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Wilderness Preparedness for Families Presented by the Staff of Trackers Northwest

December 8, 2012

A family-owned and -operated camping and outdoor education program based in Portland, Oregon, Trackers Northwest works with the goal of connecting children and adults more closely to nature. Before you start out into the woods for your own camping trip, educate yourself and prepare carefully. Below are a couple of lists to help you go safely into the wilderness.

What to pack:

-Bottled water (or a water filter or water treatment system)
-Non-perishable food supplies
-Waterproof, sturdy tent
-Sleeping bags
-Flashlight and additional batteries
-First aid kit containing gauze and adhesive bandages, tape, antiseptic, tweezers, an ice pack, and painkillers
-Insect repellent
-Map of the region
-Global positioning system (GPS) device or compass
-Signaling devices
-Sewing kit
-Cell phone (though service may not be constant, depending on your location)
-Whistle or personal alarm
-Dynamo-powered radio
-Waterproof matches
-Weather-appropriate clothing, socks, and rain gear
-Sunscreen and sunglasses

Part of being safe is simply exercising common sense. Here are some common sense tips:

1. Don’t walk down a trail alone, and have a communication device with you at all times. Be aware of uneven ground, temperature extremes, poisonous plants, and poison ivy in the area.

2. Keep your tent zipped and secured, and seal your food tightly to keep the smell from attracting animals.

3. Turn off your flashlight before you go inside the tent so that you don’t attract bugs inside with you. Check your family and animals for ticks daily. If you are very sensitive to insects, camp far away from water.

4. Don’t allow a child to start a fire, and make sure a responsible adult watches the fire until it is put out. When you leave the campsite, pour water or earth on the fire and make sure it is completely extinguished.

5. To put it simply: Be wary of approaching wildlife too closely.

A little attention to details like these can ensure that your family will be excited about enjoying another outdoor vacation again soon.

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