With summertime upon us, many families will venture to the great outdoors to spend time with one another, be one with nature and take advantage of a cheap family vacation.

Camping can mean many different things for people; for some, it is tents and the bare necessities, and for others, it is a motor home with a flushing toilet nearby. Whichever way you camp, there are a few outdoor safety rules that are best to follow to ensure you have a fun and safe time outdoors.

The problem is more and more people are shunning the outdoors because their kids are more focused on beating King Koopa or watching reruns of their favorite shows. Many young people aren’t learning the basic safety skills needed for a simple hike, let alone an overnight trip. Avoid being in that category and start the outdoor education with a few of these tips.

Bring water.

Safe drinking water is nearly impossible to find in nature. Many hikers, animals and other things have tainted water streams making that water not safe for immediate consumption. The safest thing to do is to bring water from home. If you prefer the more adventurous, “live on the land” sort of experience, bring a water purifying system. Drinking bad water is bad for your system which can result in diarrhea or the contraction of a worse disease.

Stay on the trails.

Trails are designed to keep visitors in a safe area. Staying on designated trails will help you avoid getting lost and avoid any other dangerous situations. A designated trail often has poisonous plants cut away from the visitor’s path, and getting lost in the woods is dangerous for any age. If you are more adventurous and, more importantly, experienced, take a compass and a book to help you recognize dangerous plants. And always let people know where you are going. This may aid for any search and rescue efforts if you do get lost. Always travel with a buddy. It sounds elementary, but it is just plain smart.

Check the weather forecast.

Knowing what weather to expect will greatly determine the success of your trip. If you are expecting a little rain, be prepared or be forced to sleep in a soggy tent. A mild rain in one camping area might not be a big deal, but in places like a slot canyon, it can be a difference between life and death. Also keep a look out on other storm movements like severe wind. If there is a wilderness fire nearby, you might want to avoid camping in that area in case the wind fans the fire and spreads.

Be cautious of rivers.

A flowing river may seem like a fun place to play, but it can turn deadly real fast. Look before you cross a river to determine the actual depth. And don’t let you children get anywhere near a river. A mild looking flow can easily carry away a small person very quickly. When in doubt, stay on dry land.

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