What every novice camper should know: vital safety rules

July 22, 2014

If you're new to camping, there are some obvious—and not so obvious— rules that are vital to your safety. Here's what every novice camper should know.

What every novice camper should know: vital safety rules


Lightning is one of the biggest threats when camping. According to Environment Canada, more than 65 percent of deaths and injury-related incidents that occur during outdoor recreation are caused by lightning. What can you do to avoid being struck?

Do NOT install your tent:

  • Under a lone, isolated tree or a tree that is higher than the others.
  • Near a metal structure like a fence.
  • At the top of a hill.
  • When you hear thunder.

If you hear thunder:

  • Retreat to a building or into your car.
  • Never take refuge in a tent, tent trailer, mosquito shelter or outhouse.
  • Stay away from tall metal objects.
  • If there is no safe place to hide, crouch in a low-lying area like a valley.
  • If you are in a group, disperse. This will prevent lightning from spreading from one person to another if it hits.
  • Stay in a safe place for at least thirty minutes after the storm.


Remember that we are never alone in the forest. The territories we camp on are home to many wild animal species; and among them are bears, which are still the greatest threat to campers’ safety.

To reduce the risk of encountering a bear:

  • Keep all food in the car.
  • If the car is away from camp, hang food in trees at least 4 meters above the ground and at least 1.3 meters away from the trunk. Outdoor outfitting stores sell bear-proof coolers and hermetically sealed containers.
  • Make sure the tent is free of objects or clothing with food odours.
  • Keep your pets on a leash, and keep them with you at night.
  • Always wash your dishes before storing them and empty the dishwater away from the camp.

Equipment you must always bring along

  • Flashlights for everyone.
  • First aid kit.
  • Whistles.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Sunscreen and hats.
  • PFD (personal flotation device).
  • Rope and duct tape.

Other general safety rules

  • When hiking, always stay on the trail and don’t venture out of bounds or into the woods.
  • Never go out alone without telling anyone.
  • Observe the fire regulations.
  • Never leave young children unattended at any time and be sure they know where to locate the grownups.

Foresee your security and that of other campers. Camping is a safe activity filled with natural fun and excitement, but don’t forget to be prepared for any unexpected event or situation.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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