Camping is a fun way to enjoy an affordable vacation in the great outdoors, but there are some important considerations to bear in mind. You can choose the good camping tents and the highest quality equipment, but if you don’t take a few simple precautions, you could find that your trip is ruined by pests. This article looks at ways to protect your campsite and yourself from unwanted visitors when you venture out on your next camping trip.

Check Out Your Campsite

As soon as you arrive, take the time to investigate and explore your campsite thoroughly. Find our where garbage gets dumped and find out about any rules for trash disposal. Also, plan ahead for any potential pests. Ask the rangers if there have been any pest problems at the site recently and whether bears have been sighted in the area. Make sure to camp away from any zones where bear activity has been spotted and steer clear of swamps or you will be plagued by mosquitoes and flying insects. Only camp in designated areas and set up your pitch on open ground away from shrubbery and loose twigs or leaves.

Clean Up

One of the key rules to avoiding unwanted pests while camping is to keep your campsite clean and tidy. That means disposing of all trash on a daily basis. Take any empty containers, cans and food remains to the dumpster every night and in the event that there is no official garbage disposal area, take plenty of ziploc bags to keep rubbish in until you can find a safe disposal place. Use a double layer of bags and keep them inside a strong container until you can get rid of them. Also ensure that you keep all of your food safely secured away in sealed containers to prevent racoons, chipmunks and squirrels digging through your camp in your absence.

Avoid Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes can be a big pain when camping, especially during the evening when they tend to emerge and bite uncovered skin. You can spray on insect repellent to protect yourself, or try more natural alternatives such as burning citronella candles or incense, and carrying dryer sheets in your pockets. Spraying cat mint and rosemary tea on your skin can repel insects, as can taking vitamin B1 or garlic capsules, or drinking a small dose of vinegar. Always wear long pants and long sleeved shirts in the evening to protect against being bitten and avoid using any perfumed cosmetics such as shampoo and deoderant. Once you have eaten, wash your face and hands carefully and ensure that all drinks bottles are kept firmly closed. If you do get bitten by a mosquito, resist the temptation to scratch as this just makes the irritation worse.

Safety When Fishing

Fishing is often a major part of any camping trip, but it is important to protect yourself from pests when on or near the water. Disposing of fish entrails incorrectly can encourage insects, coyotes and even bears
to your camp. Some sites ask that any fish entrails be thrown back into the water far from shore in order to remove the odor from the camping ground. Other sites demand that entrails are buried away from the site in a deeply dug hole. Others suggest that entrails be left out in the open for animals to eat well away from the main trails. Alternatively, you could double bag remnants and put into the dumpster away from camping areas.

Protect Against Bears

Bears are dangerous predators and it is important to protect your site against them. If the site where you are staying offers bear-proof metal containers for storage, make sure to use them. Store your food away from bears by hanging it at least 10 feet from the ground and 4 feet away from the tree’s trunk. It is also important to keep cooking and dish washing areas at least 100 feet from tents. A bear’s sense of smell is very strong, so avoid keeping mint products, including mint toothpaste, inside tents as the aroma is appealing to bears. Never store food inside tents, and wash and change clothes before sleeping so the smell of food won’t linger on you during the night.

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