We partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) to come up with tips to help you host a safe camping experience. These are best practices, but you’re the expert on the activities you lead. A great Host always thinks about what more they can do to keep everyone safe.
Set the right expectations
If there are health, fitness, or other requirements needed to safely enjoy the experience, make this clear in your experience’s description. Include details about the length of time, exertion and fitness required, intensity and skill levels needed.
Here’s a guide from the ATTA to help you communicate to guests what skill level is needed for your camping experience:
Beginner: Guests should be comfortable with sleeping overnight in some form of shelter such as a tent in up to 3 season conditions in a designated campsite.
Intermediate: Guests should be comfortable with reaching a wild/undesignated camp with no facilities by the means of the activity associated with the experience (i.e. trekking, rafting, cycling). Guests should be comfortable sleeping in a tent in up to four season weather conditions.
Advanced: Guests should be comfortable building their own shelter to camp under, which may be uncomfortable or cold, but organised in a controlled survival/bushcraft learning environment. Guests may have to forage for food, build a fire, fetch and purify water, and then prep and cook food. Guests should have a high level of tolerance to accept certain levels of discomfort.
Communicate with guests often
Communication is key to a safe and enjoyable experience. Once a guest books, check in with them to find out if they have any health concerns that may affect their participation. This may be anything from a food allergy to a heart condition. Make sure you’re clear on what modifications you’re able or willing to make to accommodate them.
You can also anticipate common points of concern before the experience begins. Also include practical matters like if there will be food, snacks, or water provided, if they should bring their own water bottle, and which bathroom facilities are available. It’s also a good idea for you to know if and where you’ll have cell service coverage, and let your guests know in advance. Let novice campers what clothing is appropriate for their first camping experience. Try to address concerns before guests have to ask. Some guests may be camping for the first time, so your communication is key to a safe and enjoyable experience.
Follow local regulations & check forecasts
You should have the local knowledge to know if and when it’s acceptable for you to camp at your intended campsite and what rules or regulations apply to areas in which you may camp. You should know the weather forecast, and know the area well enough to be able to anticipate the conditions.
Set expectations with a pre-trip briefing
Before you head out onto the experience, brief the guests with what they are likely to expect with regard to the conditions, what equipment will be used, what tasks they might be asked to help with, and how they will go to the bathroom and wash themselves. When at the campsite, show guests how to use the equipment, and review safety points (i.e. food safety and importance of drinking clean water).
As a camping Host, you should be constantly assessing your guests’ skills–while arriving at the campsite, setting up the camp and during activities such as the tent erection, fire making, and food prep and cooking. Keep checking in: ask guests how they’re feeling and observe them to see if they’re comfortable and their skills match the conditions.
Provide the right gear
You should provide an adequate form of shelter depending on the type of activity, conditions expected and how that equipment is getting transported to the campsite. This should be clean, serviceable and protect them from the weather as well as from wildlife such as mosquitoes and flies, and provide privacy for the guest.
If you provide sleeping bags and mats, ensure that these are clean and serviceable as well as match the conditions expected so that the guests will be warm and comfortable. If you do not provide this then ensure that what is required is communicated in good time to the guest.
Any equipment used for food storage, prep and cooking must be clean and the highest food safety standards are adhered to, whether that is cooking on a large stove, an open fire or small gas stove. If getting guests to help then supervise the safe handling of food, good hygiene and proper knife skills.
Always have a comprehensive first aid kit easily accessible at your campsite.
Choose the proper conditions
Before setting out, always communicate to the guest what conditions are to be expected and ensure that you are equipped to cope with those conditions. If heavy rain is expected, you should know to site a campsite away from a river and ensure that there is no risk of flash flooding, landslide or avalanche.
You should be able to tell when conditions are too dangerous for your guest’s ability. Don’t set out if there is an unreasonable or unexpected risk to your guests.
Always choose safety
As a camping host, you should have rescue skills of up-to-date First Aid and CPR certifications. You should have extensive camping experience in the areas and conditions you lead guests.
You also want to have an emergency action plan and share it with your guests: let them know what they should do in case of emergency, which could include injury, unexpected weather, animals, or fires. Find out more about making an emergency plan
Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA): Courtesy of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. ©2021 Adventure Travel Trade Association. All rights reserved.
The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) name and logo are used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement or vetting of, express or implied, of any product, service, person, company, opinion or political position. The ATTA does not select or approve, and is not involved in the selection or approval of, Airbnb Experiences or Hosts. For more information about the Adventure Travel Trade Association, visit adventuretravel.biz.