Top 5 Camping Hazards in Pennsylvania

Published on Aug 12, 2015 Blog Image

Camping Hazards

For most of us, camping is a fun time to relax with friends and family while taking in the beauty of nature. There's just something about a campfire that makes me feel like I never left home.  The great outdoors is full of many things we love, but sometimes they just don't love us back. Steps can be taken to help avoid these hazards but others we have no power over them, such as the weather. We compiled a list of some of the most common hazards you may encounter while camping in the great state of Pennsylvania as well as steps you may take to avoid them. Always remember to respect any wildlife you may encounter while camping, after all we're the ones who have ventured into their homes, not the other way around. 


#1 The Timber Rattlesnake

  • Habitat
    • The largest populations of timber rattlesnakes dwell in the remote, heavily forested regions of Pennsylvania. 
    •  The 2.2 million acres of state forest lands provide the largest sections of timber rattlesnake range remaining in the Northeastern states.
    • These snakes are most active between the months of April to October


  • Identification (In Pennsylvania timber rattlesnakes can have 2 distinct patterns)
    • Yellow phase (light)
    • Black phase (dark)
    • The dorsal has a bold pattern of dark brown, grey to black V shaped body bands and blotches with a pale yellow border around them.


  • Treatment
    • 1) Immediately distance yourself from the snake, when feeling threatened rattlesnakes may attempt to strike multiple times.
    • 2) After you have called 911, remove any clothing or jewelry as the bite will swell.
    • 3) Allow the wound to bleed, this can help some of the venom to work it's way back out of the affected area.
    • 4) Do not elevate the bite area above your heart and stay immobile as possible.
    • 5) Place a clean bandage over the bite without washing the bite. There is leftover venom around the bite that may assist doctors to identify which type of rattlesnake bit you and which medicine to administer. 


#2 The Wasp

  • Treatment
    • Applying ice to the sting will provide some mild relief. Apply once every hour for 20 minute segments.
    • Taking an antihistamine such as benadryl or claritin to help with itching.
    • Ibuprofen works well for pain relief 


#3 The Tick

  • Prevention
    • Wear light covered clothing while outdoors, including a broad brimmed hat, a long sleeve t-shirt, and pants tucked into the socks.
    • Check the body daily 
    • Stay away from heavily wooded or brushy areas.
    • Use tick repellents such as DEET or permethrins


  • Treatment
    • Use forceps or tweezers to carefully remove ticks attached to the skin.
    • Apply gentle, constant retraction of the tick's head where it attaches to the skin.
    • Ticks are known to be carriers of Lyme disease which may cause excessive swelling around the bite and can cause fatigue, fever, headache, or a stiff neck. Seek professional help if you fear you may have been bitten by a tick with Lyme disease.


#4 Poison Ivy

  • Identification 
    • Look for clusters of 3 leaves, closely connected at the stem. Poison ivy can grow as a vine, bush, or a single plant.
    • The middle leaf will be larger than the 2 outer leaves.
    • The middle leaf almost always has a small stem while the 2 side leaves grow directly from the vine and don't have stems.
    • If growing near a tree of fence, it will twist itself around the object as it grows.
    • If growing in a rocky area, it tends to take over all surrounding vegitation. 
    • "Leaves of 3, let them be!"


  • Treatment
    • Baking soda is a good home remedy to reduce itchiness. Place 1/2 cup baking soda into a bathtub filled with warm water. You can also mix 3 teaspoons of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of water and mix until it forms a paste. Apply paste to infected area
    • Over-the-counter hydrocortisone products such as Cortaid, Caldecort, or Lanacort can help alleviate the itch but are not advised for serious cases. 
    • Avoid deodorant soaps when washing because they cause increased dryness leading to the urge to itch.
    • Avoid hot showers, they can cause the rash to become more inflamed. 



#5 The Black Bear

  • Prevention

Keep your camp clean and odor free, thoroughly wipe down tables after each meal.

NEVER have food in your tent, keep food in a bear-proof container or car trunk.

Dispose of garbage properly, use camp receptacles.  

Leave dogs at home or keep them on a leash

When hiking at dawn or dusk you can reduce your chances of suprising a bear by talking or making noise.

If you Become face-to-face with a bear

Back away slowly while facing the bear

Avoid direct eye contact

Give the bear plenty of room to escape

Don't turn and run, it can provoke the bear to give chase, Nobody can outrun a bear.

Look for any nearby baby cubs and move as FAR AWAY as possible, momma bears have killed many in the name of their cubs.

Bears will sometimes pop their jaw as a sign of aggression, your cue to exit the area.

If a bear charges you, wildly waive your arms and shout as long as you can. 

Starr's Trailer Sales

Follow our tips to help make sure mother nature doesn't ruin your next camping trip. If you have interest in one of our New or Used Rvs feel free to stop by our dealership and we'd be more than happy to show you around. Or just give us a call with any questions you may have. Thanks for reading our blog!