During this time of Covid-19 pandemic, more people are said to be partaking in camping activities as it is easier to have the necessary social distance, and safe camping is an activity which can be done in proximity to home.
Camping can serve as a form of travel for travel lovers which are unable to visit destinations afar. Camping is also a refreshing summertime activity in which the excursion acts as a break from the schedules and obligations of daily life. Even if the camper is a novice or isn’t so fond of nature camping, there are other options such as eco cottages or ‘glamping’ options which can be found easily. Camping is not difficult and does not require a big investment. It is simply a great way to enjoy mother nature and sustainable activity!
The benefits of camping
Believe it or not, the simple act of camping can improve one’s mood. How is it possible? Increased physical activity, being in the sunlight and increased amounts of oxygen all contribute to the creation of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a naturally made substance in the body which is often referred to as ‘the feel good chemical’.
Camping is a physical activity which involves a variety of activities such as trekking, constructing the tent, gathering firewood and sometimes even swimming, climbing or other cardio-rich activities.
Camping as a sustainable activity
Camping in and of itself, is a sustainable activity in which the person is able to be in the nature and enjoy an evening – or many – working in conjunction with nature. Camping truly is one way to form a close connection with nature and to appreciate the symbiotic relationship we as humans have with nature.
Although camping is already quite the sustainable activity, there are ways that the camper can be even more sustainable during their safe camping trip.
- ‘Take only photos, leave only footprints’ Using a hands-off approach to wildlife by taking care not to disturb or scare with too much noise the wildlife & not to pick or touch the flora and fauna.
- When possible, make use of bio materials such as tableware made from bamboo.
- Use reusable, instead of single-use plastics. A hard plastic that’s made from recycled plastics is even better!
- Dispose of your rubbish properly. Click here to learn more about proper rubbish disposal.
The camper may not be aware of it, but some decisions, such as meals, can automatically take a more sustainable approach when campings. One such example of this would be that campers have a tendency to take natural, simple, easy to prepare foods when out in the woods which is a more sustainable option than dining at a large buffet franchise. Simple decisions such as this can make a big difference.
Camping is a prime opportunity to learn more about nature. Families camping can take full advantage of the opportunity to teach their children an appreciation for nature and how to coexist in a sustainable way with the surrounding natural areas. Learning the safe camping methods through practical usage also offers a valuable education. If utilising the services of a local ranger, the camper has a golden opportunity to learn about the flora and fauna, history and wildlife in the nature area. Learning how to make a fire, cook without electricity and set up a camp site with minimal equipment are all valuable skill sets when learning survival skills.
Fire prevention and safety measures are of the utmost importance when in nature areas. As has been witnessed this year with Australia’s fires, bushfires can spread quickly and severely. The World Wildlife Federation states that only 4% of all forest fires are brought about by natural causes, such as a lightning strike. The remaining 96% of fires are related to human causes. Especially in the dry summer months, one must exercise caution and awareness to prevent accidents. One must take care not to cause harm to their surroundings.
The National Fire Protection Association has provided fire safety and prevention information for a variety of situations, including the information shared below.
There is something comforting in sitting around a campfire, sipping a warm beverage and perhaps sharing stories with friends or family. It is advisable to make certain that there is not a fire ban in place at your destination, prior to setting the campfire. This information can be obtained from local fire departments.
We asked a professional with experience in the fire and safety field, what campfire safety tips they would like to share with our readers. Some of the tips are as follows:
- Never use flammable liquids with the fire.
- Keep all flammable items, including paper & clothing, away from the campfire.
- Don’t dry wet clothing or shoes over the fire, or lay or hang wet items next to the fire.
- Don’t put tents or sleeping bags too close to the campfire.
- Do not have anything with an open flame inside the tents.
A few additional tips for campfire safety for safe camping from the National Fire Protection Association are:
- Clear away dried leaves or sticks before making the campfire.
- Keep the campfire an average of 7,5 metre / 25 feet from buildings or burnable items, such as trees, dried leaves, fabrics, etc.
- Never use flammable liquids with the fire.
- Having a small camping shovel with you will help as putting dirt or sand on the fire will help to extinguish it.
- Make certain that all fires are completely extinguished before leaving the site.
Wildfire safety and prevention
Whether camping in the woods, on the shore or in the snow; fire safety practices are important to remember in order to have a safe and enjoyable time! Here are some wildfire safety and prevention tips from Nidirect for a safe camping experience.
- Extinguish smoking materials properly and never throw them out a window.
- Don’t leave bottles of glass in woodlands – sunlight shining through glass can start fires.
- Avoid using open fires in the countryside.
- Keep your cooking area clear of flammable material, including long grass.
If the camper is in a national park or wooded area with alot of wildlife, such as bears or elk, it is advised to not store your food in the tent, as animals can smell it and may come closer to investigate. Animals can smell food wherever it is stored, but our safety professional says that hanging the food in a tree will at least keep the animals from getting to it. This is much easier than one may think. If food items are placed in a canvas bag or cooler with handles, tying a rope through the handles and draping over a branch of the tree will enable the camper to pull the package easily and then tie around a lower branch for it to hold. This will help to save the food items, as well as help to prevent the camper having unwanted animal guests during the night.
These are all small ways by which the eco traveller can enjoy safe camping as a sustainable activity which can be enjoyed around the globe.
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