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How to avoid these common campsite pests

  • Jun 7, 2016

Heading out into nature for a relaxing camping trip is an excellent way to get away from it all and unwind. Many folks may also venture into the great outdoors to see wildlife up-close and personal.

Unfortunately, some creatures are much more active at night, and instead of adding a bit of aesthetic beauty can become unwanted pests around your campsite. They may look to steal your food, wreak havoc on your supplies or even represent a major safety risk. Knowing when and how animals may strike is important for ensuring that your tent and supplies are well-protected and that any animal encounter is safe and positive. Next time you head into the wild, consider these campsite pests and how to avoid any issues. 

Big predators
As Indefinitely Wild reported, deadly encounters with animals such as bears, mountain lions or alligators are very uncommon. Having said that, these animals deserve space and respect when camping. Should you see a large predator, exhibit caution and never attempt to feed any wild animals.

This extends to making sure your food is properly contained for the night. Bears in particular have a phenomenal sense of smell, and any exposed human food will likely interest these opportunistic omnivores. This means storing food in a car away from your tent, elevating a cooler high in the air or investing in devices specifically meant to deter bears. Otherwise, food scraps or garbage may invite a whole host of large predators, creating the potential for an unsafe situation. 

Irritating insects
While mountain lions, bears and snakes are responsible for far fewer dangerous encounters than most folks may believe, Eureka Tent found that there are plenty of much smaller woodland creatures than can actually be cause real problems. Ants or bees can swarm in alarming numbers, while mosquitos and ticks may harbor infectious diseases.

One of the best ways to minimize any danger caused by insects or other bugs is to take proactive measures before leaving for a camping trip. This includes packing long-sleeved clothing, high socks and other protective gear. Bug spray with DEET is also effective at keeping biting insects at bay. Your campsite itself matters greatly as well. Standing water is a safe-haven for breeding mosquitos and other bugs, so setting up shop too close to a marshy area of the forest can be a disaster. Likewise, ticks and other irritating pests like to hide in leaf-litter and other debris. Clean your campsite thoroughly before getting everything ready and heading to bed.

After hiking or exploring the outdoors, be sure to inspect your body for any ticks and remove them accordingly. Similarly, monitor any bites or stings closely to look for any instances of infection or the possibility of a contracted disease.

Common thieves
Animals such as raccoons, opossums, squirrels and chipmunks can often be a more significant problem than bears while out camping. Not only are these creatures smaller and more common, but they are masters of stealth and opportunity.

The same rules for keeping bears away from your campsite apply when avoiding a run in with a hungry rodent. A chipmunk could very easily slip into your tent and subsequently cause mayhem, so making sure you aren't harboring a midnight snack is critical.

Odor-proof bags or containers are again essential for keeping your food safe from hungry critters. The cooler you usually bring to the beach or barbecue likely won't stand a chance against a few mischievous raccoons or a hungry skunk. For extra protection, store food in a car or RV, or otherwise a few hundred feet away from your campsite. This way, if an animal does get into your food, there won't be any added conflict.

Wear your PRO TREK PRG270B-3 with digital compass to keep track of the locations where you spot any animals and stay on course, not walking in circles to re-encouter any unexpected guests.

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