Camping is a fun and exciting way to spend time with family and friends. The planning is just as important as the adventure! Here are some random, often forgotten camping tips.
Camping and Wild Animals
One of the greatest parts of going camping out in the wilds of America is getting to see all the different wildlife.It is not uncommon to see such animals as deer, bear, squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, raccoons, and opossums.
On any given camping trip we expect to see most, if not all of these animals somewhere around the campsite, or on trails along the rivers that we fish on our trips. From a distance, it is great to see these animals-they are quite beautiful in their natural environments.
However, you do not want to get too close! Here are few tips to keep in mind when you go camping, to ensure that you stay safe, and that you do not harm the animals that may be around you.
Do Not Try to Touch the Animals
No matter how cute the animals are, remember that they are wild animals. As such, they can inflict great damage! Even those cute little squirrels are dangerous. In the off chance that you might actually be able to get close enough to catch a wild animal, remember that they all have defense mechanisms that are designed to inflict pain on anything that might threaten it. Some animals, such as bears and opossums can be quite aggressive if they feel threatened, and may even attack you.
Keep Food Secure
Many animals that live close to camping areas become accustomed to scavenging for food among the camp sites. All food needs to be secured in such a way as to keep it away from the prying noses and paws of little woodland creatures. If you leave food unsecured, then the least that can happen is that the little scavengers will make a tremendous mess in your camp site. In the extreme, you could be in danger. After all, if a bear tears into your tent trying to get at some left over hot dogs you could be on your way to the emergency room!
Take Pictures From a Distance
If you are anything like me, you like taking a lot of photographs when on a camping trip. I particularly like taking wildlife photos. You can get great pictures if you have a zoom lens, but don’t try to get too close. Remember that a flash can startle animals, and cause them to panic. If you are too close, there is a chance that they could slash out at you, causing painful bites or scratches.
Watch for Sick Animals
Animals such as raccoons, opossums, and skunks are notorious for carrying diseases such as rabies. Under most circumstances, if you see these animals in the middle of the day, you should suspect rabies. This may not be the case if these animals have become accustomed to humans, and have learned that the people are out in the middle of the day. However, if you see an animal that is acting strangely, such as staggering, slobbering excessively, or visibly ill, you need to stay far away, and if possible contact a wildlife officer to deal with the sick animal.
Don’t Feed the Animals
We have already mentioned the need to keep your food secure to avoid the scavenging of the animals. However, you also need to know that feeding wild animals is doing them far more harm than good. If people feed the animals, they become used to it, and begin to lose the ability to provide for themselves. This is not a problem during the camping season, but in many areas it can cause a lot of problems when winter sets in. These animals become so used to being provided for that when the campers go away they cannot find food for themselves. This can, and often does, ensure a suffering death for the animals. So, for the sake of the health and wellbeing of the animals for the whole year, don’t feed the animals!
Viewing animals while on a camping trip can be very exciting. In fact, viewing wildlife can be one of the most exciting parts of the trip. But, you need to be careful, and not endanger either yourself, or the animals that you are wanting to see and enjoy. Follow these tips, and you will be well on your way to a great trip, and enjoyable wildlife viewing experience.
Tips for Taking Your Pet Along
Camping is a great summer experience that can be enjoyed by the entire family. If your family includes a pet that will be accompanying you, these tips will help to ensure you are prepared and ready for some fun.
- Check before hand to ensure pets are welcome at the campground you plan to visit. Some campgrounds don’t allow pets or may have breed restrictions. There may also be a set of rules that must be followed or mandatory equipment that must be used. Do your homework to avoid any surprises or disappointment.
- Ensure vaccines are up to date and your pet is in general good health. Camping is a more strenuous way of life and older or ill pets may not be able to tolerate it.
- Pack wisely. Take enough of your pet’s food to last a couple days longer than your intended stay. You may not be able to find your pet’s regular brand if you run out. Take bowls, old towels, an extra leash, any medication your pet may take and of course your pet first aid kit.
- Be sure to treat your pet with a good flea and tick preventative. Especially if you’re camping in a heavily wooded area, you need the upper hand against the nasty critters.
- Your campsite should provide a cool shady spot for your pet to seek refuge from the heat. Provide plenty of cool drinking water as well. Heat stroke can develop quite rapidly and it’s affects can be fatal. Even with all that fur dogs are also susceptible to painful sunburns.
