Camping in a Tent in Florida

Camping in a Tent in Florida
Tent camping in Florida can be a lovely, memorable experience if you are prepared to face the potential issues specific to outdoor activities in the state. On the surface, camping might seem to require the same preparation no matter what location you choose, but in practice, awareness of the dangers and discomforts of your destination can make or break your trip. In Florida, these include the environment, mosquitoes and alligators.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Equipment

Step 1
Prepare for the heat and humidity of the region. Choose lightweight equipment designed to breathe and allow air to circulate. A canvas tent or sleeping bag with an extremely low temperature rating will leave you sweltering.
Step 2
Prepare for the specific terrain you will face. Florida has a widely variable landscape ranging from beautiful sandy beaches to the watery expanse of the Everglades. Sand, as enjoyable as it is on the beach, quickly becomes a headache when it makes its way inside your tent. Paddle deep into the lush swamps and you might find no ground upon which to pitch a tent.
Step 3
Consider a combination product, like a hammock tent, which keeps you off the ground. Hammock tents are light and breathable, providing a practical method for practicing leave-no-trace camping, and they can be used to make camp over water.

An elevated hammock tent will be less likely to have issues with sand accumulation, because there is less traffic in and out, and the tent sits above the level where sand can be kicked or tracked inside easily.

Mosquitoes

Step 1
Include mosquito netting as part of any shelter. According to the University of Florida Extension Service, the state has 13 species of mosquito capable of transmitting disease-causing pathogens.
Step 2
Plan to enter and exit quickly, and keep flaps zipped to minimize the opportunities for mosquitoes to enter your tent.
Step 3
Sleep away from the walls of your tent for added protection, as it is possible to be bitten through the material.

Alligators

Step 1
Educate yourself on the behavior of alligators. They are present in many of Florida's waterways. Campers who are unfamiliar with the state or used to an urban environment might not consider the dangers hidden beneath the water, just a few feet away.
Step 2
Do not allow yourself to become complacent. Alligators find their way into both fresh and brackish lakes, ditches, streams and ponds, and marsh and swamp areas. Do not swim, go wading or dangle your feet from bridges in areas where alligators have been spotted. Swim only in areas designated safe for activity.
Step 3
Be particularly aware as evening approaches and alligators become more active. Take care entering vegetation around ponds and lakes. Tent camping puts you close to alligator habitat and leaves you more exposed than other forms of camping.
Step 4
Protect your pets by supervising them actively and keeping them away from water. Smaller animals may be at particular risk as they are less threatening and more prey-like. Pets who have not been exposed to alligators might not have the instinct to avoid them or the awareness needed to stay out of harm's way.
Step 5
Consider leaving pets at home. According to the University of Florida Extension Service, pets should not swim in human swimming areas, as they may attract alligators. Pets are prohibited in many wilderness areas because of the danger of drawing wild predators.

Article Written By Alice Moon

Alice Moon is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. She was chosen as a Smithsonian Institute intern, working for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and has traveled throughout Asia. Moon holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Ball State University.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from Trails.com to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.