You’ve bought the 4×4, the trailer and the tent (and all the other camping accessories too), and you’re ready to head off into the great outdoors on your family’s holiday camping trip! What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, actually, which is why Imperial Auto and its Campworld outlets have compiled this camping safety checklist for you to discuss with your family, to make sure that your camping holiday is memorable for all the right reasons!
1. Make sure that you pack your food in tightly closed containers, to ensure that any wild animals don’t raid your site and eat your food. They could get ill – and you could go hungry, especially if you are camping in a remote location.
2. Pack food in waterproof bags or containers and keep them in an insulated cooler or portable fridge, and keep raw food separate from cooked food. Being mindful about food hygiene and safety when you don’t have a fridge or freezer on site is essential to avoid tummy troubles.
3. Never use fuel-burning equipment such as gas stoves, heaters, lanterns or charcoal grills inside your tent, caravan or other enclosed shelter, without any ventilation. Apart from the obvious risks of fire, you put yourself and your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, caused by the colourless, odourless gas emitted by burning fossil fuels.
4. If you are making a camp fire, ensure it is put out properly before going to sleep, especially if there is a strong wind, as you don’t want to set anything alight involuntarily.
5. When you get to your campsite, do a recce to find out where the communal ablutions are, where the first aid kit is kept (although you should have your own) and how to contact camp management in the event of an emergency.
6. Establish some ground rules about camping, such as no running in the campsite (to avoid tripping over fly lines or into fires); always wearing shoes; no food in the tents; and no lighters, matches or candles in the tent.
7. Teach children about the Buddy System: they should never leave your camping area without a Buddy – especially if they are heading off to explore the natural surroundings.
8. Never, ever feed the wild animals at a campsite. They may seem cute, but feeding them encourages them to become familiar with campers, which will often lead to them raiding campsites for food. Furthermore, in times when there are no happy campers on site, the animals will be unaccustomed to finding their own food, and will go hungry.
9. Pack and use insect repellent.
10. While you may fancy yourself as a forager, do not pick plants that you do not know to include in your cooking. Many wild plants (especially mushrooms) are poisonous, and can cause discomfort, illness or even death.
11. Keep your campsite clean! You’re living in the heart of nature, and it’s only fair to keep your site clean by disposing of waste properly – both for your camping pleasure, and for that of other campers around you. Litter can also be deadly for wild animals and birds, so throw your garbage away in designated areas.
Imperial Auto’s Campworld outlets stock a wide range of leisure vehicles and accessories, from tents and trailers to caravans and motorhomes. Visit www.imperialauto.co.za/leisure for more information – and remember when you’re camping: leave nothing but footprints, and take nothing but memories.