Staying safe on your family campout

photo of tent at night
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It’s summertime! The weather is warm, kids are out of school, and - for many families - that means it’s time to head out on vacation. This year, why not consider camping? Even if you aren’t planning to travel, backyard campouts are a fun way to shake things up and step out of your normal routine a bit. Plus, camping comes with a wealth of benefits. Increased physical and mental health, opportunities to build relationships and life skills, less screen time, and lower lodging costs are just a few of these.

But remember, whether you’re brand new to tent life or an old pro, it’s important to stay safe while camping. Check out the tips and resources below to help your family make the most of your outdoor adventure.

Camping Safety Tips

Plan ahead.

Take time to research where you’re going. Become familiar with the location and any regulations for outdoor recreation. Talk to park rangers and staff for camping, activity, and safety recommendations. Check for current safety alerts for the area.

Check the weather.

Think through how the forecast will affect your adventure and pack accordingly. Sunny and hot? Bring lots of water, sunscreen, and light clothing. Rain for days? Make sure you have waterproof gear and food that doesn’t need to be cooked on a campfire.  Nature can be unpredictable, but planning ahead can help you be prepared for any eventuality.

Be aware.

While you’re camping, it’s important to always be mindful of your environment and what’s happening around you. Keep an eye out for physical hazards near your campsite. Help monitor your family members (or other people in your party) for health and energy levels. Check your equipment regularly. And most importantly, practice self-care.

Respect wildlife.

Remember, wild animals live outside. When you’re camping, you’re in their territory. Keep a safe distance, don’t feed them, and keep pets restrained.

Practice fire safety.

Know when, where, and how to build a safe campfire. Research the local rules and fire conditions. Keep an eye on small children.

Additional Resources


Emily Schoenfelder joined the Illinois 4-H team in 2017. Prior to this, she began her work in positive youth development with California 4-H and the YMCA. She specializes in STEM engagement, social-emotional development, and educator professional development.  

She received a Master of Science degree in recreation, park, and tourism administration from Western Illinois University.    

When she is not writing curriculum or facilitating a training, you may find Emily sitting on the floor of her office, building marshmallow catapults out of popsicle sticks or designing mazes for robots for her next STEM program.  


Connection Corner is a blog that provides timely information, activities, and resources to help you stay connected to loved ones, the world around you, and yourself.