Camping Safety Tips

Camping can be a fun way for friends and family to spend some time together enjoying the sights and sounds nature provides. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Forest Service have published guidelines in order to help campers prepare for a safe and enjoyable trip.


Vaccinations are not just for traveling to exotic locations. They can also help protect against certain diseases and conditions that can occur when camping in the United States. Before leaving for a camping trip, check with your primary care physician to make sure you are up to date on all your vaccinations.[1]

Never Travel Alone

If you are planning a camping trip, it is a good idea to make sure that you have a traveling companion in case of an emergency. It is also a good idea to leave your itinerary with someone responsible who is not traveling with you.  The itinerary should include details such as your car’s make, model, and license plate number, your destination, and when you plan on returning. If you are traveling to a distant or isolated area, consider travelling with at least three other people. If someone gets hurt, one person can stay with the victim while the other two travel companions can go to get help. If you are traveling to an unfamiliar area, you might want to ask someone who knows the area to accompany you.[2]

Wild Animals

If you are camping in a remote location, you are likely to run into some wildlife. It is best to avoid any contact with wild animals, as many of them carry diseases like rabies, hantavirus, Giardia infection, and more. You should never, under any circumstance, touch or feed a wild animal. Keep any food you have brought in sealed, airtight containers as this can help prevent wild animals from being attracted to your campsite. If you have brought pets with you, make sure you are aware of their location and check them often for ticks .

Insect Bites

Many insects can cause diseases that are dangerous to humans. Mosquitos are known to carry West Nile virus and ticks can transmit Lyme disease. Insect repellent is key to preventing insect bites – applying an insect repellent with more than 20% DEET will help protect against bites for several hours. Insect repellent called permethrin can be applied to clothes to help keep ticks away. You should check for ticks daily, and remove them promptly. Wearing long sleeves, pants, and light-colored clothing can help you spot ticks and remove them more easily.[3]


The season during which you’re traveling and the location of your campsite will determine how you prepare for your trip. If you are traveling and it is going to be cold, you should bring enough bedding and clothing to stay warm. Additionally, using a plastic tarp under your tent can keep everyone dry. Staying warm and dry is key to preventing hypothermia. If it is going to be hot where you’re traveling, you should drink a lot of alcohol and sugar-free liquids. Dehydration can sneak up on you, so you should not wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. The sun can also be dangerous, even on cloudy or hazy days – using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 can help protect you against both UVA and UVB rays.[4]


Don’t forget the tips discussed in this article next time you plan a camping trip. Following these guidelines will help ensure that your next trip is safe, fun, and pleasant!

About the Author: Charles Allen is a Richmond car accident lawyer with Allen & Allen. He has handled injury cases for Virginians for more than 25 years.

[1] Camping Health and Safety Tips, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Feb. 5, 2014),

[2] Recreational Activities – Travel Advisories: Outdoor Safety, U.S. Forest Service (Dec. 16, 2013),

[3] Camping Health and Safety Tips, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Feb. 5, 2014),

[4] Camping Health and Safety Tips, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Feb. 5, 2014),