When you're camping you're uncomfortably vulnerable. All that's between you and any animals (or people) intent on what you have is either a thin layer of tent. Or perhaps not even this because you've built a quick lean-to shelter. You're exposed to theft and any people who intend you more harm than that, and its vital you get advance notice they're coming.
Today, I'm going to run through a variety of different strategies to keep you safe when you're camping, on your own in the woods. The more of these you do the better, but even using just one could give you the edge you need on someone sneaking up to your camp. To wipe the sleep from your eyes and grab your handgun. It could save your life.
Get a dog
The simplest, easiest, and often one of the most effective methods is to get another set of ears and eyes. Get a dog. Preferably a smaller one, because they're often more alert. Owing to their size. Our mongrel Dane-Boxer is far less concerned about someone sneaking up on it than my daughters Pomeranian. I know which one I'd rather as an alarm, though in a fight big George would be far better suited. But I've got enough warning to wake up and load my gun, there won't even be a fight.
Get an alarm
Next, you need to consider an actual alarm. Systems like the Camp Alert Perimeter Security system are inexpensive, come with their own trip wires, and take up about as much space in your pack as a bar of soap. Just stick the batteries in, extend your tripwires, and anything that disturbs it will be met with an insanely loud siren, more than enough to deter any bear walking up on your camp, or give any human intruders second thoughts on catching you unaware.
Without an alarm, the next best option is to setup a series of tripwires around your camp. And here's where a couple of things I keep in my fishing kit come in handy. I've got plenty of fishing line which makes the perfect tripwire, and a couple of small fishing bells clipped to it make a surprising amount of noise on a clear and calm night. The only downside is if conditions are bad the sound may be muffled, or branches and other small animals can disturb it too, waking you unnecessarily.
Get your back covered
When choosing a location for your camp, think carefully about where you set up. If there's an option to have your back to a cliff, a particularly thick patch of brambles, or anything that forms a natural barrier, use it to your advantage. The less paths a potential intruder has to your front door the better, as it gives you less area to protect (and setup trip wires), but also lets you know which direction you need to shoot.
Get out of sight
The other aspect to think about is how visible your camp is, especially if you're somewhere remote. Try to find a way to tuck your tent and your camp out of sight, so anyone looking for things to loot doesn't immediately see your setup. Just moving your tent back from a clearing, or inside a line of trees can break up the outline and make it much harder to spot. The more concealed you are from any prying eyes, the better.
Get a fire
Depending on what particular threat you're expecting, a fire at night can work two ways. For animals like bears and wolves, the light can help to keep them at bay. For people, it's an attractant, and the glow from a fire can be seen for miles on a clear night. Consider what it is you're most concerned about, and act accordingly. For me, where I usually camp bears are a much bigger potential threat than a random hiker intending me harm, so I'm quite comfortable to build a big, warm fire.
Get rid of your food
If you're wanting a peaceful night's sleep, the last thing you want is to have food in your camp, especially in bear country. Bears can smell bacon grease up to 3 miles away, and you can bet they'll some snuffling about looking for the source. Do all of your cooking and eating at least a few hundred yards from your camp, and if you've got any food items, string them up so they're out of reach. A hungry bear is not how you want to be woken in camp at 3am.
Get a warning light
Any attack you face is most likely to come at night, and one of the best ways you can gain the upper edge in a confrontation is light. If you've opted for no fire because of security, a flashing strobe light can be disorientating to an intruder, while giving you the ability to see what's happening. A tactical flashlight is a key piece of gear every survivalist should have in their kit. Simple, lightweight, and gives you the upper hand should you get confronted at night.
Get trail cameras
If you're worried about who may be sulking around your property, investing in trail cameras is a smart move. Rugged and waterproof, you can set these up and leave them for weeks at a time (or longer, depending on your model and the memory card size), to then come back and see what's triggered each photo or video. The only thing you need to watch out for is these getting stolen, as anyone with ill intent will probably just take your camera too, so take care to camouflage these properly.
I love camping, but there's a few things to be careful of when you're out in the woods, especially if you're on your own in a remote area. Keep these tips in mind, and ensure you're never surprised in your camp by an unwelcome visitor.