I camped on a friend’s property in 2013 as a sabbatical. I had permission to be on the property, but my location was near a busy highway and two very busy roads. I was concerned for my personal safety not only during the day, but at night when I slept. When I left the camp every day to go to the library to work, I was concerned for my campground, my cat and my belongings.
Maintaining your safety is not a difficult task if you follow some tips. They are listed here.
Step One: Noise
If you make a lot of noise with a CD player, TV, DVD player or musical instruments, you will likely be heard by people passing by. Since a tent has no lock on the door, a nefarious person may begin to watch the area to find out when you leave. On large pieces of land, the owner may not have the ability to keep an eye on you or your tent all the time.
Choose your campground wisely; walk beside the property to see if you can spot your campground from the road. If you can, move it to a more secure area. The taller and more brightly colored your tent is, the more chance you have of being spotted. Shorter and smaller is better.
To eliminate noise, do not bring musical instruments with you. Use headphones for electronic devices. You might not sleep well the first few nights because of unfamiliar noises. You will get used to hearing the sounds of the area around you and will sleep through the night eventually.
Step Two: Light
I seldom turned on my battery operated lantern at night. I became accustomed to using the available moonlight to move around my camp. After the roads died down and the businesses in the area closed for the evening, I might turn on my laptop and watch a show for a little while. I had the screen turned away from the road and used earphones.
Needless to say, I did not go exploring in the area at night. In rural Texas, that’s not a good idea. Critters come out at night; not all of them are friendly and a few have no sense of humor about being stepped on by clumsy humans who can’t see in the dark.
I never started a campfire; the smoke and flames would attract attention in the area because a burn ban was in effect. My little Sterno stove flame could not be seen from the road; I had hot coffee, food and bath water every day.
Step Three: Protection
If you believe in the power of prayer as I do, pray for your campground’s safety every day.
I also had a 15-inch long Maglight in my tent as well as a piece of rebar for self-defense. The heavy metal flashlight can readjust someone’s attitude. Of course, the best protection is non-detection. I did see trespassers on my friend’s property one night; they came near my campground in the night. I was terrified. They came to a point on the trail that dropped off sharply and would have caused them to crash if they had continued; subsequently they turned around and went away. I informed my friend about them; she watched the area as well. Her hired help caught up with them and I did not see them again.
A cell phone can be a lifesaver; practice ahead of time to let the police know where you are and how to find you quickly.
Step Four: Travel Carefully
If you walk or drive to your campground, do not take the same path every day. Most people do not notice a car or truck turning off the road. If you walk, do not call attention to yourself. I was leaving from an area that did not have a house or road close by; most people on the road took no notice of me.
When I returned to my camp every day, it was a little after dusk, just as the light was leaving the sky and the night was turning dark. I was never followed. People on the busy street were more concerned about getting to their homes than paying attention to someone walking beside the road.
Step Five: Be Careful Who You Talk To
Do not walk around telling everyone you know what you are doing. A well-meaning friend or someone who overhears you could call the police, the health department or other authorities. Although I had permission to be on my friend’s property, someone could have made trouble for her and me because I was living in a tent.
Living in a tent can be a rewarding, relaxing experience. Taking care of your security is a daily task that takes a little effort in the beginning; you will develop the habit quickly.
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse subjects and skills such as DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects, RV’ing and more.