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Camping can be a very rewarding and fun activity. In a traditional campground setting, there are other campers, workers, and possibly forestry agents to help you. When camping out in the wilderness, you are on your own. This can go wrong. You can correct most problems during a wilderness camping trip with some knowledge and good camping gear.
Dealing With Wildlife
Camping in the wilderness without the luxuries of a regular campground is a great way to get in touch with nature. Unfortunately, sometimes nature can get a little too close for comfort. With wildlife, it is more about prevention.
Some of the things that you can do to prevent wildlife like bears, mountain lions, raccoons, and opossums from becoming a threat are:
- Keep all of your camping gear safe and secured when you are not using it
- Never keep food near or in your tent
- Do not wear anything smelling like food when you sleep
- Keep the stuff that smells edible, like medications, toothpaste, and other items, secured in an airtight container
- Store foods at least 100 yards away from your tent in an airtight cooler
- If you see a bear or mountain lion, remain calm and back away slowly
If you encounter wildlife on the trail or while camping, make sure you remain calm and do not run. Running will sometimes cause the more dangerous animals to give chase. For the less threatening wildlife such as raccoons and opossums, shoo them away. In the case of skunks, keep far away. Do not attempt to pet, touch, or feed any form of wildlife.
Running Out of Food
When camping in the wilderness and a bear or other critter eats your food, you must break camp and hike back, use your backup rations or continue. Forests are rich in edibles, but unless you have a good field guide and know your plants, do not attempt to live off what you can find.
If you have MREs (meals ready to eat), now is the time to utilize them. These should be part of your emergency survival gear.
Another danger that is easily overcome with smart packing is getting lost. Not all trails and wilderness parks have maps. Remember, your cellphone probably will not work when you are wilderness camping. In this case, a good battery-operated or solar-powered GPS or an old-fashioned compass will serve you well.
Before hiking into the wilds, make sure you know how to navigate by GPS or compass. Thousands of people go missing in the woods yearly because they either do not have or cannot properly use these items.
Flares are also a good way to signal for help when you are lost. The problem with flares is they are relatively short, and someone may not see them. It is better to rely on a GPS or compass to find your way to the nearest safe place.
Forgetting a Piece of Outdoor Gear
While packing, it is easy to forget a piece of vital gear, like your archery equipment for example. Everyone has done it at one time or another. You can improvise as long as you have the basics. You can make a shelter out of some rope, trees, and a tarp. It won’t protect you from the weather and animals completely, but it will keep you dry and somewhat warm if done right.
This is why rope and at least a small tarp are vital pieces of camping gear. They can be useful for shelter or catching rainwater when your campsite is not near a freshwater source.
An injury can be one of the worst things that can happen during a wilderness camping trip. If you or someone in your party gets injured, you will need help quickly. Fortunately, there are first aid and trauma kits that you can purchase. These two-in-one kits are excellent for first aid.
You should be familiar with basic first aid techniques. Before camping in the wilds, you should familiarize yourself with your first aid or trauma kit and at least understand how to:
- Stop or slow bleeding
- Splint a sprain or break
- Bandage a wound with the correct size bandage
- Treat minor scrapes and burns
- Treat bites of all varieties
When you or someone in your party is injured, someone will need to go for help. Although you can use flares to signal that you need help, they are not as effective as you might think.
Dealing With Insects
Insects are another danger in the wilderness. Although they will not necessarily kill you, mosquitos are very annoying. Having a good insect repellent is invaluable in these situations. The first aid kit should include remedies for insect bites as well.
Remember that more than just mosquitos reside in the wild. Depending on the season, you will have to contend with:
You should be aware of how to treat bites and stings from all forms of insects. Fortunately, most good first aid kits contain medications like ibuprofen for pain and inflammation and an antihistamine for allergic reactions. If you are allergic to any insect bite or sting, be sure to have an epinephrine injection with you just in case.
Dealing With Bad Weather
Bad weather is inevitable if you camp frequently. A good waterproof tent and a water-resistant sleeping bag will come in handy in this situation. You can also use a tarp and rope over your tent for added protection. These items help in rain, snow, hail, and wind.
Secure your belongings in either your tent or in waterproof containers. Keep some sealed food or MREs in your tent if the storm lasts longer than expected. You may also want to have a battery-operated lantern with you as well.
You should have a good understanding of what you are walking into when camping in the wilderness. Study the area, know the route you will take, inform others of your intentions, and pack your camping supplies accordingly.