Camping safety made simple

Choose your campground and pack right for a comfortable experience with these camping safety tips.

Family setting up a tent for camping

Whether in a tent or an RV, camping is a great way to get in touch with nature — sleeping under the stars, roasting hot dogs over a fire and going on hikes through the woods. Enjoy your time away, and reduce your risk of injury with some camping safety tips.

Be prepared


Whether you're packing your RV or a tent, be sure to include a first-aid kit in your cargo. Your kit should include hydrocortisone cream and antihistamine for allergic reactions and rashes, plus supplies for cleaning and dressing wounds. The Red Cross offers a list of first-aid essentials to include in your kit.

Camp securely

Campsite setup

Choose a campground with security features, such as a security gate, perimeter fencing, surveillance cameras and nightly patrols. The safest campsites are well lit and located near the center of the grounds. Be sure to arrive before nightfall so you'll have time to inspect your camping site, unpack and build a fire. Avoid pitching tents close to water, under dead tree limbs or near insect nests and poisonous plants. Also look for broken glass, sharp rocks and other hazards that could cause injury. Use a plastic tarp for an extra layer of protection between the ground and the tent — just make sure the tarp does not extend beyond the width of the tent so water does not pool if it rains.

Use security systems

Many newer RVs come with built-in security systems, similar to what you'd find in a car. If your camper doesn't have this feature, install motion lights at your campsite to deter potential lurkers and late-night critters. Place the lights at the back of the site, near entrances and on blind corners.

Get to know your neighbors

Introduce yourself to other campers. Spending time with them can help you gauge their trustworthiness. They could watch your things while you're gone and let you know if any unwanted guests wander onto your site.

Lock up valuables from your campsite

Never leave items in an outside RV compartment. Many RVs use a universal key to unlock these storage areas. Instead, keep items secured inside a camper, trailer or vehicle when you're away. If you do have an RV, pull the shades to keep the interior concealed. For an additional layer of security, buy a small safe and hide it somewhere inside.

Camp safely

Building a campfire

Light fires in metal burn rings or stone-lined pits away from tents and low-hanging branches. Keep fires manageable, and never leave them unattended. Always have a bucket of water or a shovel nearby for extinguishing flames. Check to see if any fire bans are posted at the campground entrance — and if so, heed them.

Camping meal prep

Store foods in airtight containers and insulated coolers, keeping raw and cooked foods separate, and cold foods chilled. As you are cooking outdoors, sanitize your station often and wash your hands. When heating foods, make sure they're a safe temperature before eating. When you're finished, transfer leftovers to airtight, animal-proof containers, and properly dispose of garbage in an approved refuse container well away from your campsite — one that's tightly secured against animals.


Wear long pants tucked into your socks, sturdy shoes, a hat, sunglasses and layers you can easily remove. Also pack sunscreen, a map, a compass, water, packaged snacks and insect spray with DEET. Bring your cell phone along, too. Not all locations will have service, but if you do, your phone can be a valuable lifeline should you get lost or need assistance. Carrying a whistle is also a good idea. Stay on designated hiking trails, and take frequent stops to rest and rehydrate.

Encountering Wildlife

Wild animals can be unpredictable and can carry diseases. It's best to bring your binoculars and watch them from a distance. If you're camping in an area that bears inhabit, be sure you know what to do if you meet one.

Going to bed

Pack extra blankets and layers of clothes rather than relying on a fuel-burning heater for warmth. Using heaters and other fuel-burning equipment in an enclosed space can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Learn more tips for camping safety from the U.S. Forest Service.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
Start a Quote
Select a product to start a quote.
Agents Near You
Contact Us

Also Important

Cooking Outdoors and Food Safety

Food safety and illness prevention is important when cooking and dining outdoors. We have food prep, storage and cooking tips.

Canoe and Kayak Safety

Canoeing and kayaking can be dangerous for inexperienced boaters. Know these safety tips before going out on the water.

Related Articles

Why is Sunscreen Important

Learn the ins and outs of sun protection and importance of sunscreen from this handy infographic.

Swimming and Water Safety Tips

Whether taking a dip in a pool or the ocean, adults and kids alike should be safe.

How to Protect Against Spider and Insect Bites

Spider and insect bites take the fun out of being outside. Learn how to avoid them and what to do if you get one.