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11 Camping Safety Tips

Whether you're headed out for just one night or for a week-long adventure, safety should always come first when you're in the outdoors. Here are 11 camping safety tips every outdoor enthusiast should keep top of mind.

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First Aid Kit safety tipsZerbor/Shutterstock

Bring a First Aid Kit

A basic first aid kit should have an antibacterial ointment, antiseptic wipes, some adhesive bandages, ibuprofen and some gauze pads. If you have a camper with a life-threatening allergy, include an EpiPen. Carry first aid supplies in a waterproof box or bag.

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camping tents food coolerAVAVA/Shutterstock

Keep Food Safe

Pack foods in tight, waterproof bags or containers and keep perishable food in an insulated cooler. Make sure raw meats are kept separate.

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camping Boil Drinking WaterValery Shanin/Shutterstock

Boil Drinking Water


Except for boiling, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say few other water treatment methods are 100-percent effective in removing pathogens. Water should be brought to a rolling boil for one minute to kill all pathogens. Those in higher altitudes may need to boil water for three minutes. See the CDC’s Guide to Drinking Water Treatment and Sanitation for Backcountry and Travel Use.

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hiking trailDudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock

Be Safe on the Trail


When hiking, always wear sturdy shoes or boots and reflective gear. Never go alone and consider bringing flares, such as those in your car emergency kit, in case you become lost.

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poison ivystockphotofan1/Shutterstock

Know Your Plants


No one wants to have a reaction to poison oak or poison ivy when on a camping trip. Learn to identify poisonous plants and consider putting an antihistamine in your first aid kit.

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outdoor cooking campingvladimir salman/Shutterstock

Protect Against Carbon Monoxide


Fuel-burning equipment, such as lanterns, gas stoves, heaters and grills should never be used inside an enclosed shelter, such as a tent or camper. Keep fuel-burning equipment at a safe distance away from flammable materials.

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camping tent sleeping bagsCollin Quinn Lomax/Shutterstock

Stay Warm


To protect against the cold, bring plenty of extra bedding and clothing. Be prepared for the cold and know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite. To help you stay dry, use a plastic ground cloth under your tent. Dress in layers, drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol.

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raccoon pestEdwin Butter/Shutterstock

Keep Pests Away


Avoid leaving food out that could attract pests, such as raccoons, bears and skunks. Safety tips for pets? If you bring your dog on the trip, keep him on a leash, make sure to check for ticks regularly and provide him with plenty of water and food.

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hiking bug sprayDudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock

Keep Bugs Away


To keep mosquitoes at bay, apply insect repellent that contains DEET. Wear long sleeves and pants to help keep ticks off skin, and check for ticks often. If found, remove the tick promptly.

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camping camp fireSoloviova Liudmyla/Shutterstock

Build a Safe Fire


Never build a fire under low trees or leave a burning fire unattended. Make sure there is no debris, such as garbage or dry leaves or grass, near the fire pit. If there is no designated fire pit, surround the fire area with rocks.

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camping tent sunscreenMaridav/Shutterstock

Protect Yourself from the Sun


The sun’s rays can reach you not just on clear days, but hazy or cloudy days as well. Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15. Seek shade during midday hours and wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

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Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.