Whether you’re looking for a break on a budget, want to relax in some natural surroundings, or fancy
Getting well away from it all off the beaten track, camping is a holiday that can be fun and restful.
There is a wide range of options when it comes to camping – you can keep it super simple with a
basic tent and sleeping bag setup, or you could decide to ‘value my car’ to trade it in for a
campervan for a more all-encompassing experience.
However, there are plenty more potential dangers when it comes to a camping trip, to the extent
Doing more research before you pack up and head off for the week is necessary.
The main dangers are all centered around hot things, the majority of which are how you
cook your food. All of these are perfectly manageable and are not reasons to shy away from the idea
of camping, but a degree of care is needed.
The natural method – the campfire
Whatever time of year you go camping, the temptation to light up a campfire will be justifiably
strong. It gives a cozy focal point for the evening, keeps you warm, and will provide light after the sun
goes down. It’s also one of the most simplistic methods of cooking.
But an uncontrolled fire could ruin more than your holiday. Summer, when the weather is hot and
The ground is dry, which can provide perfect conditions for a spark to catch and for a blaze to spread
Keeping your campfire under control is crucial, therefore. Thankfully, many official campsites have
your back on this front, as plenty will provide a firepit. It still requires a degree of care but gives
you a dedicated area to keep everything nicely contained.
If you don’t have a firepit provided, you should make your own once you have checked the
local rules on fires – not all campsites allow them. If you are allowed to light up, the circle of
rocks will help keep everything well contained. Make sure you stick to natural materials for lighting
and feeding the fire. Flammable liquids might get things going quickly, but it’s highly dangerous and
not worth the risk of injury.
While it’s alight, keep a bucket of water handy in case of stray sparks. You’ll also need it
When everyone heads to bed – pour a couple of buckets over the fire before you leave a fire. Just
to be sure that it is put out.
Cooking over flames – the BBQ
Barbeque is a simple and romantic method of cooking out in nature. Whether you’ve brought
your setup from home, or you’ve picked up a disposable tray-style all-in-one version of the same
As with fires, some campsites don’t allow a barbeque, so the first thing to do is make sure it’s
Location is crucial with a barbeque. Ensure it is a reasonable distance away from your tent – 10m at least.
Don’t be tempted to light it in your tent. Not only is it a fire risk, but the carbon monoxide
fumes are odorless, invisible, and lethal, so keep it away.
Disposable barbeques present a real danger once you are finished with them, too, so once all your
food is cooked, be sure to cool them down by pouring water over the embers. As they are small and
not easily seen in the dark, there is a chance that an unsuspecting walker
or animal could stand on them. Cooling them down with a bucket or few of water is the safest and most public-spirited the thing to do. Once fully cooled, dispose of it carefully in a general waste bin.
Propane is a handy fuel, as you can use it for some reasons while camping. It comes in handy
small tanks and is commonly used to power little stoves – it’s like taking a mini hob away with you.
It needs to be treated with care, though, as if it leaks, it is highly dangerous – it’s very explosive, and the fumes are very harmful to your health.
The tanks are designed not to leak, but it is worth being careful with them. While
transporting them, keep them securely in your car so they don’t fall and get damaged.
Heat is another factor to be aware of – ideally, you should keep your tank out of direct sunlight and
somewhere cool. If it gets too hot, the propane could expand, and the tank could
explode. Don’t keep it in your tent, though, just in case there is a leak you haven’t spotted.
Most leaks will come via the valve, though. Make sure you shut it fully when you are done using it.
Then check again.
None of these factors are insurmountable, though. With a bit of care, you can have a warm, well-fed
and enjoyable family camping trip.