Follow our tips for protecting your campsite from wild animals.
Camping is a great way to get away from it all and enjoy nature. You and your family can explore the great outdoors and come back to a cozy campsite for meals around the perfect campfire. However, the food for those meals is the perfect way to attract wild animals. You need to know how to properly store your food and keep animals away from your campsite. It’s not that the animals are out to harm you; they’re probably curious and definitely hungry. And those dirty pots and pans you left out? That’s a free meal for a raccoon or something bigger. Protecting your campsite comes down to smartly storing your food and cleaning up after yourself.
Keep Your Food Locked Up
Food is going to be the biggest attraction of your campsite. The first step is to keep all of your food inside containers. Keep those containers inside a cooler with a locking lid. Animals, especially raccoons, are smarter than you think. They can easily open an unlocked cooler.
For added protection, secure a rope around the cooler. Keep the cooler outside and hang it at least seven feet in the air. This will deter bigger animals, such as bears, from getting to the cooler. Another option is to store your coolers in the trunk or back of your vehicle. Whatever you do, don’t keep food in your tent. Proper food storage is a must when protecting your campsite.
Clean Up After Yourself
Pots and pans with leftover food are bound to attract squirrels, mice and the like. Wash your pots, pans, plate, utensils and cups before and after you use them. Even if you think you’ve done a thorough job cleaning, small animals may have found their way to your cookware in search of a meal. You never know what diseases or germs wild animals may spread, so it’s better to err on the safe side and give everything a good rinse.
It’s also important to dispose of trash properly. Bring along heavy duty garbage bags. It’s best to double bag your trash and take it to a campgrounds dumpster. Or you can throw the trash bag in your locked vehicle or hang it like the cooler. Just don’t leave it out in your campsite.
Other Tips and Tricks
It may seem strange, but fabric softener sheets can help keeps the animals at bay. Lots of animals dislike the odor of the sheets, and the sheets can help cover up the scent of food. Keep some of the sheets in your tent, backpack and even with the cooler. It’s an easy and inexpensive way of protecting your campsite.
Obviously a flashlight comes in handy when you need to make a trip to the bathroom in the night or you’re telling scary ghost stories around the campfire. However, it can also help keep animals away. A sudden blast of light might be enough to scare away a skiddish animal from your campsite.
Finally, if you’re worried about bigger animals, a repellent spray may come in handy. Some bear attack spray can spray up to 35 feet away. Of course, always use it with caution.