- Never leave your pet unattended at the campsite, where it is vulnerable to attacks from wildlife, cruel people or an unforeseen accident. It’s supposed to be a family vacation, so take your furry friend along.
- Keep your pet leashed at all times, especially while walking in the woods. Your pet could easily run off and become lost or fall prey to wild animals. Even the most well trained dog can be tempted by the call of the wild.
- After walking in the woods, check your dog over. Look at the pads of his feet to ensure there are no splinters or pine needles that need to be removed. Run your hands over his coat to detect any unwanted critters that may have hitched a ride. Immediately remove any ticks or other insects you may find.
- If you are camping near a lake, river or pond, limit your pet’s exposure to the water source. The water itself contains pollutants and bacteria, not to mention the disease carrying mosquitoes that thrive in this environment. The occasional quick swim will be enjoyable for him, but ensure he’s not ingesting too much of the water.
- Whether sleeping in a trailer or roughing it in a tent, be sure there’s enough room for your pet to join you in the sleeping quarters. There are too many risks involved with leaving your pet to sleep in the car or tied up outside. Be sure to zip your tent up tight to prevent a middle of the night escape by your pet.
- Respect your fellow campers. Be a responsible pet owner and keep your pet supervised, don’t allow barking and excessive noise and be sure to pick up after your pet has relieved himself.
- Ensure your pet is wearing a collar with identification tags attached. Tags should indicate contact numbers and an address, should your pet become lost.
- Do some research ahead of time and obtain the phone number and address of the emergency animal hospital close to where you’ll be camping. Odds are you’ll never need it, but better safe than sorry.
Taking your pet camping will require some advanced planning and preparation, but isn’t your furry friend worth it. After all, what kind of a family vacation would it be with one of it’s most beloved members missing?
Green Camping Tips for Environmentally Friendly Campers
No one wants to be responsible for harming the earth as a result of their camping style, so be smart and plan ahead to reduce your ecological footprint. The whole idea of camping is to get outdoors and experience the incredible beauty our earth has to offer.
Camping is all about breathing in the fresh clean air, wading across the calm cascading waters and exploring the rugged ridges of mountains and trails. It’s a simple, effortless way to have a great time with loved ones in a spot that’s a hundred per cent natural and a hundred per cent unique.
So why do so many campers insists on investing in large, gas-guzzling RV’s and motor homes, and using environmentally harmful materials like Styrofoam, plastic and other throw-away items on a vacation which is designed to be simple and celebrate nature?
To embrace the true essence of what it means to camp and show the earth some love, then take note of these green tips and create a clean and ecologically friendly camping trip this summer.
Invest in Eco-friendly Items
First things first, be sure to purchase eco-friendly clothing, tents and sleeping bags for the camping adventure. This is just a thoughtful way to recycle and be mindful of living an environmentally friendly life while on vacation.
Tents are easily portable, can travel to almost every destination and don’t require the use of gas or alternative energy (except for the exasperation exerted by its setter-upper!). RV’s and motor homes are tons of fun, but they aren’t very friendly to the environment. If green is the way, vehicles are a nay.
Pick up organic bug sprays rather than ones with a harsh chemical base. This can be difficult for some, but if it’s manageable, try lighting an organic citronella candle to keep the pests away and eliminate the use of sprays altogether. Also, select biodegradable soaps for dish, utensil, hair and body washing.
Having a source of light when camping is essential for many reasons, but be careful of the kind of light bulbs used in flashlights and lanterns. Opt for LED lights, they are the most energy efficient ones out there today.
Be Resourceful and Bring Items From Home
Rather than bringing along paper towels or napkins, grab a few dishtowels and face cloths from your linen closet. Not only are these options more durable, but they can air-dry and be used over and over again throughout the trip.
Although they are really cool, oversized grills and ovens are not the most ecologically sound camping devices. The regular old campfire on the site will cook just as well, and bringing along kitchenware like pots, pans, sandwich makers and Dutch ovens provide a lovely, reusable alternative for the preparation of meals. Same goes for Styrofoam anything. Don’t do it! Bringing a set of cutlery from home is a great alternative for plastic, and eliminates the amount of waste accumulated. Throwing away is also a nay when it comes to camping, so try and avoid it at all costs!
By making use of these easy-to-do tips, this year’s camping trip will not only be fun and memorable, it will be clean, respectful and most of all environmentally friendly.
Have fun and keep it green!