Wilderness Camping Survival

Wilderness Camping Survival
Wilderness camping offers a solitude and peace that established campgrounds simply don't have. Campers who choose to hike into the wilderness can choose their own campsite and move when and where they wish. There are no loud neighbors blasting their stereo until the wee hours of the morning and no drunken parties in the next campsite. However, the very isolation that makes wilderness camping attractive can also be dangerous. Learn how to survive while camping in the wilderness, and how to make the most of a back-country camping trip.

Know the Area

While some wilderness campers stick to clearly marked trails, others enjoy wandering the untouched wilds. For these adventurous souls, and even for their more conservative counterparts, there's no replacement for a good map of the area. Bring detailed maps, a GPS unit with extra batteries and a compass for backup. Make sure you and your party know how to read the map and use the GPS and compass.

It's also helpful to talk to people who have previously explored or camped at your destination, as they can tell you what to expect and what to watch out for. Let people know generally where you plan to go and when you will be back, so that they can seek help for you if you aren't back by the planned day and time.

Pack Lightly and Carefully

Most wild areas do not allow cars or any motorized vehicles into their boundaries. Because quick transportation is not an option, campers need to carry in everything they'll need for the duration of the trip. This includes shelter, clothing, food, and other supplies. The most important item for a wilderness camper is a framed pack that fits the needed gear and the camper's body. Tents and sleeping bags should be as light as possible and designed for tight packing on a framed pack, and clothing should be lightweight and easily layered.

Skip the fruity body sprays and even deodorant, as these strong smells can attract bears and other wildlife. While the chance of attack is slim, it's safer for humans and wildlife to keep their distance from each other. Also, put your food in a "bear bag" that is tied and elevated between two trees at night to keep it safe from bears, raccoons and other woodland creatures.

Plan for Emergencies

The Wilderness Education Association's survival website lists the contents of military issue survival kits. The kits include a first-aid kit, drops or tablets for water purification, matches or a lighter to start a fire and items that will help a camper procure food from his surroundings. These items can include a knife, a snare kit or other tools used to trap animals or birds for meat. Plan ahead for severe weather, such as thunderstorms or extremely hot or cold temperatures, with the appropriate clothing and emergency items, and have an emergency communications plan in the form of a satellite cell phone or two-way radio.

Leave No Trace

Wilderness campers are as responsible for the survival of the wilderness as much as they are for their own survival. Don't build fires in areas without a pre-existing fire pit; use a camping stove to cook meals and heat water. Try not to shred packaging and plastic as you open them; trash that's kept in one piece is easier to carry. Pack all of your trash with you when you go, and don't pick wildflowers, carve on trees or etch graffiti into rocks. Leave the backcountry untouched for the next campers to enjoy.

Article Written By Myrrh Hector

Based in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Myrrh Hector has been a professional writer since 2007. Her work has appeared on Helpful Mother and other websites. Hector studied English at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois and specializes in outdoor and health-related articles.

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