Staying Safe Whilst Camping
Camping as a family, as a couple or even on your own is a great (and cheap!) way to see a country -you can see the sights from some of the best-located sites in the world and enjoy getting back to basics without things like the Xbox getting in the way.
Luckily, camping and caravanning abroad involves the same sorts of rules, laws and etiquette as you would get back in the UK - keeping the noise down at night, don't let your kids or any animals run loose, be careful with your campfire and other such guidelines. Here are some tips for staying safe whilst camping overseas:
Probably one of the most important safety aspects of camping is to keep an eye on your fire. A fire can destroy a tent in just 60 seconds, and as this is the biggest threat to people who are camping, it's also very important to be aware with related safety procedures.
As with all campsite fires, make sure you have a fire bucket full of water outside your own unit, especially on campsites where no fire-fighting equipment is supplied. Make sure everyone in your group knows exactly what to do if there is a fire, and that they understand the campsite-specific procedures.
- Avoid open fires - always have them in safe, designated areas.
- Put out cigarettes and other smoking materials properly when you leave your vehicle.
- Don't leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire.
- If you see a fire in the countryside, report it to the appropriate authorities - or someone who can alert them.
- If the fire can't be put out with your fire bucket of water, evacuate the area and alert the appropriate authorities.
- Ensure caravans, cars and tents are at least six metres away from one another - this reduces the risk of fire spreading.
- Never use a naked flame for light - always use a torch.
- Make sure you know the campsite's fire safety arrangements and that you know where the nearest public telephone is.
Barbeques can be just as dangerous as open fires, especially with the amount of carbon monoxide that they produce.
- Keep a bucket of water, sand or a hose nearby to put out the fire in emergencies. If a bucket of water doesn't quench the flames, alert the appropriate authorities.
- Never use a barbeque inside a tent, campervan or any other vehicle.
- Never leave a barbeque unattended.
- Make sure your barbeque is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste as these are easily lit and fire spreads quickly.
- Use enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbeque, but not more.
- Keep all children, pets and garden fames away from where you are cooking.
- Make sure the barbeque is cool before you move it.
- Empty any ashes after the barbeque is cool onto bare garden soil - not a bin!
- Don't drink lots of alcohol around the fire.
- Store gas cylinders away from direct sunlight and frost.
- Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinders.
- After cooking, make sure you turn the gas supply off first and then the barbeque control.
- If you suspect a leak, turn off the gas cylinder and try brushing soapy water around all joints, watching for bubbles.
- Make sure all joints are tightened, safe and secure.
- Change gas cylinders outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
Weather has a way of cropping up completely out of the blue, but disaster can be averted so long as an emergency plan for freak weather is in place.
- Get orientated in the campsite in the same way that you would a hotel room - scope out an emergency plan so you know exactly what to do and where to go. If a storm hits at 2am, you're prepared and don't waste time.
- In thunder and lightning storms, the safest place to be on a campsite is in a car with an all-metal roof. If that's not an option, head into the woods but do not settle under the tallest tree. Make every effort to get out of your tent - metal poles will attract lightning and start fires.
- If you're in a flat area, sit cross-legged in a low-lying area (not a ditch, as this collects more water, allowing any lightning to travel further).
- Always pack a torch and layers and layers of clothing.
Keeping pesky insects away from you whilst you're grappling to get back to nature can be a monumental and exhausting task, especially if you've decided to camp throughout the summer season. Bugs can cause itchy bites, spread diseases and ruin food, so it's better without them in your tent, really.
- Avoid camping near water which is stagnant or in a low-lying area. Try to find a suitable campsite on higher ground.
- Pack citronella candles (it's advisable to light these AWAY from your tent as these are a fire hazard).
- Make an effort to keep all of your food sealed - use ziplock bags and coolers to limit access to pesky guests.
- Find an effective insect repellent for heavy woodland. Apply it regularly and be liberal. Pack anti-histamines in the event that someone gets a really itchy bite.
Camping and hiking around picturesque areas certainly has it's perks - you get to see incredible scenery in all of it's glory, throughout sunrise, sunset and indeed, sunshine. Extended periods of time in the sun call for liberal use of sunscreen, even if you don't feel like it's catching you at all. You can burn even on a rainy day. It's also important to stay hydrated.
It's important - wherever or however you intend on travelling - to have a travel insurance policy. Should there be freak weather, or an unforeseen accident, you could end up with nowhere to stay or in serious need of medical attention without anyone to help. With an Alpha Travel Insurance policy, camping is covered as standard, so we can have your back should anything unfortunate happen.