Is camping safe?

By: Michael Borg


After a couple of unsettling experiences out on the track, Borgy ponders: is camping really all that safe?

Is camping safe?
What are the chances of running into some whack-job with bad intentions in the middle of the bush?

Here’s a question for you: is camping safe?

I mean, what are the chances of running into some whack-job with bad intentions in the middle of the bush? There seems to be two distinct schools of thought on this. Some people believe that being a million miles away from others and all the crime that comes with it makes the bush safer than most towns and cities, while others think we’re absolutely mad for camping without the safety of four brick walls, lockable doors and a cop shop a few hundred metres up the road!

But what do the statistics say? Well, most of them indicate that the odds of running into any real trouble (from people) are pretty low, especially when compared to crime rates in the city.

So why am I bringing this up? Well, just last week I had a less than trustworthy character cause a ruckus and get a tad abusive in the early hours of the morning around my camp. Trust me; it’s not a pleasant experience when you’re camping completely solo. Oh, and here’s a tip for you: don’t watch Wolf Creek a few days prior to a trip – that show will give you the jitters at the best of times!

In truth, when you’re out there on your own it’s pretty easy to feel vulnerable, sometimes more than you probably should. But the thing is, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me. So the question begs: are the odds wrong or am I just really unlucky?

In my experience, I reckon it’s got a lot to do with where you camp. In other words, some spots are safer than others.

For example, I’ve found a lot of campsites not far out of town tend to become the local burnout pad for hoons after a few drinks, especially on the weekend. Not all of them, but there are definitely some that are trouble spots. To help weed out these potential ‘hoon’ spots, it’s a good idea to do a little research first. You know, read up on forums and chat to a local or two before you pull up stumps.

In fact, these days I tend to relax at a campsite for an hour or two to get a real feel for the place before I knock the pegs in. As you can imagine, things like burnt out rubbish, wrecked cars, burnout tracks, broken beer bottle and left over alcohol packaging really set the alarm bells off.

So back to my original question, is camping safe? Well, I’d say most of the time, it’s as safe as houses. There are literally thousands of campsites that are as relaxing as cloud nine! But to be extra sure, it doesn’t hurt to ask the question before you head off, does it?

Check out the full editorial in issue #111 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.