Camping in Hot Weather: 7 Tips for Staying Safe - Panergy
However, camping in the summer has its own dangers: Dehydration, wildlife like snakes and bears, and heat exhaustion all pose threats that are just as dangerous as cold-weather threats. What do you need to do to stay safe when camping in the summer? Here are seven tips.
1. TAKE MORE WATER THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED.
Even though "take more water than you think you need" is one of those tips campers and hikers hear a lot, it really can't be emphasized enough. Nevertheless, hikers often skimp on water because of the weight. Yes, water is heavy, but water is also the one thing you can't live without for more than a few days. Dehydration is your number one enemy on the trail during hot months.
How much water should you take? A good estimate is to think one liter of water for every four or five miles you plan to hike.
2. KNOW WHERE THE WATER SOURCES ARE AND BRING A GOOD WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM.
Since one liter of water weighs in at two pounds, an eight or ten mile hike means you'll be starting off with at least four pounds of water. That's a lot of weight in your pack. It is possible to carry less water if you'll be hiking or camping somewhere with reliable water sources and you have a good water filter. With a good water filter, you can safely pump all but the most contaminated water into your water bottle and drink it safely.
However, even if you have a great water filter, that doesn't mean you shouldn't also bring water with you. What if the creek your guidebook promises is dry? What if the snow pack that's supposed to still be there, even in the summer, has melted? Always remember the first point: Take more water than you think you need.
3. PAY ATTENTION TO WHINY KIDS.
If you have children hiking or camping with you in the hot weather, you'll need to pay attention to their whines. Your kids might have a habit of complaining in general, and this makes paying attention to their complaints difficult, like listening to the boy who cried wolf. However, you should remember that kids have smaller, more delicate bodies than adults. They get dehydrated and exhausted faster in hot weather than adults. Make sure the kids you take camping are well-hydrated and cool. If they start to complain about the heat, listen. (If, on the other hand, they are complaining about being ripped away from their video games, don't listen.)
4. KEEP YOUR TENT COOL.
When picking out a campsite, make shade your top requirement. If it's not going to rain, don't use the tent's rainfly. Leaving the mesh part exposed can help air circulation tremendously. Another thing you can do to cool your tent is to bring along a small, battery-powered fan. Even a small fan can make a big difference when you're trying to sleep at night in a hot tent.
When you're camping in hot weather, there's a number of "balms" you'll need. First, you'll want lip balm that includes protection from the sun. People sometimes forget that their lips can get chapped and sunburned the same as any other part of their bodies.
Second, you'll want sunscreen. Besides being bad for your skin, sunburn can be very painful and can lead to heat stroke.
The third "balm" you'll want is insect repellent. A pleasant hike in a beautiful area can become quickly miserable if you are prone to attracting mosquitoes or other biting insects. Good insect repellent will keep you from worrying about insects.
6. SPEAKING OF BITING CRITTERS...
If you're hiking somewhere where deer ticks are prevalent, such as the Catskill Mountains, for example, you also need to make sure you do a daily tick inspection. Deer ticks transmit Lyme disease, a chronic illness which leads to fatigue, mood changes, memory loss, weakness in the limbs, heart problems, and other symptoms. Although Lyme disease can be cured if it's caught early-on, if you don't catch it and treat it early, you'll have it for the rest of your life.
However, for a tick to transmit Lyme disease, it has to embed itself in your body for a number of hours. Therefore, one thorough daily tick check should be enough to prevent acquiring Lyme disease in the first place.
7. PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST OTHER ANIMALS, ESPECIALLY BEARS.
If only mosquitoes were the most dangerous animal on the trail! While wildlife is wonderful and we should all care about the preservation of big predators, those big predators can also be dangerous. When you hike or camp in bear country, the bears are likely to be the most dangerous animal you might encounter.
What will be most likely to attract bears and other big predators to your campsite is the smell of food. Therefore, store all your food in air-tight containers to minimize the lingering scent of food around your camp. Garbage should be disposed of in bear-proof containers or placed in tightly sealed bags until it can be properly disposed of. Additionally, don't use scented personal items that could be mistaken as food by a bear.
Bears and dogs also don't get along very well, so leave Fido at home. If you take Fido with you, make sure that he's close by all the time and on a leash. The last thing you want is your dog taking off through the brush to chase a bear. That fight is unlikely to end well.
Finally, when you are on the trail, avoid bears by being aware of your surroundings. Bears don't like being surprised, so don't surprise them -- carry a whistle to alert them to your presence, sing, clap your hands, or speak loudly to let them know where you are. Besides thick brush, another environmental clue that a bear or another predator could be close by are scavenger birds. Birds circling in the sky could indicate a fresh kill, which in turn could indicate predators.