Camping Canada Campgrounds - Camping Tips

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Camping tips!  Before you head out for that much anticipated camping trip, consider the following tips that will enhance your camping experience. If you have any additional tips for us, we would be more than happy to add them to this page.... simply click Click here to email click here to email us the information.

Check out our "Camping trip checklist" for a list of items you should bring with you on your next camping trip.

Never venture in a forest without a good map and a compass. Even campers and hunters with a good sense of direction have had unpleasant experiences in unfamiliar territories. Click here to view our instructions on how to make your own compass if you get stuck out there without a real one.

When you're walking in an area where you suspect poisonous plants grow, always Poison ivywear boots, long plants and long sleeves shirt. The three most common poisonous plants are: poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac (see photo). The slightest contact can cause an itchy, oozing rash which can easily spread when scratched. The streaky red, bumpy rash generally appears within a few days after exposure. Avoid becoming affected by washing the area with rubbing alcohol or lots of water if no alcohol is available. In the forest, for emergency relief, you can also rub the crushed leaves and stems of the orange (or yellow) flowered jewelweed over the inflammation. Use calamine lotion to soothe the itch and avoid scratching as much as possible.  Avoid using hot water on the affected area and wash your clothes as soon as possible. 

When camping in high altitudes (7,000 feet or more), you should drink plenty of water... that is 3 to 5 quarts a day. This will prevent dehydration and high altitude sickness, which cause headaches, nausea and muscle cramps.

Be wary of food poisoning. Contaminated food can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Food poisoning usually resolves itself within 24 hours without medical treatment. Drink lots of fluids (mostly water for 12 hours and then add juices, broth....). Seek medical attention if symptoms lasts longer than 2 days, if watery diarrhea occurs every 10-15 minutes, if diarrhea contains blood or mucus or if abdominal pain or fever is constant. When camping, remember the following;
  - wash your hands thoroughly before handling food
  - smell the food first. If it doesn't smell right, don't cook it and don't eat it.
  - it is better to "overcook" than "undercook" food (surface bacteria are killed at 212°F)
  - once meat has thawed, cook it........ don't refreeze it!
  - serve cooked food immediately
  - avoid food that nourish bacteria (custard, mayonnaise, custards, bologna ....)

You should always bring plenty of sun protection and a good hat. Heat exhaustion Dehydration can lead to severe disorientation when in the forest. Symptoms include blurry vision, dizziness, nausea and weakness. When these occur, lie down in the shade and drink lots of cool fruit juices or plain water (no coffee, tea or alcohol).

Avoid being in the sun from 10-11 am to 2-3 pm when the UV (ultraviolet) rays are the strongest. However, if you get a bad sunburn, apply compresses of ice-cold water, or milk & water, or Burrow's solution for 10 minutes every few hours. You can also use an anti-inflammatory cream to reduce inflammation and itching. If your arms or legs are swollen, elevate them. If, in the hours and days that follow,  you get any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention;
  - swelling with throbbing pain
  - pus (a white, yellow or green discharge)
  - red streaks radiating from the sunburn area
  - a high fever that has no other obvious cause, such as flu or other illness
  - swollen, tender lymph glands (in the groin, armpit or neck)

Dealing with insect bites! Remember that most mosquitoes bite early in the morning and 1-2 hours after sunset. If possible, stay in a "breezy" area since mosquitoes will have more difficulty time finding you where the wind is blowing. Avoid perfumes, cologne, hair sprays, scented soaps, scented lotions and shampoos as these usually attract mosquitoes. Wear light colors, mosquitoes seem to be attraMosquitocted to bright colors. When you get stung,
  - remove the stinger with tweezers (or scrape across the skin with a knife) 
  - wash the area with soap and cold water
  - if there is swelling, apply ice or a cold compress 
  - apply an anti-inflammatory cream to reduce inflammation and itching
  - cover the area with sterile gauze / band-aid

The following are symptoms of an allergic reaction. If any of these develop, you have to seek medical attention immediately;
  - headache                            - weakness
  - general itching                     - hives
  - wheezing                             - loss of consciousness
  - difficulty breathing 

When hiking, stay on designated trails and walk in single file in the center of the path to avoid trampling trailside plants. Many grasses and sub-alpine plants are extremely sensitive to foot traffic. If you must venture beyond the trail, choose the most durable surfaces to walk on (rock, gravel or snow.)

If tenting, set up camp on well-drained sandy or rocky sites, or on vegetation that is heavily-laden with soft humus. Do not establish camp on high ridges that are exposed to wild weather (ie. cold, high winds and lightening). Camp at lower elevations that are protected by surrounding rocks, trees, and brush. Avoid camping in basins because cold, damp air collects and you'll probably awake cold and damp. Camp at least 200 feet (about 70 steps) from lakes and streams to help keep pollutants out of water sources.Also, seek out slightly sloped areas to ensure that you don't awaken in the middle of a puddle of water.

Water from natural sources such as a stream or spring should always be treated before consumption. Even crystal-clear water can cause problems! The most common ways of disinfecting water are: boiling for a minimum of 3 minutes and chemical treatment (water purification tablets).
Always build your campfire away from your tent, trees and other inflammable material. And remember, although a campfire may look like it's "out" (on the surface)... the core may still be burning. Be careful !! 

If it's a chilly night, you can use a water bottle to warm up your sleeping bag. Simply fill you water bottle with hot water, put it in your sleeping bag and roll your sleeping bag for half an hour or so before you turn in for the night. If you have two similar sleeping bags, you can also "zip" them together so you can cuddle with your mate. The body heat generated by two people can keep the inside of the sleeping bag quite warm.

When you're cooking on an open fire, remember to rub a bar of (regular) soap along the outside of the cooking pans. Any black scorching will then be very easy to remove. 

Use clear plastic bags for your food and other items. This reduces the weight you have to carry around and also reduces trash accumulation.

When tenting, it is recommended that you don't store your food in your tent. rodents will simply chew holes in your tent and pack in order to get to it. Furthermore, in bear country, you might end up being the food. Hang food high above the ground or use a bear-proof container and make sure the food is a considerable distance from where you are sleeping.

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