at Pequot Lakes, and he tells me that taking care of your fire is one of the best ways to keep forest fires from happening. He recommends the following.
Use a fire ring or rocks around a campfire. This can be part of the fun of a new campsite, building the fire circle. If you can’t find any rocks, clear the area of combustible material (needles, leaves, etc.) five feet in all directions around your fire area.
The campfire itself should only be three feet or less in height. Keep it small, keep it manageable.
Keep water and a shovel nearby. Also, it’s good practice to never leave a fire unattended. Sparks can fly when you’re least expecting it.
When you’re done with your campfire, use the drown and stir method. Pour water on the coals and stir with a shovel or stick to make sure all embers are extinguished.
Wherever you decide to set up camp, you should be able to last the night with these few tips. If you have any ideas for camp safety, we would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below!