Madison, WI,
17:15 PM

Camping with Safety and Savings in Mind

Enjoy this popular pastime safely and economically.


Summer is here and with it come family vacations. One fun and less-expensive option is a camping trip. Camping is a great way to see the outdoors and at the same time, create memories that last a lifetime.

Safety first

While camping is a great family adventure, don’t sacrifice safety for fun. Here are some easy tips to make sure your camping trip is a safe one.

  • Pack perishable foods in tight, waterproof bags or containers and keep them in an insulated cooler with plenty of ice.
  • When hiking, boating or biking, don't forget protective gear such as sturdy shoes, life jackets and helmets.
  • Learn to identify and avoid poisonous plants like poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.
  • Never use fuel-burning stoves, heaters, lanterns or grills inside a tent, camper or other enclosed shelter. These can generate dangerous levels of deadly carbon monoxide.
  • Enjoy wild animals from a safe distance.
  • If you travel with pets, make sure they have plenty of water, food and shelter.
  • Keep bugs away. Repellents containing 20 percent or higher DEET can protect for several hours. Also, check for ticks daily and remove them promptly as they can be carriers of Lyme disease.
  • Protect yourself from sunburn with SPF 15 or higher sunscreen. Seek shade during midday hours when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Pack a first aid kit that includes antiseptics, tweezers, insect repellent, a snake bite kit, pain relievers, sunscreen and any emergency medications your family may need.
  • Build fires away from your tent or camper and never leave them unattended. Never use gas or other flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Don’t forget personal hygiene. Always wash hands before and after handling food.

Camping economically

With a little planning, camping can also be an inexpensive way to vacation. If you’re not careful though, costs can rise. Here are some ways you can help keep costs down.

  • Stick close to home to save money on gas and other travel expenses.
  • Camp with friends to share the cost of campsites.
  • Bring your own food to avoid buying groceries on the road.
  • Frozen meat and prepackaged meals like spaghetti and stew not only save money, they act as secondary ice blocks in your cooler.
  • Before buying new equipment, check out discount gear websites and garage sales or possibly borrow from a friend.
  • Consider staying in a national forest or state campground. Overnight fees may be less than private campgrounds. If you plan on camping frequently at these sites, consider an annual pass for lower daily charges.
  • Make sure your car is properly maintained. A poorly performing car not only uses more gas, it could be dangerous.
  • Bring along membership cards for supermarket clubs, motoring clubs, camping clubs, etc. They may offer savings on purchases made on the road.
  • If you plan on camping a lot, consider travel club memberships that offer discounts to different campgrounds.

Summer’s here – time to enjoy it!

Check out these related resources:

Planning a Road Trip

Water Safety Tips for Kids

Emergency Roadside Service