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Staying Safe On Remote Campsites

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 7 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Camping Campsites Tent Fields Personal

Although many people who enjoy camping prefer campsites which offer many of the facilities and creature comforts you’d find at home, others prefer the wilderness experience and getting away from it all in extremely remote and natural environments. There’s no suggestion that camping in remote places or fields is any less safe than a modern day campground but it pays to stay alert and preparation is the key to your personal safety.

Getting There

Assuming you’re travelling by car, one of the most fundamental concerns if you’re camping in remote places is to make absolutely certain that your vehicle is in tip-top condition. Depending upon the terrain, you might also need to determine if your vehicle is suited to the demands of the trip. For example, if you’re going to be driving off-road. When camping in remote places, it’s always better to reach your destination before the sun goes down so that you can gain the lie of the land. It’s also easier to set up camp in daylight. Therefore, you may need to allow extra time for your journey, taking into account that you may need to drive on rugged narrow roads with sharp bends where extra care is needed.

Also ensure that you’ve got some kind of emergency kit in place in case you break down and have a plan in place for summoning for help if the need arises as well as adequate food and heating provisions. Also, familiarise yourself with the route before heading off and have a precision map and compass or, better still, a GPS device.

Communication

Make sure that you leave details of your itinerary with somebody at home. Ensure you have a mobile phone with you and that it’s fully charged. Better still, take a spare battery for it. In some far flung places, you may find that you cannot get a mobile phone signal so a high frequency radio is also a useful piece of kit.

Security

One of the most important aspects of camping in remote places is that privacy tends to equal security when it comes to personal safety so if you are venturing off the beaten path, make sure you choose a place where your presence is not going to invite unwanted attention. For example, you won’t want your caravan or tent to be seen by passing motorists so choose a suitable but discreet spot. It’s always a good idea to get to your proposed site before dark as it allows you to check the lie of the land. Look at your immediate surroundings. If there is litter and the likes of discarded beer cans lying about, you should choose to move on. If the campsite has been used for partying previously, it will be again at some point so look for another place to pitch camp.

Stay On Alert

The first night of your stay, you should only unpack what is absolutely necessary so that in the event of any unsavoury incidents, you can make a quick getaway. If the following morning you’re feeling more relaxed about your location, then you can unpack more gear and make your pitch a little more homely if you’re planning to stay more than just one night.

If Strangers Pass By

Always be alert to other vehicles that also pull up but don’t become paranoid. No matter how remote you think your campsite is, you won’t have been the first one to discover it so there’s no need to assume that anybody who approaches you has bad intentions. Just be on your guard. Remain calm and if they approach you, be friendly and helpful if need be. However, remain alert. Don’t encourage them with invitations to share your food or spend a night around the campfire. If you get a gut instinct and feel uneasy about any stranger's presence for whatever reason, simply pack away whatever few bits you've unpacked and move on.

When Settling Down For The Night

Before retiring to sleep, make sure you’ve extinguished any fire and stowed away any remaining food. Depending upon the territory, you may need to take extreme precautions with regard to food supplies, especially if you’re camping in areas where the scent of food can attract the presence of the likes of foxes (or bears if camping in America). Make sure that all your gear has been stowed away and if you need to head out to an area away from your campsite to go to the toilet, take a torch and, better still, have someone to accompany you. Kids, in particular, should always be accompanied. If you're in a caravan, make sure all curtains and blinds are shut before going to sleep and lock the door inside.

Additional things you can do to minimise danger is to carry some kind of personal alarm and, if you’re in a caravan or motorhome, consider fitting some kind of noise device or alarm system. Having a dog with you is always a useful deterrent if you’re camping in remote places.

The actual reality of camping in remote places, however, is that you’re far less likely to encounter any safety issues than you would in a busy campground. Chances are the area will be so isolated that the only sights and sounds you’ll hear will be the magical wildlife all around you. By being prepared for emergencies and the unforeseen, however, it will increase your own perceptions of safety and allow you and those with you to relax more and enjoy the real wilderness experience.

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