Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vixl/4939117481/
When packing for camping, many would prefer to think about rations, campground supplies, and tent poles than ways that we might be able to defend ourselves. While it’s true that crime rates at campgrounds are significantly lower than in the city, a reduced likelihood is not very solid grounds to forget the importance of your group’s safety. When camping, it’s wise to heed home security measures like you would if you were home if you want to create a safe environment.
While advanced monitoring and alarm systems clearly aren’t feasible in most outdoors situations, taking some basic principles of home security systems and applying them on your next camping outing can increase your chances of deterring crime and give your campers a greater peace of mind. However, I’d like to make one reservation; whereas crimes in residential properties occur more often in well-traveled areas, the ideal camping grounds are more popular areas where there is a moderate presence of other campers. When it comes to the wilderness, isolation is a key ingredient for disaster.
Without further ado, here are just three ways that we can boost our security while camping to make sure that keep everyone in our party safe, no matter where we are:
1. Maintain a secure presence
The first aspect to keep in mind is adequate lighting, especially during night. Some might choose to avoid light to gain security through stealth, but this is a far greater disadvantage when potential predators lurk. It isn’t advisable to leave a campfire unattended while sleeping, so the better option of maintaining some light at all times is to either use a lantern or a few floodlights with a moderately sized generator. Solar panels are a natural fit if your camping plans go on for longer than your generator can manage.
2. Keep watch
One of the best deterrents in reducing the rates of crime in suburban and urban areas is a solid neighborhood watch. In fact, the FBI’s statistics project that these programs have an efficiency of up to 43%. Likewise, keeping a sense of watch over your campgrounds can make a great difference in keeping criminals away. This doesn't necessarily entail staying up and taking turns maintaining post; rather, simply being aware of sights and sounds of your environment and having a protocol to respond to emergency situations can save the day.
I always take a whistle when I go camping, which I use for an “alarm” in case I detect something suspicious. Others might use lights, signals, or even walkie-talkies to maintain communications about potential dangers.
3. Keep a tight ship
When you buy a new television, you wouldn’t simply leave the box next to your trash can; it would be a blatant advertisement to crooks that you have a shiny new HDTV for the taking. Similarly, it’s always wise (and courteous!) to pick up after yourself when camping. Leaving garbage around can attract potentially dangerous wildlife, pose an environmental hazard to your group or other campers, and leave a trail that criminals could use to determine your resources and tail your group.
When it comes to demonstrating your resources, whether you’re at home or outside, the best policy is discretion.
4. Have a backup plan for worst case situations
No matter how thorough you are in establishing a safe campgrounds and maintaining safe practices, it’s impossible to guarantee that someone (or a wild animal) won’t target you or others with you while camping. Just as you might keep a firearm at home in the case of a home invasion, it’s a good idea to carry some kind of firearm to defend your camp from criminals or dangerous wildlife should your camp fail to deter a dangerous element.
While it’s always preferable to make sure you never have to use it in the first place, keeping a firearm with you is a valuable last resort in keeping the peace while camping.
This guest post was provided by Naomi Broderick.
Be aware. Be informed. Be prepared.