Taking a long hike? Good for you. Need to cross a river that doesn’t have an obvious Ford or bridge? Careful now. There are plenty of reasons why rapidly-flowing water can be dangerous. If you need to cross a stream or river, throw a branch into the water first.
If it moves downstream faster than your normal walking pace, you need to find a different route or go to a different spot in the river. Of course, always be sure to watch your step while you’re crossing. Slick rocks, moss, or even fish can be treacherous, and you don’t want a helicopter being your only way out of there.
Glow Sticks Are Always Handy
Just because you aren't at a dance party doesn't mean you can't get some use out of glow sticks! They're incredibly handy items to keep around in case you need to be noticed, like when you're calling for help. Make sure everybody has one or two in their packs before heading on a hike.
If you get separated, crack them up to create something that will be much easier to see in the dark. Having multiple ways to stay safe during any kind of situation gives you the biggest chance of survival, and something as quick and easy as glow sticks are a good pick.
Stay Safe With Your Smartphone
If you're like a really high percentage of the world, you own a smartphone. Maybe even two. You might be tempted to leave your phone at home if you're going camping, but there are lots of reasons to take it if you're headed to the wild. Tons of apps can help you keep yourself alive.
These include GPS apps of varying quality, apps that will let you know if there's bad weather on the way, apps that will tell you what plants are edible and which you should stay away from, army survival apps, a knots app, and many more.
Create a Long-Lasting Candle
Yes, we all know that light is super important when you're out camping, especially with little children, but it can be hard to carry everything you need to keep your chosen area lit. While a candle might not spread a ton of light, you can create one that will last a long, long time.
A big jar of vegetable shortening like Crisco only needs a wick that goes down the bottom for a candle that will burn for hours upon hours. You'll have to do some work to get the wick into the jar, but sometimes the effort is worth it.
Bring Flavors Everywhere
Spices are handy little additions to all sorts of meals, but you can also use them for food preservation while you are out camping. Fill up old Tic Tac containers with all of your favorite spices to create simple items that won't pop open during travel, and get your bags smelling of paprika and dried oregano leaves.
The basics, like salt and pepper, will help with general preservation, and more adventurous flavors, like nutmeg, cardamom, and turmeric, offer a range of healing properties to keep your immune system strong. Sans refrigeration or regular medication, these natural alternatives will be a bigger health boost than you'd expect.