Camping is a fun way to discover the beauty of our country, and with Covid-19 restricting peoples travel, there will be a lot more of us out and about this summer.
Here's a few safety tips to keep you and your friends and family safe while camping out.
Plan and book your camping trip
- You'll need to book your camping spot in advance (even in National Parks)
There is a list of popular National Parks campsites, and for those looking for somewhere quieter, there is a list of lesser known National Parks campgrounds here.
- Designated camping areas within NSW national parks vary and bush camping is permitted in some national parks
- If visiting a National Park, check for any park closures or alerts before you go (National Parks Alerts)
- Download the EmergencyPlus app to your mobile phone
- Check if drinking water is available at the campground you are staying at. Many sites don't have fresh water available so you may need to bring your own
- Check the weather forecast before setting out
- Check that your camping equipment (and car!) is in working order
Wild or backcountry camping
- You don't have to make a formal booking for remote camping (walk-in campgrounds) but you should complete a trip intention form prior to arrival
- Find other safety tips for backcountry camping / hiking on the Bushwalking Safety Preparation blog post.
Give your trip details to family and friends who are not travelling with you. Tell them when you expect to return and then let them knoe when you get home safely. That way if something goes wrong, somebody will know where to start looking for you. For longer trips, consider filling out a trip intention form and bringing a personal locator beacon (PLB) with you.
Where to set up camp
- Upon arrival check the signage to see where camping is permitted, and where you aren't allowed to set up camp
- If you are camping at a campground that has specific booking campsites, go to your reserved camping spot
- Before erecting your tent remember to first check there aren't any loose or dead tree branches overhanging your tent. Also be sure to clear the ground of sticks, stones, and anything else that may damage your tent or gear
- Avoid camping on low or poorly drained areas as these will be the first places to flood if it rains, it also helps to protect the soil and vegetation. Look for harder or sandier soils on higher ground
- Follow all fire safety information during park fire bans and total fire bans and be sure to download the Fires Near Me app onto your phone to keep you informed of any possible fire emergencies
- Only light fires in designated fireplaces
- Do not leave fires unattended and be sure to completely extinguish all fires before you leave or go to bed
- Do not use campfires to burn rubbish. Plastics release toxic gases when burned, and campfires aren't hot enough to destroy aluminium
- Bring your own firewood if you can. Dead wood provides valuable habitat for native animals so try not to break branches or collect fallen timbers for fires
- If you're camping off the beaten track, try and use a fuel stove instead.
If you do need to light a fire, remove the top layer of soil first and keep the fire small.
Be sure to completely extinguish the fire before you leave and replace the top layer of soil
- Many parks do not permit the use of chainsaws
Cooking and heating
- Never use a gas stove or fuel burner to heat up a tent
- Never cook inside a tent or in an enclosed camping space
- Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly and can occur when fuel is burned in a space with little or no ventilation including tents and caravans
- Never use generators during a fire ban
- Place the generator in an area clear of fuels and other combustible material
- Ensure extension leads are rated for external use and do not cross access tracks
- Only operate generators in well ventilated areas
- Do not leave a generator running when you are not around
- Follow the manufacturer's guidelines
Be a considerate camper
The safety of all park visitors and native flora and fauna is important. Domestic animals pose a danger yo native animals so they should be well trained and behaved. Also note that they are not permitted in most NSW National Parks as well as other areas.
COVID-19 safe camping
- Bring water, hand soap, hand wipes, cleaning products, and toilet paper with you to maintain good hygiene
- Be mindful of common areas where many people may touch the same things (ie: taps, picnic benches, public bbq's)
- Be prepared to pay with card instead of cash
- Stay at home if you are feeling unwell
- Follow the current government rules on public gatherings
- Maintain your physical distancing
- Some campgrounds will remain closed if the risk to public safety from COVID-19 cannot be managed
More info available here: