4 Smart Safety Tips For Women While Camping
Photo Credit: Dziana Hasanbekava
As is becoming increasingly common, women and those who identify as female who are flying solo on almost any activity are on high alert. About 70% of women who have ventured into the outdoors have taken a trip solo and unfortunately, about 66% of women have felt unsafe while recreating outdoors. For myself and others, some trips require more preparation for safety, so here are some tips to keep in mind for next time you’re out and about.
Point Reyes National Seashore, CA: Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue
Pepper Spray Gel
This one is a given, and one of the most popular self-defense accessories. While many people get the average pepper spray, I always think of a tip an old friend’s father gave me many years ago. While he was working as a detective for the local police station, he emphasized the importance of pepper spray gel rather than the traditional spray. You may be wondering what the difference is - Pepper spray gel is ejected in a much more concentrated stream, which expands the range considerably. This also prevents a common issue with classic pepper spray, in that it can sometimes inadvertently affect the person using it due to wind or simple mistakes - which can be quite common in a high-stress situation! . Pepper spray gel is usually more intense and has longer lasting side effects for the attacker than the classic, less concentrated spray.
Grand Canyon, AZ: Photo Credit: Tia Li Fouroohi
Extra Pair of Shoes
This is something I’ve learned through word of mouth for good practice when living alone, but I’ve found this to be a great idea for camping as well. The idea is to keep a spare pair of broken-in men’s shoes in the entryway of your home. You can usually purchase a cheap used pair at a local thrift store that’s properly worn-in. This will casually signal to any visitors, such as maintenance workers or the classic door-to-door salesman, that there is another person who lives in the residence - which could be enough to deter someone from any funny business. When I go camping, I usually leave my shoes outside of my tent to avoid dirt being tracked inside anyway. By also leaving a pair of men’s shoes outside your tent the same principle will apply as it would in your residence - signaling that there is another person with you to deter people targeting solo campers.
Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA: Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue
Lock Your Tent
Most tents are not exactly secure - they typically don’t have locks, security systems, or anything of that nature. To solve this problem, when you are leaving your tent for the day, thread a padlock through the zipper track of your tent. While this is certainly not a foolproof method of securing your camp, it’s enough to help you determine whether your campsite has been disturbed during your absence. This same technique can be applied to the inside of your tent as well, since tents have zippers accessible from both sides of the entrance. Personally, this is something that makes me more comfortable to sleep at night - knowing that my vulnerable, sleeping state is literally protected by lock and key helps ease my racing mind.
White Mountains National Forest, NH: Photo Credit: Tyler Gemmer
Use Any/All Alarms
This tip primarily applies to areas where there are other people around, such as a community campground, and is another concept adapted from one I frequently use at home. When car camping, keep your car keys close to where you’re sleeping. In event of an emergency, or if you feel unsafe for any reason, all you’d need to do is reach over and utilize the panic/alarm button that most vehicle key fobs have. The idea of using this when you’re at home, or at a campsite, is to create noise and call attention to your residence, which can be enough for an attacker to leave for fear of getting caught. I like this tip for any situation where your personal space is breached by an unwanted presence - and this certainly applies to your tent. It’s likely that you’ll already have your keys somewhere in your tent, but the important part is having them out and ready to be used in an emergency situation.
For those who may not have driven to their destination, but would still like to have something similar in case of emergency, try a panic keychain. This is a more compact option, but bear in mind that it’s generally not as loud, and may not bring as much attention as a car alarm. Again, these work best if used in an area where other people are around to help, so this might not be as effective during backcountry camping as it is when car camping. As the demand for safety items like these grow, they get more innovative. Check out this panic keychain by Blaire that not only has an ear piercing sound, but also an extremely bright strobe light that can temporarily blind a potential attacker.
These safety tips can extend to anyone who seeks an extra layer of protection when they are out and about. As the old saying goes, “better safe than sorry,” so keep these tips in mind - or even share them with some friends to utilize for their next trip!
Mount Everest Base Camp, Nepal: Photo Credit: Tia Li Fouroohi
Jamie Rees is a Las Vegas native currently pursuing a Journalism degree at UNLV. Jamie has just completed her internship with Pathloom, and we want to thank her for all of her amazing contributions to the Pathloom blog over the past few months!
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