Spending time outdoors has significant benefits for mental and physical health, providing an opportunity to enjoy fresh air, minimizing stress, and creating natural reasons to exercise and explore – and what better way to get close to nature than by camping? If you’re considering staking down a tent somewhere, though, you’ll need to be properly prepared. These four handy tips can help you enjoy the great outdoors safely so that you arrive home feeling rested, strong, and ready for anything.
Seek Out The Shade
In moderation, sun is good for you; it boosts your vitamin D levels and improves your mood. On the other hand, too much sun can pose real dangers to your health. Extended exposure can cause skin cancer, and on especially hot days it can also lead to heat stroke, a potentially deadly condition.
To avoid heat stroke, don’t perform strenuous activities at the height of the day, drink plenty of fluids, wear sunscreen, and stay in the shade whenever possible. If you begin to experience a headache, nausea, or weakness, it’s vital that you get out of the sun. And if you or someone in your party has a high fever, experiences, confusion, or begins having seizures, get to the emergency room immediately.
Be Careful By Water
Taking a dip in a river or lake can be an enjoyable way to cool off while camping, but it can also be hazardous, so be sure to take proper precautions. If you’re swimming or going fishing – another great way to exercise and unwind – everyone should wear a life vest, especially if they can’t swim well. One of the serious issues with drowning is that it isn’t nearly as obvious as the media makes it out to be, so you may not notice if someone in your party is slipping away.
In addition to wearing a life vest, be careful swimming in rapidly moving waters or just after rains. Much like ocean riptides, it’s easy to be pulled away in the current of a river. Swimming is a wonderful activity and great for your cardiovascular health, but you need to be careful to choose the proper body of water.
Set Up Shelter
Your tent is your home away from home when camping, so you want it to be comfortable, but most of all, you want it to be cool and dry. Invest in a quality tent and then add an extra layer of tarps above and below. The overhead tarp will supplement the rainfly, adding extra shade and keeping water out of your tent, so that you don’t develop skin irritation or hypothermia. And the extra tarp below will minimize leaks, insulate your bedding from the cold ground, and can create a buffer zone around your tent.
Beware Of Bugs
If you’ve listened to the news lately, you probably know that Lyme represents a growing threat to the health of individuals across the United States. Once isolated to a limited part of the northeast, this tick-borne illness is now found all across the country.
In order to avoid tick bites, wear insect-repellant containing DEET and light-colored clothing. You should also avoid high grasses and check yourself and everyone in your party for ticks every day during your trip. They like to hide along the hairline, in armpits, and in other skin creases. If you remove a tick within the first 24 hours, you likely won’t be infected by the Lyme bacteria, but you should still take the tick to your doctor to be checked for potential exposure.
More people are camping these days than have in years, and it’s a great way to get away from our digital connections, sleep better, and feel more connected to the retreating natural world. So take advantage of the trend and get out there. Just be sure to wear sunscreen and bug spray and always stay hydrated.
A few precautions ensure that the fun – and fitness – can carry on without a hitch.