July 4, 2009

Camping Safety Tips in the Northwest

The Pacific Northwest offers endless opportunities for enjoying the great outdoors. As you bike, swim, and hike your way to a fantastic adventure, it's important to remember that even the most innocent-seeming outdoor activities pose hidden dangers. By remembering a few simple safety procedures, you can guarantee a safe and fun experience. First, become aware of potential hazards. Keep abreast of what threats are specific to the area you will be enjoying. Aggressive wildlife, unpredictable weather, and dangerous terrain all pose serious safety threats.

Cougars. If you cross paths with a cougar, make yourself appear larger by standing tall and raising your arms and/or jacket over your head. Do not run or turn your back. Talk calmly and firmly to the cougar to make it think you are a predator, not its prey. If the animal becomes aggressive, shout at it and throw rocks and sticks to make it clear that you are a threat, not food. If you are attacked, fight back with whatever is handy (big sticks work well), and try to stay on your feet.

Bears. Most bear encounters happen in campsites, where bears have learned that humans often leave out food. The best way to avoid a bear encounter is to securely store food in airtight containers away from your tent or camper. If a bear does come into your camp, try to scare it away by making noise. If that doesn't work, slowly leave the area and let the bear have what it came for. Visit the Alaska State Parks website for more excellent tips on how to act if a bear threatens to attack you.

Poisonous snakes. Rattlesnakes are found in hot, dry places throughout the United States. If you are hiking or camping in arid terrain, stay on clearly marked trails and avoid rocks, holes, and other nooks where snakes like to hide. Remember, you will usually be able to hear a rattler before you see it.

The weather can also pose a serious threat if you are unprepared. The two most common outdoor weather-related problems are hypothermia and dehydration.

Hypothermia is the number one killer in the outdoors. Prevent hypothermia by:
-- Layering wool and synthetic fabrics for warmth and protection from the wind and rain.
-- Wearing a hat, as almost half of body heat is lost through the head.
-- Bringing rain gear and extra layers to change into should you get wet
-- Waterproofing your shoes or boots.

Dehydration can occur in any situation, so it is always important to carry plenty of water and take frequent water breaks.

In addition to traditional camping items like tents and pocket knives, essential supplies for a safe outdoor vacation include:
-- backup warm clothing,
-- supplementary food,
-- a compass,
-- a first aid kit,
-- fire starters, like waterproof matches,
-- sunglasses and sunscreen,
-- a flashlight with extra batteries, and
-- a map of the area.

These items will prepare you for common problems hikers, campers and outdoor enthusiasts often face.

The Pacific Northwest can be a lot of fun. It can also be filled with danger if you are not well prepared. Use common sense and good judgment along with these safety tips to ensure safe adventures for you and your loved ones.

~Ben Nystrom, 2009

Want more information on the latest safe camping flashlights? Visit the Coast website to view LED Lenser tactical torches for camping and hunting trips.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ben_Nystrom

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