Hey there fellow campers and welcome to my post where we will check out my 7 tips to keep animals out of your campsite this year. As we know, camping is a favorite pastime of many if for no other reason that being outside in nature has a positive impact on one’s mood and can even reduce stress.
However, as we also know, the great outdoors is also the domain of many a wild animal, some a little more dangerous than others. So if you are someone who likes to camp in areas where the wildlife can be a little intrusive, then here are some tips and ideas you may be able to implement in order to share your special spots with some social distancing included.
Tips to keep animals out of your tent
So as above, if you are having trouble with animals in your campsite, here are my 7 tips below:
1. Choose your campsite wisely
Probably the most important tip here is, for obvious reasons, to select a location for your tent site that is an area where animals do not inhabit as much. Avoid densely wooded areas or areas near sources of water that attract wildlife and you should also look for places with no trees close enough for an animal to jump onto your tent from above.
Here are some familiar places for camping and the animals that might bother you:
- Places near bodies of water: Mosquitoes, snakes, bears, and other bugs.
- Places with tall grass: Snakes
- Damp places: Bears and insects
- Wooded places: Raccoons, snakes, insects, and bears
As a result, the ideal campground should be level, dry, away from vegetation or trees, breezy (optional, but helps keep unwanted bugs out), and raised (to keep out moisture).
2. Protect your food items
In most cases, the main reason animals leave the safety of their habitat to enter a camping area is for food. And once you add this to the fact that many campers store their food in a cooler, cardboard box or supermarket bag then a visit is almost assured. Keep in mind here as well that you are likely not the first person to camp here meaning animals know where to look.
For most animals, a good hard plastic storage container will keep animals at bay and your food safe (they work well for us when the Kangaroos and Goannas visit for sure). If bears are your problem, then a bear proof container is a must. Bear boxes are large metal trunks with a locking mechanism intended to stop bears getting into them and your food.
They also block strong-odored foods as well meaning you are less likely to attract them in the first place. Bear boxes are usually located in camp grounds however if you are moving around, bear canisters are a portable version of bear boxes that are much smaller and can fit in your backpack.
If rodents to raccoons are your problem, you can also hang your goods so that animals cannot reach them. This step is practically easy to achieve: all you need is a rope and a tree. Tie some knots around the storage container and hang them around 10+ feet up and a few feet away from the branch.
Check out these: Bear proof containers
3. Strength in numbers
A solid rule of thumb for any outdoor activity and keeping animals out of your campsite is to go with multiple people. Significant levels of loud sounds can scare animals the most and most animal interactions are avoided when the group is large.
You should observe a similar practice when trekking. Choose to go with at least a few people present to dissuade animals from approaching you in fear of being hounded by a group of humans.
4. Produce some noise
For this next tip, you may need to check in with local campground rules – especially at night – but something as basic as a radio playing may prevent animal intrusions too. Animals work on sound and smell and frequently wander to a place where they don’t hear anything presuming no humans are there.
It doesn’t have to be loud for this suggestion; you simply need something that can make enough noise. Music or talk radio will suffice and light classical music at a low volume will keep them away at night whilst you sleep.
Oh, and many animals will avoid fire at all costs, so sitting around a campfire will help a lot here too.
5. Keep your site clean
This next tip follows along the lines of above where we discussed keeping your food secure. Here, keep in mind that once you have eaten, left over food scraps and dirty dishes provide a fantastic odor attraction for wayward and hungry animals. To counteract this, consider the following:
- Use a kitchen sink to wash your dishes: Look for a communal camp kitchen or take your own portable option to wash your dishes properly.
- Before dumping your dishes in the water, do your best to remove all food fragments.
- When you’re finished, use a strainer (or a plastic bag with holes) to drain the liquids from the kitchen sink.
- Disperse the dishwater, or greywater, as widely as possible. Make sure that you do this far away from where you have pitched your tents.
- Dispose of your garbage properly.
In simple terms, a messy camping area is a big no-no and you should ensure that you dispose of your waste properly to stop animals digging through your food litter. Waste items should be kept in containers that operate similarly to bear canisters and hung in trees. If there is a public trash can, make sure to dispose of the waste properly as recycling, composting, and landfills offer varying degrees of protection from hungry animals.
Check out these: Portable camp kitchens
6. Know your animals
At then end of the day, no matter what you do, there is still a good chance that an animal may decide there is something worth checking out within your campsite. If this occurs, your best form of attack is to know who to handle them. Here are some examples:
Bugs – Mosquitoes, ticks, gnats are generally tolerable however, the blood-sucking species of bugs are particularly intrusive and may potentially spread some diseases. Insect repellents are the best ways to manage these and it is recommended that you wear insect-protecting clothes such as those that can cover your arms and legs too.
Raccoons – Having your pet dogs with you can help keep raccoons away from your campsite. You may also try using cayenne or black pepper too.
Coyotes – Coyotes are wild dogs that whilst not thought to be particularly harmful, can be a nuisance around food and rubbish. Coyotes are best deterred from sticking in groups or producing noise.
Bears – You may not believe this but bears are generally more scared of you than you are of them. Hence loud noises, flashing lights, human voices are good here. They also apparently don’t like ammonia or citrus scents either. Additionally, there are also some good anti-bear sprays in the market too.
7. Do not provoke them
And finally, along the lines of the previous tip above, if you do come across an animal, do not provoke them by trying to scare them away or attacking them (yep, it happens). When encountering an animal in the wild, it is important to respect their space and behavior to avoid provoking them.
The first step is to keep a safe distance, allowing the animal to feel comfortable and not threatened. Do not attempt to approach or touch the animal, as this can be interpreted as aggression and avoid making sudden movements or loud noises that can startle them. I
Finally, if you encounter a mother with her young, it is especially important to give them plenty of space, as a mother can become protective and aggressive if she feels her offspring are in danger. Remember, animals in the wild are not domesticated and should always be treated with caution and respect.
There you have it, my tips for keeping animals away from your camping area. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual, let me know of your experiences with them.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time.