Is wilderness camping safe or should you be scared?

Megan Smith
 min read

Is wilderness camping safe? Yes. But you need to use common sense.

Is wilderness camping safe or should you be scared?Most of us love adventure. It’s part of human nature, that’s how it is.

Who has never dreamed of going on a wilderness tent camping trip to sleep under the stars next to a nice campfire?

The benefits of wilderness camping on our body

Wilderness camping is about reconnecting with your deepest roots.

It is to say yes to the DNA that lies within us.

It is to accept the power of nature that is written into our genetic code since the origins of life.

  • What could be better than eating the apple after picking it off the tree?
  • What could be more communal than telling stories around a cozy campfire?
  • What could be more breathtaking than sleeping under the stars?
  • What could be more soothing than to feel part of a cosmic whole?

A cocktail of positive hormones in bivouac

Wilderness camping has the rare quality of flooding our brain with happy hormones:

  • dopamine
  • serotonin
  • endorphin
  • oxytocin

How do you do it? Let me explain:

Dopamine is the hormone of reward (or rather of the hope of a reward).

It allowed our ancestors to manage their energy efficiently by releasing it only in case of a positive signal.

In the case of a bivouac, there are a multitude of ways to secrete dopamine.

The search for a place to camp, the search for dry wood, a nice fire, the search for fruit trees..

Oxytocin is the hormone of trust and empathy.

That’s what our brains release when they see a small, abandoned and fragile dog on the side of the road:

A desire to help the world, an unconditional love for all that surrounds him.

Camping in the wilderness in Arizona for example, singing around a campfire, telling stories under the stars all this releases torrents of oxytocin.

Our bivouac companions will become friends for life!

Endorphin is the hormone of physical fatigue and pain.

It allows us to overcome the physical pain to take shelter, to flee a danger.

Lying in your tent after a long day of cycling, the endorphin effect will make you feel very relaxed!

Check our top camping beds guide for plus-size people to relax on after a tiring day.

Other information related to camping beds can be found in our other posts:

Serotonin is the hormone of respect. It is closely related to a sense of security.

It is the feeling of peace and calm that we feel when we have found the right place to bivouac.

Think of the fire burning beside us and we are surrounded by our companions.

It is the fullness that follows the stress of the uncertainty of the camp location.

In short, wilderness camping makes you happy! Try it, your brain will thank you.

The dangers of wilderness camping

Real dangers are less likely than the thought of being in danger, especially in the unknown.

They can however, exist in cases of carelessness.

For a single woman

It doesn’t take a lot to understand that a lone woman camping in the woods is more vulnerable than a single man.

In some countries, camping alone as a woman is not recommended.

Let’s not forget that in countries like Iran or India, western women have an image of easy women and of little virtue.

Imagine a single woman spotted in her tent in the middle of nowhere in these countries.

It’s not a risk anyone should take.

If you want to avoid any danger, there is only one solution: camp as discreetly as possible.

To do this, make sure no one has seen you enter the woods, and avoid making a fire.

No one can know you are here!

Is wilderness camping safe or should you be scared?

Wild animals

Although the main threat to the camper is man himself, animals are not to be ignored!

In remote and sparsely populated areas, it is not impossible to encounter wolves, bears or worse!

Remember that a wild animal is called wild for a reason. By definition, it will avoid interaction with you as much as possible.

You are the number one predator on this planet, and he knows it!

However, contact is sometimes unavoidable. In this case, it is better to be prepared.

Here are some basic rules:

In the event of a wolf attack

They haven’t attacked you yet, don’t panic, stay calm and show that you are not afraid.

Make big gestures and lots of noise to impress them while backing away slowly.

Never turn your back on them.

If they attack you, don’t run or you are already dead! Face them with stones, sticks and anything else you can find.

If you can intimidate him, he will back off.

If you have scared them off, be aware as they may come back.

Stay in a group if there are several of you (never split up), make a fire with as much smoke as possible.

Make lots of noise, even singing to claim your territory.

In case of a bear attack

Same thing, don’t panic.

Make yourself look bigger than you are with your clothes, backpack, tools.

No sudden movements and never run.

No need to take shelter in your tent or to climb trees (unless you can reach the top).

Always keep your distance from the bear by keeping an obstacle (a bike, a rock, a tree) between you.

He should neither see you as a threat nor for his lunch… find the right balance.

Unlike the wolf, talk to him calmly to soothe and reassure him.

Never take your eyes off him. If you really need to defend yourself, throw rocks or sticks at his snout.

Read up about it, as some techniques (such as playing dead), have a completely different effect depending on the breed of bear.

Is wilderness camping safe?

Why are we afraid, alone in the forest?

Anyone who has ever bivouacked alone in the forest knows what I mean.

Our first wilderness campsites alone often give us nights of anxiety and startle.

Why? Because our species is gifted with imagination. Far too much!

During the first solo camping trips, the mind may react strangely to any unusual sounds.

You might think that a falling branch is a wild animal or a murderer (depending on your imagination).

A gust of wind that shakes the tent could be a ghost.

The whistling of the breeze could be a pack of wolves approaching.

The glow of the moon dancing behind the branches could be a flashlight.

Nature is in permanent movement, it lives, it expresses itself and it works.

Its sounds can become, in certain contexts unknown to city persons, extremely anxious and confusing.

The solutions are simple, stick your head in the sand or get used to it.

After a few bivouacs, you will lose your irrationality.

You will have a better and better grasp of the information of nature and you will know how to interpret it correctly.

These sounds will even lull you to sleep!

Is wilderness camping safe or should you be scared?

How to better choose your wilderness camping site?

To better prevent all the dangers inherent to wilderness camping, the choice of the camp site is crucial.

In all cases, discretion is essential. Take shelter in the forest if you can.

If you are camping in the desert, hide behind a large rock, mound or hill.

Otherwise, don’t hesitate to camp higher up, eyes don’t naturally look up.

Beware if you are camping near a river or lake during an overnight kayak because of mosquitos in the summer.

Furthermore, never stay too close to a river, you are never safe from a flash flood.

Protect yourself from the wind. Pitch your tent downwind and stay on the plain only if you have no choice.

In case of danger or extreme health problems, always have a village nearby.

Know how to find a place to bivouac that is both discreet and close to civilization.

Is wilderness camping safe? Wild camping is your friend

You are now ready for wilderness camping!

The real dangers are small compared to the benefits you will get from this wonderful experience.

So yes, it can be very safe.

Use common sense, don’t take unnecessary risks and enjoy your communication with nature.

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More