If any group knows a lot about camping safely, it is the Boy Scouts. In existence for more than 100 years, the organization has trained and seen thousands upon thousands of its Scouts take to the woods and other outdoor settings to camp. How many of these Important Camping Safety Rules That Scouts Learn do you know? How do you measure up?
(Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of the links and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission that will help support this blog. Thanks so much. )
Use established campsites whenever possible. Observe what is around you before you pitch your tent. Do not camp near dead trees, creek beds, gullies, under lone trees, on ridge lines or high exposed areas.
Steer the kids clear of activities that involve running in the campsite. Tripping over tent stakes, hidden tree stumps, and downed branches can lead to injury in a hurry.
Store food in animal proof sealed boxes away from tents. If your vehicle is near the campsite, you may want to lock sealed food in there. If in bear country, hanging food in a sealed sack up a tree well away from the tent may be necessary to prevent access. NEVER, EVER store food in your tent. Not even candy, gum, coffee, etc.. It is amazing what animals can sniff out.
Keep a well-stocked first aid kit with you. If you do not have one already, check out this Curad Boy Scouts of America First Aid Kit.
Camping Safety In Bad Weather
In case of a storm with lightening, high winds, etc... take shelter in a steel-framed building or hard-topped motor vehicle. A tent does not offer protection from a storm or flooding.
If you can’t find shelter, make yourself small. According to the Boy Scouts of America Safety Merit Badge, “Squat on the balls of your feet, cover your ears with your hands, and put your head between your knees.” Make sure you are not in contact or near metal.
Camping Safety Rules While Cooking
If using a knife, always cut away from yourself.
Grill on a level surface clear of leaves or rubbish.
Ensure that you do not grill under an overhang or in a tent or other enclosed space. Proper ventilation while grilling is crucial.
Keep matches in a waterproof case and out of the reach of children. When you strike a match, do so with no one in front of you.
If using lighter fluid with charcoal, seal up the lighter fluid bottle and place well away from the grill before lighting.
Do not light a fire using gasoline. This volatile substance and its fumes are highly flammable and can quickly flash back on you.
If a grease or oil fire occurs in a pot or pan, never put water on it. Water can spread the fire and splatter burning materials on you. The fire should be smothered using a lid or baking sheet and the heat source turned off. If smothering with cooking gear does not work, use a dry chemical fire extinguisher designed to handle such fires.
Speaking of water, for any water that you consume or use to cook with that does not come from the tap or spigot, make sure that you treat it first. This includes creeks, streams, rivers, lakes and other natural bodies of water.
If building a campfire, whenever possible, use an existing fire ring. Use only deadand downed trees for firewood. Do not cut down live trees.
A campfire should never be left unattended.
To properly extinguish a fire carefully splash water on the embers, then stir ashes with a stick and splash water again. Do until you can hold your hand just above ashes without feeling any heat.
If you or your clothing ever catches on fire, stop, drop, and roll to extinguish the fire safely and quickly.
Keeping these camping safety rules in mind will help you enjoy a pleasant, safe camping trip.
(Please note: In putting together this article, I referenced the 13th Edition of The Boy Scout Handbook. I also used merit badge books such as First Aid and Safety. Additionally, I relied upon my 15 years of knowledge working for a Boy Scout Council.)
For more camping tips: