Recently, two friends and I decided to go camping just for a night! Living in Victoria, BC, we decided to visit Strathcona Provincial Park, a three-hour drive up the East side of Vancouver Island, then inland just a little.
It was a quick and rather spontaneous trip. We were only going to be camping for one night, and we’d be hiking into the lake where we hoped to camp, so we wanted to pack as light as possible. But we also wanted to be prepared!
In the end, we had a great trip, with enough supplies to last us comfortably, and no one struggling under the weight of their pack. No real emergencies happened but if they did, we would have been ready! Here are some tips to consider, even for a simple trip like this:
- Pack some extra, high calorie food. In case you get lost or need to spend an extra day out there, you’ll be ready.
- Pack some rain gear. It was a perfectly hot and sunny August day, but weather can change so rapidly -especially here in British Columbia- so it’s best to be ready. In the end, the sun stayed out our entire first day. But having a shell over my hoodie in the evening was an effective chill-barrier as well! Dual-purpose items are always a plus!
- Swim in pairs… or trios. All three of us were strong swimmers and wouldn’t think of donning a lifejacket for a lake dip, but we did make sure we stuck together as we struck out for the middle of the lake. With chilly water temperatures, cramps can crop up without notice, and be lethal if you’re away from shore and alone.
- Pack bear spray! None of us have ever encountered a bear up close, although we’ve seen them at a distance. Instead of worrying about it, we decided to get prepared. We kept the bear spray in a highly accessible pouch on one of our backpacks and went through the motions of how to use it, so that we’d be ready in case we needed it. We also packed whistles on our backpacks and sang heartily while hiking, so as not to surprise any wildlife.
- Pack a first aid kit! Even if you’re only dealing with minor scratches or blistered feet, you’ll be glad you have it.
- Take a map of the area.
- Talk to your camping buddies about what they’re bringing, to be as effective and efficient as possible.
- Don’t forget your flashlight. An adjustable headlamp is my ideal form of light, so I can be hands-free.
There are so many great things about camping out in the beauty of nature, being the only three people swimming in an entire lake, star gazing away from the city’s light pollution… everyone should be able to enjoy it.
These have been just a few safety thoughts that I found myself considering while out in the bush. Feel free to share your own camping safety thoughts in the comments below, or share an experience that made you think about camping safety differently!
-Article contributed by Sophie Wooding – Avid gardener and cyclist in Victoria, BC and Content Writer for Frontier.io