Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tips to Stay Safe While Camping or Hiking This Long Weekend

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tips to Stay Safe While Camping or Hiking This Long Weekend

Article excerpt

Tips to be a safe and happy camper

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Mark Mosher loves going camping and hiking, but he never sets off on a journey without proper planning.

"The obvious thing is to let someone know where you're going," he says. "And know the area that you're going into."

Mosher makes a point of bringing a map of the trail and the area, which for him is usually in rural areas in B.C. He also makes sure he knows how long he'll be gone for so he can pack enough food and water.

As people across the country flee cities for the relaxation of a camp site over the long weekend, experts are offering urbanites some reminders on how to stay safe while communing with nature.

No matter where in Canada you're pitching a tent, they say a little planning goes a long way.

Unpredictable weather

Inclement weather can crop up quickly and unexpectedly. Geoff Coulson, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, says disaster can be avoided if an emergency plan is in place.

He says it's a good idea to get oriented in a campsite when you arrive, much the same way you would in a hotel room.

"It's important to scope out the safety plan during the calm of a sunny day when there is no threatening weather, so if it hits at 2 a.m., you're prepared," he says.

In thunder and lightning storms the safest spot to be is in a car with an all-metal roof. If that's not an option, he advises going further into the woods, as opposed to your tent, which has metal poles that pose a danger. Just make sure you don't settle under the tallest tree.

"Make every effort to get out of your tent," he says.

If you're in a flat area, he says it's a good idea to sit cross-legged in a low-lying area, but not a ditch, which will collect more water, allowing the lightning to travel more.

Many city folk are "divorced from nature," he points out, so they often forget how merciless mother nature can be. He says one of the first things you pack for camping should always be a flashlight with extra batteries, just in case.

Jeri Syroteuk, a spokeswoman with Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, located right along the Bay of Fundy, advises campers to pack layers of clothing. Along the water, it's often five to 10 degrees colder than it is inland. …

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