One of the best perks of car camping is exploring without compromising your comfort and safety. You’re surrounded by a hard shell that protects you from all kinds of weather and wild animals, plus it’s super cozy. Despite the built-in safety of a vehicle, however, every camper needs to be prepared for all kinds of unplanned scenarios. You never know when you’ll encounter a sudden storm, accidental injury or wrong turn. Check out these tips for staying safe while car camping so you can rest easy knowing you’re prepared for anything.
Do What Makes You Comfortable
Camping in your car is already one step toward protecting yourself from the elements. Overheating or freezing can be hard to regulate when you’re sleeping in a tent. To avoid overheating in your car, roll down your windows and consider using a car window screen. The Luno Car Window Screens are the perfect way to stay cool and keep bugs out. Plus, the tinted screens add another layer of privacy. If you’re looking for extra cooling power, try out the Luno Car Camping Fan. The 5” USB powered fan has a hefty suction cup so it can stay stable all night long so you can get a cool, comfortable night’s sleep.
On cold nights, try these tips to keep you and fellow campers comfortable and safe from freezing temperatures. Sleep in insulated, easily removable layers so you can protect yourself and regulate your body temperature. Preheat your bed by filling up water bottles with hot water and placing them in your sheets or sleeping bag about 15 minutes before you’re ready to go to sleep. Check out our blog for more tips on how to stay warm while car camping.
Camping in comfort is more than making sure you’re physically comfortable. Feeling mentally calm and confident is equally as important to your physical comfort. Before you head out on the road, let a close friend or family member know where you’re planning on going and how long you expect to be away. Obviously, this allows someone to find you in an emergency – or send help if you’re not home at the expected time. To ensure you’ll find your way around, bring along a physical map and compass instead of relying on your phone. You never know when your charger will stop working or if you’ll lose signal.
When you’re going camping in the woods or out in the wilderness, you don’t want to feel nervous or on edge. Trust your gut when you’re arriving at your campsite. If any part of you has alarm bells going off, drive on to the next one. Do your best to find your site before it gets dark so you can get a good understanding of your surroundings, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the terrain. If you have friends meeting up with you, mark your campsite with a bright lantern so they can flag down an easy access point. Whether you’re on public lands or a developed campground, always double check that you’re not in a no-parking zone.
Know What to Expect, Prepare for the Unexpected
One of the first things to do before heading out on your trip is learn about the landscape you’re camping in. This could mean checking the forecast for adverse weather, taking note of possible poisonous plants, or familiarizing yourself with threatening wildlife before leaving for your trip. Equipping yourself with this information will inform what you pack, where you camp and what your itinerary might be. Although checking the forecast ahead of time will give you more direction when preparing, it’s always helpful to pack for anything.
Pro tip: familiarizing yourself with all forms of poison ivy, poison oak and other major poisonous plants in your area can save you a lot of pain later on! Check out Poison Control’s plant watch list before you go picking berries or running down a nearby trail. You can also check out our blog on how to avoid dangerous plants and animals.
While you are scoping out potential campsites, it helps to look up common animals that roam there, too. Depending on the time of year, animals could be particularly aggressive (see: mating season). While camping, the best way to keep unwanted guests away is to clean up after yourself and store your food properly. If you can smell your food or trash, so can wild animals. If you’re in an area where mountain lions or bears live, the National Parks Service has a helpful list of rules for responding to an encounter with one. The most important rule is to stay calm and don’t run away. Check out these safety guidelines on what to do if you encounter a bear or mountain lion.
Where’s Your First Aid Kit?
Accidental campfire burn? Giant blister? Persistent splinter? There’s a fix for that! The Red Cross recommends that everyone have a first aid kit in their car, prepared specifically for activities like camping, hiking, and exploring. You can purchase first aid kits directly from Red Cross or at your local drug store. If you’re looking for a more customizable kit, make one yourself! The first aid kit is one of the top priorities in your emergency preparedness kit. Knowing where it is and how to use it is just as important as packing it. Your kit should include basic first aid care like bandages and antibiotic ointment, as well as medications you can use to treat sudden illnesses or issues. Check out this extensive list of first aid supplies for more ideas on a DIY first aid kit.
Creating the Ultimate Emergency Kit
Every camper should have an emergency preparedness kit in a designated, accessible spot. When you’re car camping, you’ve got shelter covered along with a sleep space. But, what else does a car camper need to make sure you’re covered in the case of an emergency? Here are some of the top supplies you’ll need in your emergency kit.
- Water Supply (Gallons or Aqua-Tainer)
- Non-Perishable Food (Supply of up to 3 days)
- Headlamp or Lantern with extra batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Map & Compass
- Fire Starter
- Jumper Cables
- Foldable Shovel
- Swiss Army Knife
Creating an emergency plan with a fully equipped kit and basic survival knowledge may intimidate some campers, but you’ll sleep more soundly knowing that you’ve got everything you need no matter the situation. We all want camping to be safe and fun for everyone, so make sure you’ve got you and your fellow campers covered.
First aid photo credit: Surviveware