Camping and outdoor recreation are great ways to bond with nature. While you have many items to bring and activities to do, keep in mind the wilderness has certain dangers most people aren't typically exposed to. There are certain camping risks everyone should know for the best experience.
Falls, Injuries, and Accidents
Accidents happen in the outdoors. Anything can happen from the least concerning to most life-threatening situations. Typically, falls occur from unprepared climbs or hikes in rougher areas. All hikers and climbers should have experience when attempting to tackle tough hiking or climbing conditions. Given that, do not attempt any terrain or situation you are unfamiliar with. This also applies to other situations like swimming, cooking, or other physical activities. Stay cautious of yourself and your surroundings to avoid putting yourself at risk.
A campfire is a necessary component to camping for cooking, warmth, comfort, and as a light source. Still, there are risks to keep in mind when it comes to having a fire near your campsite. One of the biggest risks is that it can spread into a wildfire if unmonitored. A forest fire can ruin your belongings, cause burns, put your life at risk, and damage surrounding areas. To prevent any uncontrollable fires, always keep flammable items away from your campfire. Also, make sure you use a non-flammable barrier, such as rocks, to prevent it from spreading.
Bears and Predators
Depending where you camp, you can experience an unexpected wildlife encounter. Bear encounters can occur in the northern U.S. and Canada. Leaving food around will attract them to your campsite, but you can also face one when hiking in the woods. Therefore, it's extremely important you know how to handle a bear encounter just in case. Ultimately, do not startle or harass a wondering bear and keep your distance. For black bears, make lots of loud noises to scare it away. You may have to fight back if it charges, so aim for the nose. For grizzly bears, do not try to run or fight as it will see you as prey or feel threatened. Lay still on the ground covering your head and stomach until it leaves. If possible, call for help, and always carry bear spray. The same tips are similar for other predators, such as mountain lions. In case you encounter a mountain lion, make yourself appear as large as possible and create lots of loud noise while slowly creating distance between you and the animal. You can also fight back to scare it away.
Weather is unpredictable. One day could be ideal while the next could be a thunderstorm. Stay aware of lightning strikes, flooding, and extreme heat and cold. Rainy weather can not only ruin your outdoor plans, but a flashflood will ruin your campsite. For this reason, it's important to set up camp on high ground and away from lone trees to avoid lightning strikes. Always switch into dry clothes to reduce risk for hypothermia and stay hydrated whenever possible.
It's common to deal with insects whenever outdoors. Ticks and mosquitos are important to keep note of because they do pose a danger. While most of the time you'll likely deal with annoying mosquitos, both insects can carry diseases. Always inspect yourself for ticks and use a high DEET insect repellent to keep mosquitos away.