Backcountry Camping With Pets and Kids: How to Stay Safe

Are you and your family avid hunters and adventurers? If so, you may have considered taking things one step further with doing some backcountry camping. Camping the backcountry means going off of the grid so to speak and breaking away from traditional campgrounds and properties. Most backcountry campsites are not monitored by the DNR or a privately owned entity; therefore you’re on your own when it comes to maintaining your site or area. If you bring kids and pets along, you need to keep a few safety tips in mind before you venture out.
Letting Someone Know Where You’ll Be
When adventuring out into the remote hills and valleys of the backcountry, there oftentimes are no signs or camp offices to help guide you the rest of the way. You’re on your own. That’s why it’s important to let someone know exactly where you’ll be at all times. Depending on where you’ll be camping or hiking to, there could be a significant risk for:
Avalanche—even in the summertime with falling rock and debris
Tornado or severe windstorm
Excessive heat
Injury or sudden illness
If any of these things happen, you and your children may not be able to get to safety or call for help that
easily. That is why letting someone else know where you’ll be and your general coordinates are important
in case there is a recovery process.
Monitoring Your Dogs at All Times
Bringing pets along is a comforting and rewarding feeling that many people enjoy doing. But keep in
mind that even the most well-trained dog can suddenly fall off the beaten path, get spooked or run off
toward a wild animal. The results can be devastating. Because you are both in an unfamiliar landscape, it
can be extremely difficult to reconnect. Because of the uncertain types of wild animals, including bears or mountain cats (depending on where you’re at) your dog is at risk for getting hurt. Making sure that your collar, harness, and leash are all in good condition and your dog has identifying tags on him is important before you leave home. From there, consider a tracking device like this one from Garmin, that will easily allow you to find your dog
no matter how many miles away he travels to.
Discuss a Family Safety Plan
Trekking out into the backcountry mountains or woods can turn into a camping trip of a lifetime.
Exploring all of the nooks and crannies of forests, lakes, and mountains can be a beautiful experience. But there are some hazards involved that you need to think about before you even leave for your trip. For example, if you are the only adult and you’re guiding children, you need to make sure they know what to do if you should become injured or unable to travel further. Bringing along small satellite communicators is a great way to stay in touch with the outside world and alert EMS. Having a plan about where to meet
at or what to do should you get separated is also very important.
Keeping Track of the Weather
One thing is for certain in most areas of the U.S. -the weather can change at the drop of a hat. A strong
thunderstorm or windstorm can sweep through and wreak havoc on your camping trip. Thunder and
lightning can also trigger some dogs and send them running away, making it hard to get back in touch
with them. Knowing in advance of an approaching storm or cold front is important. It can mean the
difference between life and death in some cases. Because temperatures can quickly plummet and you may not have an adequate shelter set up yet, hypothermia can be a real concern. Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature plummets below 95 degrees F. Protecting yourself by bringing along a warming
blanket for everyone on the trip is important. Having a weather radio that is in good working order and
with a full battery is very important. The same goes for hypothermia—where your body temperature rises unexpectedly. Be sure to remain hydrated and dress in layers to stay cool throughout your hike and your stay.
A trip to the great outdoors can be a memorable one. Keeping everyone safe, including pets will ensure
the trip is a success!

About Pepper

I am a single working mom, trying to raise my kid the best way I know how. Join me as I navigate my way through the jungle that is Single Mom-hood, armed with rose-colored glasses and strength of spirit. As pepper adds spice to food, so does my daughter add spice to my life. She makes life no less than…PEPPERRIFIC!

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