When warm weather hits, nature lovers across the country head outside, pack up their tents, sleeping bags, gear and get ready to hit the wilderness. If you’re new to camping, you might wonder if it’s actually safe to sleep in a tent? How could those thin fabric walls actually keep you safe?
Is sleeping in a tent safe? Yes it’s generally safe to sleep in a tent. Camping is obviously riskier than staying at home, but you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Pay attention to your surroundings and take precautions against animals, inclement weather, fire and other campers.
Is Sleeping in a Tent Safe?
Becoming one with nature definitely has its perks, but there are some drawbacks. Ditching the comforts of home and putting yourself into unfamiliar territory definitely comes with a few dangers.
Lightning, bears, wasps/bees, snakes, injury and dehydration can all put a serious damper on your trip, but chances of serious danger are slim with a little planning. While sleeping in a large locked building is always going to be safer a tent really isn’t all that dangerous.
Think About All Those Campers
You should never feel like you’re in danger when sleeping in a tent. Millions of people camp every year throughout the world, and very few are ever in any real danger.
The number of campers attacked by animals is almost laughable and maybe a handful are attacked by other humans(mostly drunken morons). You just have to trust your gut and try to take yourself out of bad situations.
Keep an eye on wildlife, use common sense when choosing your campsite, do a little planning and you should be alright. If you’re not comfortable camping start out in a family friendly campground. Most campsites are filled with families and young children running around. Nobody will hesitate to call the police if there’s any type of danger.
Keep Your Car Closeby
You don’t have to trek miles out into the forest to have a great camping trip. In fact, inexperienced campers probably shouldn’t venture too far away from their car.
If you ever feel uncomfortable sleeping in your tent just retreat back to the safety of your car. You’ve got protection against the weather, animals and even other campers.
- Weather: The weather forecast always seems to change from one day to the next. Thunderstorms might not be a big deal when you’re sitting at home, but they’re much less fun on a camping trip.
- Animals: For the most part animals aren’t going to bother you. All they want is your food. So never bring food into your tent and consider buying a bear proof container (this is my favorite) when camping in bear country.
- Other Campers: Unless you’re backpacking miles into the woods you’ll probably run into other campers. Give them a few drinks and friendly people turn into idiots.
- Fire Danger: When you have children around campfires, or drunk adults, campfires can produce nasty accidents. Make sure there aren’t any fire bans in your area and stay safe around the campfire.
Will a Tent Protect You Against Bears?
You always need to take a few extra precautions when camping in bear country. Your tent isn’t going to provide any physical protection against bears, though it does offer a psychological barrier. Either way, if there’s food inside your tent a bear will smell/find it.
Bears can smell food from miles away. So make sure you don’t cook near your campsite or bring food into your tent. Pack all your food in a bear canister or bear bag far away from your tent. Bear canisters are also great for keeping away raccoons and rodents.
There’s not much you can do if a bear decides he wants some of your food. It’s best to just let him eat and stay a safe distance away. Keep a firearm or bear spray (this is what I use) close by and know how to use them.
Tent Camping Safety Tips
If you’re new to camping there are a few safety precautions you should follow. Most of these are common sense, but they will keep you safe on your first camping trip.
- Choose The Right Camp Site: Before heading out try to reserve the right campground site for your family. Consider your age, physical limitations and all of your medical needs. If you’re camping with kids/elderly you might want to ditch the tent for a comfortable cabin.
- Watch The Weather: Before your trip keep an eye on the weather forecast. When planning a trip months in advance there’s not much you can do, but make sure you pack for inclement weather. Watch out for freezing night time temperatures, high heat, lightning and rain/snow.
- Food Storage: Never bring food inside your tent! In bear country it’s even more dangerous, but even raccoons and rats can be a problem. Store your food inside waterproof containers and store them in a cooler or bear canister.
- Practice Proper Hygiene: Camping doesn’t mean you need to abandon all forms of hygiene. You still need to wash your hands before handling food to avoid food contamination. Diarrhea is not fun when camping in a tent.
- Animal Safety: Watch out for wildlife! Store your food inside a car or in a bear proof container or storage locker. You don’t want to attract unwanted wildlife into your campsite.
- Campfire Safety: Everybody is afraid of animals, but fire is actually one of the biggest dangers. Keep fires at least 15 feet away from your tent walls and any nearby tress. The fire should be kept small and contained inside a designated fire pit. A water bucket should be kept nearby just in case.
- Medical Emergencies: Try to prepare for any forseeable medical emergency when planning your trip. Think about allergies (don’t forget a epi-pen) and whether or not you can physical get to the campsite. Bring along all medications and figure out an emergency exit plan just in case.
- Bring Extra Water: Bring along extra water or a way to filter emergency water. If your cars nearby pack a few extra cases of water in your trunk just in case. You don’t just need water for drinking. You’re going to be cooking with it, cleaning and washing up your body.
- Pay Attention to Surroundings: Camping is a fun experience, but you need to pay attention to both your surroundings and body. Get plenty of sleep and keep an eye out for problems.