How to Survive Camping Emergencies

Rilor Staff
Update: September 14, 2020
Table of Contents

Camping is a fantastic way to have fun and unwind. At the same time, it lets you enjoy the scenery that is not present in the urban jungle. 

But at the same time, you have to realize that there are emergencies that you can encounter while camping. These are the hazards that could make your trip inconvenient or deleterious, depending on the severity. 

It is essential that you know how to deal with various camping emergencies even before you start packing your things up. In this way, your survival will not be jeopardized. 

Camping Emergencies: How To Deal With Them

Part I: Preparation

Inform Others About Your Trip

It isn't easy to call for help once you are in the middle of a forest or a mountainous terrain. If nobody knew about your trip, getting rescue will not be as easy as it seems. In fact, it might be close to impossible. 

Hence, it is vital that you inform trusted individuals about the trip you are going to make. It could be a family member or a close friend. Share with them your whereabouts, the date of your departure, and the expected date of your return. If you do not return on time, they will automatically beep the authorities.

Pack The Essential Survival Gears

Survival is about human instinct and your ability to handle several SHTF situations. But at the same time, it is also about the things that you have brought with you. It is a combat challenging scenario if you don't have the appropriate utilities that can help you overcome them. 

There are various amenities that you can think of right now. But when it comes to the essentials, the following are proven to be indispensable.

  • First-aid kit
  • Large survival knife (machete and hatchets can work)
  • LED flashlights (with extra batteries)
  • Lighter, tinders, or other forms of fire starters
  • Survival blankets
  • Water-purification tablets 
  • Nylon line or ropes
  • Signal mirror 
  • Whistles 
  • Compass, maps, and personal locator beacon (PLB)
  • Water container
  • Bear spray

By the way, this list of essential camping items is derived from the consolidated reports from survival experts. We have experts from the United States Air Force Survival School and Outdoor Life Magazine that suggested these survival gears. 

Also, keep in mind that these items are not included in your camping gears. Therefore, you shouldn't wonder why cooking pans, tents, outdoor clothing, or sleeping bags are not present in the said list.

It would really be great if you can expand this survival pack. The more you journey, the more you realize the things that you need to carry. Of course, you have to pay attention to the terrain, weather, and the general conditions of the place you are going to camp.

Enroll In A Survival Class

Prevention is better than cure, right? 

Honestly, there's a need to balance your preparedness. It is not sufficient that you have survival gear. You also need to be fully equipped in how to use them.

Learning how to use first aid and other life-saving maneuvers are also crucial for outdoor goers. You have to familiarize the tools that are within your first-aid kit. Master CPR, the different bandaging skills, and other nitty-gritty of survival

It is not just all fun and games in camping and any outdoor activities. Mentally and physically, you need to be prepared. Don't make this pursuit a one-way trip. It is not worth it.

Familiarize Emergency Lines And Facilities

Also, it would be prudent on your part if you are well-aware of every health facility, police station, and emergency institution within your camping site. Whenever the emergency is too overwhelming for you, accessing these services can technically save your life. 

But of course, it would be a prudent move if you have their numbers saved in your smartphone, cellphone, or similar devices. Not all circumstances will allow you to rush toward them. Sometimes, your best bet of getting help is by contacting them through their hotlines. 

Being savvy about these details will save you from being helpless. You should provide a solution to every emergency that would come in your way. 

Part II. Dealing With Different Emergencies

Dealing With Bears

If there's a bear in my left, I will certainly go to the right. As much as possible, I don't want to deal with this creature as it is not as friendly and cuddly as it is portrayed in today's media. 

Bears are fearsome. They have aggressive tendencies. And once they are on to you, your chances of survival dramatically reduces. Right now is the perfect time to learn how to defend yourself against bear attacks. You don't want to be caught off guard by the intensity of the danger. 

Here are some notable measures that can help you fend off or prevent bears from being attracted to your campsite.

  • Don't cook or store food in your camping area. Do these things in some distant place (a 100-yard distance will do).
  • Do not place any food or items that have a fragrant smell in your tent.
  • Change clothes after cooking. The worn garments should be placed far away from your tent. 
  • Avoid bringing toothpaste, seeds, and garbage in your camping area. Bears are unusually attracted to them. 
  • If you are trailing and you saw a bear, don't shout. Instead, speak in a low volume while stepping back. 
  • Do not turn your back to the bear. Back away while still facing it. 
  • Do not attempt to run. 
  • Eye contact is prohibited.
  • Wave your arms and create noises to distract and scare bears from entering your campsite. 
  • Bring a bear spray all the time. Know how to use it well. 
  • If a fight is inevitable with a black bear, just fight and use every ounce of your strength in attacking its muzzle and head
  • If you are about to be attacked by a grizzly bear, play dead by lying on your stomach.

Dealing With Hypothermia And Hyperthermia

Under normal circumstances, you shouldn't encounter hypothermia or hypothermia during a leisure camping trip. However, if you will do your jaunt in snowy high-altitude terrains or during extreme and irregular weather conditions. 

You have to remember that hypothermia and hyperthermia are life-threatening circumstances. If you are not prepared to deal with them, your entire safety will be put at risk.

