Summer camping tips to make your trip a success

Jun 10, 2024, 11:39 AM

A shadow reveals a camper reading a book inside an orange tent....

FILE -- A camper reads a book inside a tent. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Summer is a time for camping and outdoor recreation. However, the heat brings an increased risk of dehydration, sunburn, and wildlife encounters. Keep yourself safe with some summer camping tips. 

Before your summer camping trip 

Firstly, camping alone is not recommended. Always go with a group, and never leave children or pets unattended, per the Utah Department of Natural Resources

As you plan your trip, the United States Forest Service said to be research the area. Be aware of natural hazards. Avoid them and choose another location if they exist. Additionally, educate yourself on the poisonous plants that you may encounter during your trip. Know how to identify them, avoid them, and how to treat them in the case of an emergency. 

The DNR also said to pack an emergency kit before you head out. Along with your camping equipment, make sure to pack necessities to treat minor injuries. 

Minor injuries include small or shallow cuts, scrapes, and strains. 

According to Welia Health, your first aid kit should include item such as adhesive bandages, sterile gauze, antiseptic ointment, and sterile towelettes, among other first aid necessities. Additionally, it is advised to pack a first aid manual and emergency contacts list. Visit Welia Health’s website for a full list of essentials. 

Make sure that you always tell at least one trusted person where you will be going and when you will return. Knowledge of your location could help you or them in the case of an emergency.

The DNR recommends ensuring your cell phone remains charged for the duration of the trip. If you will be venturing outside of service, the department recommends carrying a radio meant for use outside of cellular service. 

During your trip

Plan to head out so that you arrive early. The Forest Service said it is important to allow yourself enough daylight time to inspect your camping space for hazards after you arrive. Check the area for things such as sharp glass and sticks, ant beds, bees and wasps, and dangerous terrain. 

Build fires in safe areas. Make sure they are at least 15 feet away from tents, vehicles, or anything else that can ignite. The Forest Service said they should be made on surfaces where they cannot spread. Ideally, they should be built on a grill or stone surface. 

When it is time to put the fire out, ensure that you use enough water. Drown it until there are no dry embers, coals, or sticks. 

Never use fire as a light source inside tents. Opt for battery-powered options such as flashlights and rechargeable lanterns instead. 

Kampgrounds of America said that it is important to keep food stored safely and securely. Proper food storage can protect you from unwanted wildlife encounters and foodborne illnesses. Pack food in air-tight, waterproof containers. Do not leave it out unattended. 

Store food in insulated coolers, keeping raw ingredients and cooked meals separately. Always wash your hands and practice food safety protocols. 

Finally, KOA said that you should use sunscreen and insect repellents during your summer camping trip. 

Seek shade during the hottest hours of the day, and make sure you drink enough water to remain hydrated. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and reapply regularly. The Centers for Disease Control said that water can be disinfected through boiling, reverse-osmosis filtration, and disinfection. 

Always disinfect water before consuming it so that you do not contract a water-borne illness. 

To avoid attracting insects, wear light-colored clothing and avoid using heavily scented perfumes. 

Related: Utah experts share life-saving boat safety tips

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Summer camping tips to make your trip a success