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Camping Tips for Seniors

Camping has always been a popular trip option. After all, there’s nothing quite like getting into the great outdoors, and this is true now more than ever in a COVID world. Whether you’re not vaccinated yet, or you’re just not comfortable going on vacation to a crowded tourist destination, camping is an excellent COVID-safe vacation option! It’s still important to continuing following basic COVID guidelines, but if you’re itching to get away, camping is a great option.

The Type of Camping is Important

One of the early decisions you’ll make is what type of camping you’ll be doing. Of course, you have traditional camping with a tent or temporary shelter that’s simple and rugged. We’ve also mentioned the trend of glamping, or glamorous camping, which is essentially camping with fancy or luxurious accommodations and equipment. You can also go halfway between the two by staying in a cabin or an RV — both of which offer some or many of the comforts of modern living in a rustic, camping environment. The type of camping you choose will also define many of the tips we’ll discuss here. If you’re glamping or staying in an accommodation, you’ll likely have fewer safety worries since your shelter conditions are a bit more controlled.

Sleeping Accommodations

The type of camping you choose will also affect your sleep. There are few things that ruin a trip quicker than bad sleep, and camping lends itself to bad sleep, especially if you’re roughing it in a tent. While an active day of hiking may leave you so tired you sleep like a rock, an uneven, rocky, or plain uncomfortable sleeping area can make sleep next to impossible. Give yourself the best chances for sleep to maximize the enjoyment of your entire trip.

There are a few ways you can make your sleeping quarters more comfortable. First, you can always rely on an RV, cabin, or glamping quarters to have more comfortable beds — that’s a big part of the appeal. If you’re tenting, though, you can still improve your chances of sleep. A hand pump or battery-powered air mattress or sleeping pad can bring you some comforts, even on the most uncomfortable terrain. You can also bring a portable cot to keep you off the ground and in comfort. Even a high-quality sleeping bag and pillow can make a big difference in your comfort.

Safety Tips for Camping Seniors

Safety should always come first when you’re camping — or partaking in any fun activity, really. If you or a loved one gets hurt or worse, it’s a pretty quick way to ruin the fun you may have been having.

The Importance of a Safe, Comfortable Location

The type of camping you’re choosing can also define the next important factor of camping, your campsite. If you’re using a cabin, RV, or glamping service, where you stay may be limited. Whatever type of camping you’re doing, research where you’re staying as much as you can. Look into the expected terrain, how far off the beaten path it is, and what the climate is like there. You should also investigate common animals found in the area. Read reviews of the area if it’s defined or well-known to get the thoughts of other campers.

Generally, you want a camping site that’s flat, off any hiking trails for privacy and safety (though close enough to them to access with ease). You’ll also want to make sure the site is safe from environmental hazards (like the potential for flooding or avalanches), and free from signs of wildlife usage or habitats. Additional ideal characteristics to look for when choosing a spot for your tent include locations with even, dry ground that get shade in the morning so you’re not waking up to a blazing sun at sunrise. It’s also worth making sure there are no dead branches or precarious rock walls above your tent to prevent anything from falling onto your tent.

Follow Our Hiking Safety Tips

Hiking and camping go hand in hand since they’re often both in the same areas. It’s reasonable to expect you’ll do some hiking while you’re camping. For this reason, you should follow our hiking safety tips so that you’re not putting yourself at risk while you’re enjoying your trip. It also helps that many of those tips also cross over to camping.

You should absolutely tell others where you’ll be and how long you’ll be there in case of an emergency. Also, learn what types of wildlife have been spotted in the area so you aren’t accidentally encroaching on their territory. (Remember, it’s their home, and you’re a guest there.) Again, make sure to research as much as possible so nothing takes you by surprise and you know what to pack and what you’ll encounter.

Check the Weather Beforehand

Checking the weather is another essential planning step. Prolonged cold temperatures can put you at risk if you haven’t packed sufficient warm clothes and sleeping gear. You also need to take weather conditions like rain or snow into careful consideration. Even if is just a light rain, if it’s consistent over a day or so and you’re in the wrong area, you could get flooded. Weather conditions can change the terrain and make them more dangerous to be in, so knowing the weather and planning ahead can protect you from these risks.

Follow Basic Camping Safety Guidelines

Even in the best conditions, you should always follow some basic camping safety rules. We discussed a few for choosing your camping area, but there are others you should know. Fire safety is chief among these, since a careless flame can cause massive damage to an ecosystem. These rules include:

  • Using a fire pit
  • Clearing the area of anything flammable
  • Following all local fire safety rules (especially if you’re staying on a campground)
  • Keeping water nearby in case the fire gets out of hand

Speaking of water, you should also be sure to stay hydrated. For food, you’ll want to store and dispose of it correctly to keep animals away. Finally, make sure you pack a first aid kit. It may seem like common sense, but it’s a really useful thing to have no matter the circumstances.

Consider Fun Camping Activities

While it’s essential to plan and make sure you’re camping trip is as safe as possible, don’t forget to make it enjoyable, too! Make sure you have in mind some fun activities to do. There are some that are specific to camping that can make the overall experience an unforgettable time.

Check the Weather Beforehand

Wait a minute, didn’t we already talk about this one? Well, yeah, but not only is the weather important from a safety perspective, it can make or break your camping trip. Imagine you’re looking forward to a nice, sunny weekend at your favorite camping spot, only for a last-minute storm front to blow in, making it cold and rainy. While you can mitigate some weather concerns — like temperature or mild bad weather — with packing and planning, some issues can’t be overcome and may call for you to simply reschedule. While that may not be ideal, it’s certainly better than being stuck in a tent while it’s pouring buckets around you. Trust us.

Save Money with the National Park Senior Pass

Consider getting the National Park Senior Pass. With it, you won’t have to worry about the entrance fees for more than 2,000 sites around the country, including 299 National Parks, since they’ll be covered by your pass! You may also receive discounts on camping fees and other recreational fees. Saving money on entrance and recreation fees can allow you to spend more on other items, like additional camping gear or more comfortable sleeping equipment, or just keep more in your pocket.

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Ultimately, camping can be a fun and enlightening experience, but only if you’re able to enjoy it safely. As long as you follow these tips, you’ll give yourself a great foundation to having a safe camping trip you’ll never forget!