  • Hypothermia - This happens when the temperature of your body goes below 35 degrees Celsius. Try to reduce the risk factors to cope with it, such as removing wet clothes or adding more insulation to your tent. Have someone make hot water or beverages for you so that your internal temperature can increase again. But if these things don't work, call immediate assistance right away. 
  • Hyperthermia - It is the opposite of hypothermia. Specifically, this occurs when your body temperature shoots up to a dangerous level. Of course, heatstroke can come shortly once this happens. Avoid getting exposed by the heat of the sun. If there's a nearby cabin with an air conditioning system, go there. But if it is not available, look for a shaded area. Remove your clothes and drink a lot of water. If things are getting out of hand, call emergency services as soon as possible. 

Dealing With Simple Wounds

  • Start by disinfecting your hands with alcohol, sanitizer, or soap. Alternatively, you can wear a pair of gloves if you have one. 
  • Next, focus on making the bleeding stop. You can do this by elevating the wound and press a gauze to it. Do this for a couple of minutes to seize the bleeding while enabling the clotting to happen. After this, wash the wound with water. 
  • Once you are done washing, dry it with the use of surgical gauze. After that, cover it with a sterilized bandage. 
  • If the bleeding doesn't stop, that simply means that the cut is deep. At this point, you need to call a medical emergency unit to rescue you. 

Dealing With Fractures And Spinal Injuries

  • Bone injuries and fractures usually take place whenever you are hiking or climbing, and you happen to trip over. Since these damages are painful, even the absence of visible symptoms can let you tell that the bones are severely damaged. 
  • If you can see dislocation, curve, bend, or bruise, then it tells that the injury is severe and requires immediate and careful treatment. 
  • Moving a damaged spine or broken bones can further aggravate the injury. If someone got injured on these parts, do not touch them. Instead, you should keep them immobilized while waiting for emergency assistance. 

Dealing With Head Injuries

  • Needless to say, the severity of head injuries should never be taken lightly. Internal bleeding and fractures are both serious. They require immediate treatment and constant monitoring. 
  • If you spot blood coming out from the nose or ears, then it is certain that the situation is indeed grim. Symptoms like confusion and unconsciousness, even for a short while, after a blunt impact on the head should not be ignored as well.
  • If the bleeding is just external, stop the bleeding with the use of a sterilized gauze. Don't let the injured person sleep or take a nap. They should remain in an upright position, too, until such time medical assistance arrives.
  • If the person suddenly stops breathing, do CPR. Two breaths for thirty compressions. 

Dealing With Storms and Flash Floods

Storms are nasty, and they can pose a threat to any camper. This weather disturbance has varying degrees of strength. Some are tolerable while others bring excessive inundations, coupled with strong gusts of wind. A campsite that is fully exposed to storms will become unstable and dangerous to stay on. 

  • Once a storm is brewing, you need to evacuate right away. Wrap your things, pack your equipment, and move them in your vehicle.
  • Try to keep your clothes dry to avoid hypothermia. If you got drenched, replace your clothing with a new set of garments. 
  • You can use your car or truck as a windbreaker. Just drive it near your tent. 
  • If there are things that you cannot move immediately, tie them tightly instead. Coolers, chairs, and tables can be mounted to the ground or any platform so that they will not be taken away. 
  • Cover your essential amenities with tarps.
  • Meanwhile, flash floods are not easy to tackle. Once the rushing waters are coming already, it is difficult to stop them. Even avoiding it in time would become a difficult task. To avoid being stuck in any of these situations, you simply need to pick a camping site that is elevated. Avoid flood-prone areas, including slopes and rivers.

Dealing With Tornadoes

A tornado is a malignant force of nature. It is capable of destroying properties and lives. We have seen how destructive these tornadoes are; they can level grounds and reshape structures, making them extremely horrifying.

Of course, you are not impervious to tornadoes once you are outdoors. The chances of encountering them are quite high in valleys and extremely flat areas. 

  • When there's a tornado forming, you need to flee as soon as possible. Do not bother packing all your camping stuff, especially if this weather disturbance is already near. 
  • If escaping is not plausible, find a spot where you can burrow yourself. By curling yourself in depressions and ditches, the chance of surviving a ravaging tornado is never zero. But of course, finding these land formations are quite difficult, especially during pressing emergencies. Hence, being able to be one-step ahead will always be the best way to deal with this situation.

Dealing With Lightning

Another scary phenomenon that you can encounter while camping is a lightning strike. No word can describe how dangerous this natural occurrence is. Sadly, you are prone to experiencing lightning storms while you are in the wild. Of course, if you'll get hit by them, the guarantee of survival is thin. 

  • Right now, the only way you can deal with lightning is by avoiding them at all costs.
  • Always look for the signs of a lightning storm. If streaks of light are coming down at an unprecedented rate, you need to be cautious already. Move away and find a location that is not elevated. It would really be great if your refuge has trees or tall rocks covering it. 
  • Do not stay in your tent, especially if it has metal poles. 
  • While the storm is passing, curl your body and form a curved position. Cover your head with your hands and do not attempt to stand. 


Being able to stay on top despite the odds is a remarkable skill. As an outdoor enthusiast, it is crucial that we know how to protect yourself and respond to any emergency situations. It would be best if you can learn a myriad of survival skills so that your safety will never get compromised.

Want to learn more about outdoor survival? Check out our detailed guide on surviving different harsh environments.

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