Fall Safety for Campers
Fall weather brings a fantastic time to go camping. Crisp air, sunny afternoons, and a ton of colorful trees and fun! We wanted to take this time to share some of our favorite tips for safely staying warm while camping, and give some pointers on Halloween safety for the little trick or treaters! We hope to provide the best fall safety for campers!
Protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless and can cause illness or death in people and pets. Never use fuel-burning equipment such as gas stoves, heaters, lanterns, and charcoal grills inside a tent, camper, or other enclosed shelter. It can cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to build up. As alternative heat sources to fuel-burning appliances inside an enclosed shelter, campers should bring adequate bedding and clothing and should consume extra calories and fluids during the outing to prevent hypothermia (a dangerous loss of body warmth that can cause death).
Staying Warm While Tent Camping
- Make sure that you have a good quality temperature rated sleeping bag. For maximum toastyness, get a sleeping bag that is rated for zero degrees. You can also get a fleece sleeping bag liner to increase the temperature rating of your sleeping bag by about ten degrees. If you are in need of a good sleeping bag, you might want to check out the highest rated sleeping bags.
- Use a sleeping pad. Sleeping pads offer more insulation than an air mattress does since air mattresses get filled with cold air on cold nights. An air mattress by itself doesn’t offer any insulation between you and the cold air in the air mattress. If you want comfort and warmth, you can put the sleeping pads right on top of your air mattress. Thermosets Sleeping Mattresses are excellent.
- Use a Coleman Blackcat Catalytic Heater. These heaters are made for use inside of a tent. We do not recommend however letting the heater run all night while you are sleeping. If you use one of these heaters, we recommend that you run it for a while before you go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning.
- Use a Mylar Thermal Blanket to reflect the heat from the heater back down at you. Most people just think of these blankets as emergency blankets. Whether you use a catalytic heater or just your own body heat, this tip can really help a lot! Just attach the thermal blanket to the ceiling of your tent with duct tape and it will reflect much of the heat inside the tent back down at you.
- Heat up a few 5 – 15 pound rocks by your fire for about an hour or so. Pull them away from the fire and let them cool down for a bit. Once they are cool enough to handle (but still very warm) wrap them in towels and put them in the foot of your sleeping bag. They can also be placed in the center of your tent and combined with the Mylar thermal blankets on your ceiling, they should keep your tent warm for hours!
- One other tip that is important that most people don’t realize is that you need to keep your tent ventilated at night. This may sound a little strange at first but there’s a good reason for it! The heat from your body and your breath itself inside your tent at night can cause condensation to build up and make everything in your tent slightly damp.
Staying warm in your RV
- The first thing the owner can do is take a good inventory of their RV, and perform an inspection of all the slides and windows, and door seals on their RV. Those cracked and torn rubber seals and gaskets around your windows, doors and slides should all be maintained regularly and either replaced or repaired depending on their condition. If they are cracked and hard, then they are probably not going to give you a good seal against the elements, so replace them too. They are probably letting air into your RV, wherever you can see that the fit is not perfect. Once you have taken care of any and all gasket and seal problems on the outside of your RV, make a thorough check for air leaks on the inside.
- If your RV feels “drafty” the leak is often something that can be fixed with a little Silicone rubber, or maybe a little strategically placed spray foam insulation, then great. But if you have significant level of cold air coming into your RV, from wherever, you might consider finding a short-term solution.
- Use insulated “Snakes” One of the things that we used, in our older RV was a couple of those insulated “snakes” that you will find in places like Walmart. They are long (3-4 feet) stuffed cloth tubes usually about 4-inches in diameter. They are often sold to be placed at the bottom of the door of your house, to stop the cold air from entering.
- Another quick temporary fix is the use of painters tape. You know the tape you can purchase at your local hardware store that is similar to the old tan masking tape but has one great advantage. It is designed to be removed after several days, or even weeks, and the glue will not stay on the surface when the tape is removed. And the tape will come off later easily and without leaving any residue when you hit the road again.
- If you have Day-Night shades, and windshield window shades, as almost all RVs do, you should keep them closed. Even if you do not have thermal-pane windows in your RV, by closing the shades, you trap an added layer of air between the window and the shade that aids in the overall insulation of your RV interior.
- Another thing you should do is, place throw rugs in the central parts of your RV floor where you walk the most often. These rugs placed in the heaviest traffic areas of your RV can shield your feet from the cold and often uninsulated floors.
- A heat pump works pretty efficiently down to about 40F, so rather than run your Propane furnace at nights, that are cool but not near or below freezing, set it to a low temperature of 52-54F for a base temperature. This saves us a lot of money over the winter.
- The proper warm clothes are the next layer of cold management you should address. With a little forethought, you can dress warmly while in your RV, and improve your comfort level dramatically. Here are some tips we have learned when we are in a cold climate: Keep a pair or two of warm Sweat pants and a Sweat shirt in your RV. They are not only useful when outside, but they can also keep you nice and cozy when sitting around inside the RV. Wear socks when inside. Don’t walk around on your cold floor barefoot. The socks will not only make your feet feel warm, but they will block most drafts from affecting your feet. A pair of Bedroom slippers is also good to have and wear in your RV on a cold night. And, of course, when you go to bed, wear some pajamas.
- Use a space heater. It should be small, have a built-in sensor that will turn the heater off when and if it is ever kicked over. It should have a multi-speed fan for adjusting the amount of heat it puts out. One of these heaters can make a big difference in a room’s temperature, and it will keep the furnace from cutting on nearly as often, as it would if you did not use one.
Halloween Safety at campgrounds –
- Plan the route – You can scout your trip ahead of time, visit sites that look trick or treater friendly. Don’t be afraid to walk up and ask, you may even make a new friend!
- Keep the costumes bright – carry glow sticks and flashlights.
- Set some ground rules – don’t enter any campers, cabins, or tents, do not approach any vehicles, cross the street with caution.
- Older kids – set an approved route, approved group, ground rules, and a curfew.
- Do not eat any candy until it has been checked out by adults!
We hope this guide to fall safety for campers comes in handy! Let us know if you have your own tips for staying warm this fall and into winter!