Camping personal safety is something you should think about every time you go camping. Keeping you and your family safe is paramount. Not everyone in the campground is there for the same reason you are. When camping, people are often very friendly and helpful. RVers are known for their social prowess and activity involvement. But not all people who camp are that way. The reasons people choose a nomadic lifestyle or are at a campground are as varied as the types of RV’s and campers out there! Making a plan for personal safety while you camp can mean the difference between a good time or a bad one.
Luck runs out, but safety is good for life – unknown
What is Camping Personal Safety?
Personal safety by definition is recognition and avoidance of possible harmful situations or persons in your surroundings. We will look at what this means for you and your family while you are camping and traveling.
Camping Personal Safety Tips
While camping, alertness and awareness are your best friends. Know where you are and what is around you all the time. Camping often gives you the feeling of relaxing and that is ok but being aware and alert is your best defense against a potential problem.
Always be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of who is camping next to you, across from you and behind you.
Pay attention to what is happening. Know when the weather is changing and who is moving about around your camper
Lock Your Camper
Always lock your camper when you leave it. Even if you are just going to the laundry room or the bathhouse in the campground.
Use window locks so your RV can't be accessed by the sliding windows.
Don’t leave valuables in plain sight. This way there isn’t a temptation to people who might give in and take what you have.
Know First Aid/CPR
Everyone who camps should know the basics of first aid and CPR. Make learning this fun! If you have a community of people you camp or RV with…learn it together! Even children can benefit from learning the basics even if they can’t actually give CPR yet. If you have a group to participate you can get a CPR/First Aid educator to come to the campground and teach it.
Use The Buddy System
This phrase takes me back to my girl scout days! 😊 Our leaders always yelling at us to never go anywhere alone! However, in a camping situation, even as adults this can be a smart thing to do.
A while back we were camping in a city park campground. I was walking early in the morning for my exercise time. Things seemed fine. The next morning, Bryan decided to go with me. I am glad for that! As we were walking, a man walked by us and we greeted him as all happy campers do. He lashed out and said, “Are you trying to pick a fight?”. We were stunned, of course, we weren’t, we were only saying hello. We walked on in the opposite direction to avoid further contact with him. As we made the loop on the road in the campground, he walked toward us and got into our personal space and made an obscene gesture to us. We quickly walked to our RV and went inside and locked the doors. We reported the incident to the campground office and the manager told us she would take care of it and this wasn’t an isolated incident. Later we found out they threatened to evict him if he did anything again. It was great they took action but he was still there in the park for the duration of our visit. It was quite unsettling.
Ladies, if you use the bathhouse at a campground for your showers, have your spouse walk with you. Check out who is in there before you take your shower and make sure you feel safe. If possible, have them wait outside until you are finished. There have been many reports of campground bathhouse sexual abuse in campgrounds. Don’t be a victim!
Weapons of Defense
Guns – know the laws of the state you are in when carrying a weapon with you. More importantly, know how to use the gun if you are going to carry it. If you own a gun, be responsible and do monthly shooting to keep in practice. A gun in your possession that you are scared to use quickly becomes a weapon against you. Carry wisely!
Stun Gun or Taser – These weapons are an option, but the downfall is that you have to make contact with your attacker in order for these to work. These kinds of weapons won’t incapacitate the attacker but will most likely make them let go of you and you can escape.
Pepper spray – this is the easiest type of weapon to carry. This is legal in almost all areas of the country. Purchase a law enforcement brand. One that you carry on your keychain probably won’t do a lot of good in a threatening situation.
Know Some Self-Defense Tactics
When you are in a situation where you feel threatened, your first moments' matter. What you do next can determine your survival.
REACT: Don’t hesitate to yell, HELP or FIRE to draw attention to your situation.
GIVE: Give them what they ask for … car, keys, money. Your life is more important than things.
RESIST: Confidence is one of your best weapons. Keep eye contact. Take a step forward to show your attacker you are not afraid (you are, I know!) Speak loudly and firmly. Don’t say please or try to be polite. Be direct and confident (you may not feel that way but ACT like it). Predators are looking for easy targets. Don’t comply with their wishes to go with them. Stand up to them. Your best chance of survival is to get away immediately. Going to another location just puts you further away from help.
DON’T GIVE UP: Your attitude of survival in a life-threatening situation is paramount. It can determine the outcome. Don’t let your emotions rule. Stay positive.
Be Prepared For Weather
Weather can change from moment to moment. Part of campground personal safety is being prepared for weather while you are camping. Arm yourself with these campground weather safety tips to know what to do in a weather emergency.
If you are able, tune into the local weather channel on your RV TV and keep abreast of the forecast. Plan your activities accordingly. If severe weather is forecasted make a plan to move, go home or hunker down.
Teach Your Kids & Grandkids
If you travel with children all the time or even part of the time, there are ways to make the children in your life safer. Teach them these 10 Must-Have Camping Safety Tips for Kids so everyone can have a more enjoyable camping experience.
Camping is fun! But it's even more fun when we are prepared and aware of what to do and how to prevent and respond in case we need to. Let's hope we never need to react or respond but there is peace of mind knowing we have the tools
Camping personal safety doesn't just need to be used in a campground. Traveling is part of camping in your RV. You need to be prepared with wisdom and a plan to be ready to react to unforeseen events.
Do the following things to be safe while traveling:
When you stop to get fuel or take a break at a rest stop, be aware of your surroundings.
Lock your camper/RV when you leave it.
Be prepared for weather when you travel. You could drive into a winter storm or break down in the desert. Both of those extreme travel events pose their own brand of possible problems.
Desert: It's hot! If you break down while traveling in the desert be sure to have packed plenty of water to be able to wait for help. Do not leave your vehicle! Use a tarp and the vehicle to make shade for yourself.
Winter: Blizzards are not fun! Don't drive in a winter storm. Carry extra anti-freeze for you RV radiator. Carry an ice scraper and de-icer. Use a hairdryer to thaw out pipes and locks.
Let someone know where you are going and when you will return. Especially if you are traveling into remote places. We have our location shared with our children on Google Maps so that they can see where we are and send help if they cannot contact us.
When you are camping you should always be prepared for an encounter with a wild animal. You are, after all in nature. If you are traveling into an area that is well known for certain animals, keep alert and know how to react and respond should you need to. These tips on Camping Nature Safety will help you be prepared in case you have an encounter of the exotic kind.
If you travel with dogs, be aware of what is outside your RV before you head out with them. Always keep them on a leash for their safety. You don't want any surprises or unhappy confrontations.
Camping personal safety is important component while enjoying the outdoors. Being aware, alert and prepared can help make your camping trips memorable for all the right reasons!