Campsite Hazards, Where you meet the world.

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August 5, 2008

Once again real world affects the best intentions. I wanted to publish this last week, but was unable to get my laptop to talk to the hotels WIFI hookup! We survived a week long family reunion. We all met in Virginia and enjoyed a week staying in a cabin in the woods. There was no blood shed and we all still talking with each other; the kids even ate something other than chicken nuggets and everyone had fun visiting caves and the skyline drive and even a day in Washington DC.

But while on vacation, we all wanted to go tubing down the Shenandoah river. However, when we got to the river, we found many signs telling us due to the low water and lack of rain that there was an intestinal bug in the river that if ingested could cause “explosive” diarrhea. Well, I don’t know about you, but, when you combine the words explosive and diarrhea, you make me scared! But it made me start thinking of what we face when we step out of the camper or tent and how to ease some of the common problems around the campsite. Come with me while I take a walk around a typical campsite and see what pitfalls await!

The biggest problem my family has (mainly because we are looking one way and walking another too often) is tripping over things, or running into them. One of the head bangers we have problems with is the awning. We either run into the support arms or the ropes and stakes. Other friends with hybrids and slides’ problem is running into the beds or slide outs. We have found that one way to avoid this problem is to place some form of wind chimes or wind spinners from the arms or ends, small bright ribbons on the ropes helps too. Padding the edges of slides and other projections from the camper with pipe foam or water noodles can save many head wounds around camp! Also be aware that, if a storm is coming up, to please put your awning away or it could be a danger to you and your family or even other campsites!

And a similar problem is the camp clothesline, often we put one up to dry towels or clothes in the summer. But a 1/4 inch line in the dark is pretty much invisible. Leave a few clothes or towels on it at night or hang some glow sticks or glow bracelets from it, or better yet take it down when you aren’t using it!

Another common problem we experience and see is high steps into campers. Many campers have steps that are somewhat high; combine those with a less than level campsite, and you have a very efficient ankle turner! Check and see if your family can comfortably get in and out of the camper and if not, we take some large pieces of wood to make a step … sometimes they end up used as fire wood other times as steps. Others take plastic stools or wooden boxes.

One of the most common problems we see is people placing generators under the camper or slides and storing the fuel right beside them. Please store fuel (especially Gas!) in proper containers and make sure they are sealed and away from heat and open flames. Please watch the direction generator exhaust is pointed and how hot it is…backed against the propane tank or a tire is a bad idea! The same with fuel lanterns and outdoor stoves, they do a wonderful job for what they are meant to do but create a lot of heat and are a fire and burn hazard; think before you use them carelessly!

Finally, we notice that often the water and electric are on the same pedestal and that a leaking or dripping hose all weekend can lead to standing in a puddle of water to plug in or pull the plug on your camper. Carry a few extra hose gaskets and make sure you have a good water tight connection, and when plugging in or pulling the plug turn off the breaker for some added safety.

Your Obedient Servant,
Gary Smith, Jr.

Oh and a by the way, if you believe in positive thinking or prayer, we have made an offer on our own little piece of Heaven, 12 acres with a small house in the woods, Please wish us luck and send good thoughts our way!

Leave a Reply


  1. jeff

    you may already have the solution in your RV’s basement: unused leveling blocks or those “leggo”-like pads. the “leggos” have the added advantage of being configured any number of ways to suit the terrain.

  2. bob

    The wife got one at a junk store for $5.oo and it has adjustable sides so you can make it level by adjusting one side or the other and higher by adjusting both up. it is lite and stores very easy. she wouldnt be with out it. There are a lot of them out there in the Junk stores.

  3. Gary Smith, Jr.

    I love the idea of the exercise stepper and I am going to keep my eyes open at the yard sales and goodwill. Thanks for a great idea!

    Your Obedient Servant,
    Gary Smith, Jr.

  4. Timothy

    Good luck on youre piece of Heaven. Sounds like a perfect haven of rest to come to the fount of refilling. Maybe windows overlooking eastern peaks with seasonal snow would be refreshing to fuel up for the next time of spending out.
    Good Luck, Blessings

  5. Stan Garrison

    Reading your article about high camper steps, sometimes due to uneven ground,, What we use is a exercise stepper that we picked up at a garage sale. The type that consists of 3 to 4 removable layers. Depending on how uneven the ground is, we can add or remove a layer to make the step the proper height.